Following the 20th Major crown at Roland Garros, world no. 2 Rafael Nadal wasn't sure about competing at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals. On Tuesday, the Spaniard has decided to enter the third and last Masters 1000 event of the season in the French capital, seeking the first crown at this event.
Rafa made a debut in Paris in 2007, reaching the final and taking only four games against David Nalbandian to stay empty-handed. Suffering many injuries in the post-US Open months, Nadal was never the favorite on a hard court with a roof above his head, reaching three more semi-finals in Paris but never fighting for the title again.
Twelve months ago, Nadal advanced into the semi-final following a victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, withdrawing with an abdominal injury ahead of Denis Shapovalov clash and sending the young Canadian into the final. After proper and well-deserved rest, Rafa will seek back-to-back crowns in Paris following that historic Roland Garros success, most probably as the top seed, with Novak Djokovic likely to skip Paris this year.
Nadal has been working on an indoor hard court at his Academy, preparing for Paris and almost certainly for the ATP Finals, another notable event where he has failed to lift the trophy so far. Nadal has played only five tournaments in 2020, leading Spain at the ATP Cup and losing to Serbia in the title match.
At the Australian Open, the Spaniard reached the quarters where Dominic Thiem beat him in four thrilling sets, stealing the ATP throne from Rafa. At the end of February, Nadal was the dominant figure in Acapulco, dropping 25 games in ten sets to claim the 85th ATP title, the last one before the coronavirus outbreak.
Rafael Nadal will compete at Paris Masters in the first week of November.
Spending the next six months at home, Nadal stayed away from the tennis court in March and April, starting to practice in May and not liking New York conditions ahead of Cincinnati and the US Open.
The Spaniard skipped both events, keeping 2000 points for the US Open title from 2019 and focusing on Rome and Roland Garros. Rafa failed to defend the Italian capital title, losing to Diego Schwartzman in the quarters and entering uncharted territories in Paris, dealing with cold and rainy weather.
Standing above the conditions and all the rivals, Nadal claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown at 34, never losing a set and joining Roger Federer on that ultimate record of 20 Major trophies. Saving the entire season, Nadal will now seek the 36th Masters 1000 crown at the other Parisian ATP tournament, the one he has never won in the past.