"You don't consider yourself too good...my preparation for this tournament hasn't been the perfect one," Rafael Nadal said smilingly after winning his 13th French Open title. It was just last year he had knee problems and had to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells just hours before taking the court against his rival Roger Federer.
The 'King of Clay' as he used to be called was talking about the effect the Pandemic had on everyone including himself. He had only played 9 matches, only 5 tournaments including the Mexican Open in Acapulco of which he won and then entered the French Open and captured that title.
When the coronavirus hit he didn't play March and April. He started practicing in May but bowed out of playing the Western and Southern and the U.S. Open both happening in New York because of the health crisis. He was prepared enough though in coming up against his other rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open who he had defeated to gain the title in straight sets of 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
Nadal's preparation now is for the Paris Masters 1000, of which he hasn't the title in his resume for yet. He assures the media after his French Open crown that "My level of confidence has been improving."
There may be many reason swhy he's confident. First, because Roger Federer is still out recuperating and rehabbing his knee injury and Novak Djokovic besides from his loss at the Vienna Open has decided to bail out and not play the Paris Master 1000.
Rafa has two back-to-back titles in the times he had played. But there are the down times of thinking about the world health issue and how it has affected every person in general and tennis, specifically. "It's still a sad situation...the situation is tough all over the world," Nadal has mentioned with a frowned face.
He is wondering how it will impeded tennis again or if it will. Before the 2 New York tournaments, Rafa so much was planning on the Madrid Open but the tournament director and ATP player, Feliciano Lopez decided on cancelling the event.
Nadal's decision to do Rome and Roland Garros were good options
In Rome, he lost to Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinal. Nadal's next concern may be how to correct that in analyzing his tactics against Schwartzman.
He admits though that "I'm not a fan of revenges." Roland Garros turned out well because the Spaniard says about himself "I was able to adapt...trying to accept all the challenges. He admits that "the feelings on the ball haven't been great..."
He acknowledges that with the French Open "I played at my highest level when I needed to..." As discussing his appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, another event he has no title he's uncertain yet if he'll play there.
He expressed that "I'm not sure If I want to go on the normal calendar or stop playing." Nadal gets philosophical commenting that "In the sport life changes quick. I did the things I had to do with the support of my team...It's great to have such great professionals...to push and to help me in those tough days. Playing at that level is dedicated to all of them that helped me through."