For the 12th time in his career, Rafael Nadal will finish the season inside the top-2. Due to the coronavirus, the Spaniard played only seven tournaments this year, winning titles in Acapulco and Roland Garros to keep Dominic Thiem slightly behind in the standings.
Rafa lost the ATP Cup final to Novak Djokovic and moved from the ATP throne following the Australian Open quarter-final defeat against Thiem. In Acapulco, Nadal toppled all five rivals in straight sets, lifting the trophy just before the pandemic and spending the next six and a half months at home in Mallorca.
Skipping Cincinnati and the US Open, Rafa returned to action in Rome and suffered the quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman, heading to Roland Garros with three matches in his legs since March. Bringing back his A-game, Nadal claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown and the 20th Major to catch Roger Federer in the GOAT race.
Rafa won all seven encounters in straight sets, toppling Novak Djokovic in the final and taking a couple of weeks off ahead of an indoor swing. Returning to Paris, Nadal reached the semi-final at the Paris Masters, losing to Alexander Zverev in straight sets and hoping for another strong run at the ATP Finals in London.
Seeking the first semi-final at this event since 2015, Rafa kicked off the campaign with a win over Andrey Rublev, facing Dominic Thiem in the second encounter and losing in two tie breaks despite having his chances in both sets.
Rafael Nadal finished the season with the semi-final loss at the ATP Finals.
In the deciding round-robin match, Nadal ousted Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets to enter the last four, battling against Daniil Medvedev for a place in the final.
Rafa lost the opening set and served for the win at 5-4 in the second, only to suffer a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 loss and finish the season. After pulling that break back in the last moment in set number two, the Russian took charge and took four straight games in the decider to advance and send Nadal home.
As always, Rafa will give his best on the practice court, feeling eager ahead of 2021 and not changing his goals almost two decades after turning pro. "My goals remain the same; they are not easier or harder. I want to give 100% and every tournament and have a chance to fight for the title.
My motivation has always been the same, year after year. 2021 will be very important, and I want to be ready for things I want to fight for. I will work hard during the off-season and get ready for a strong start," Rafael Nadal said.