Despite the difficulties related to the pandemic that hit the whole world, 2020 still had positive implications for Rafael Nadal. The Spanish phenomenon, after missing the trip to the United States and giving up on defending his title at the US Open, defeated the competition at Roland Garros by winning his 13th title in Paris without losing a single set.
Thanks to this success, the former world number 1 crowned a very long chase, equaling Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams. The 34-year-old Majorcan hoped to finally be able to break the Finals taboo, but his run at the O2 Arena in London came to a halt in the semifinals against a wild Daniil Medvedev.
Carlos Moya, who has been with Rafa's team since December 2016, explained that - although the use of sports psychologists has become increasingly common in professional sport - the 20-time Grand Slam champion has learned to handle pressure on his own.
Carlos Moya on Rafael Nadal
"What I do have to say is that since I've been with Rafael Nadal and without knowing if he has resorted to them before, I have never seen him need this (mental coach) kind of help," Carlos Moya said.
"There are those (players) who have a stronger need (of a mental coach) in this sense, more insecurities. In this sport, the mind plays a very important role. But going back to Rafa, I can assure you that what he does in times of stress he has not learned anywhere.
Nor has he read it or been taught by a psychologist." Carlos Moya, who won the French Open in 1998, also lauded Rafael Nadal's use of subtle tactics to one-up his opponents in the modern power-driven game. "There is always room for strategy.
Rafael Nadal is a good example of this because he has a wide range of possibilities in his game and that is to be appreciated when building the points strategically. At a general level we try to adapt to the surfaces and conditions that we face in each tournament," Moya continued.
Moya cited the recent ATP Finals in London to illustrate how Nadal's game was very different from the one he deployed to win his 13th French Open just a month earlier. "If you watch a Rafael Nadal match in London, you can see big differences from what he did a month before at Roland Garros.
But it is true that this sense of adaptability and strategy is being lost. Players hit harder each time, the points last less (longer) and depending on the opponent you play against, you hardly have room for strategy during the point," Moya said.