The 2020 season was the shortest and the strangest one in the Open era. There was no tennis between March and August due to the coronavirus, and the players had to follow strict measures once the action returned, often playing in front of no crowd and spending time in a bubble.
There were three Major tournaments - Wimbledon closed its gates for the first time since 1945 - and the top-3 players grabbed one each. For Carlos Moya, his pupil Rafael Nadal had a great season following the 20th Major crown at Roland Garros, putting everything else aside after securing one of four most notables tournaments in the calendar.
Rafa will finish the year inside the top-2 for the 12th time, playing seven events in 2020 and winning two titles. Nadal lost the ATP Cup final to Novak Djokovic and stepped down from the ATP throne following the Australian Open quarter-final defeat to Dominic Thiem.
In Acapulco, Nadal toppled all five rivals in straight sets, lifting the trophy just before the pandemic, spending the next six and a half months at home in Mallorca. Skipping Cincinnati and the US Open, Rafa stepped on the court again 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 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the final and taking a couple of weeks off ahead of an indoor swing.
Rafael Nadal claimed a Major title for the 14th year in Paris.
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 victory over Andrey Rublev, facing Dominic Thiem in the second encounter and losing in two tie breaks despite having his chances in both sets.
In the deciding round-robin encounter, Nadal ousted Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets to enter the last four, battling against Daniil Medvedev. Rafa grabbed 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 earlier than he was hoping.
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 hoping for a strong Australian Open run at the beginning of February.