After working with Sam Stosur and Nick Kyrgios - they spent 18 months together - Simon Rea will enter the new season as Tennis Australia's National Development Squad Coach in Victoria. Rea will work with the upcoming stars and share his knowledge and experience with them while making the new Australian tennis stars.
Asked about his favorite players to watch, Rea mentioned world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty and world no. 2 Rafael Nadal. Speaking about the 20-time Major winner, Rea believes that Nadal is the greatest competitor he has ever seen, praising his modesty and approach to tennis.
Winning almost every notable title in the previous 15 years, Rafa still competes with the same desire, working on improvements and always delivering his 100%, regardless of the rival across the net. Nadal will finish the season inside the top-2 for the record-breaking 12th time, securing a Major title for the 14th time in the previous 16 years!
The Spaniard lost the ATP Cup final to Novak Djokovic and failed to defend the Australian Open points following the quarter-final defeat to Dominic Thiem. Losing the ATP throne after Melbourne, Nadal won the first title of the season in Acapulco in February, traveling to Indian Wells but not staying there for too long, as the coronavirus pandemic forced the players to go home.
Rafa spent the next six months at his paradise island of Mallorca, enjoying time with his family and not hitting the practice court in March and April. The champion made a slow return and tried to find motivation and desire to compete on a high level again.
Instead of chasing titles during his beloved spring clay swing, Rafa had to stay at home in Manacor, working on clay and deciding to skip Cincinnati and the US Open. With 2000 points for the last year's US Open title safely in his hands, Nadal continued to train on clay, entering the first event after six and a half months at the Masters 1000 event in Rome.
Simon Rea preaised Rafael Nadal as the greatest competitor of our sport.
The Spaniard failed to defend the title, losing in the quarter-final to Diego Schwartzman and returning to the practice court ahead of Roland Garros.
The Parisian tournament was the last chance for Rafa to secure a Major trophy in the current season, facing the most unusual conditions than ever before in the French capital and hoping to find his best tennis after playing only three matches since March!
Despite cold and rainy weather, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal was ready for all the hurdles, securing the 13th Roland Garros crown without losing a set and matching Roger Federer's record of 20 Major titles.
In the final, Nadal defeated world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, losing serve once and delivering seven breaks to beat a great rival and write history books. By the end of the season, Rafa returned to Paris for the Masters 1000 event that he has never won, suffering the semi-final loss to Alexander Zverev and reaching the same round at the ATP Finals.
Nadal served for the victory against Daniil Medvedev in London, only to suffer a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 defeat and finish the season. "I like to watch Ash Barty for her mesmerizing ability to navigate her way through all kinds of challenges with subtlety and an incredible sense of gratitude that permeates her entire tennis persona.
Rafael Nadal is the greatest competitor I've ever seen. I love his humility and how he approaches his tennis from a values standpoint and with a terrific perspective," Simon Rea said.