On Thursday, the 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal received the Grand Cross of the Order of the Second of May. Madrid's Regional President, Isabel Ayuso presented the award to one of the most decorated Spanish athletes of all time during a ceremony held at the Real Casa de Correos in Madrid.
The Grand Cross of the Order of the Second of May is the award reserved for exceptional individuals or institutions who have helped their country in different areas. Nadal secured another honor a couple of hours later, receiving the AS Sports Award 2020 at Madrid's Royal Theater Dance Hall.
Like the other players, Nadal embraced a challenging season due to the coronavirus, leaving his racquet aside in March and April and still finishing with a Major in his hands for the 14th of last 16 years. Kicking off the season as the world's leading player, Rafa lost the ATP throne after two losses at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, getting back on the winning way in Acapulco in February to conquer the 85th ATP title.
Rafael Nadal earned the AS Sports Award 2020 award.
Due to the pandemic, Rafa spent the next six months at home in Mallorca, enjoying time with his family and not hitting the practice court for two months. Nadal was back on the court in May, making a slow return and starting engines ahead of the anticipated season restart.
Rafa decided to skip the first couple of tournaments in New York and stayed on clay, entering the first official event after six and a half months in Rome. The Spaniard lost in the quarter-final to Diego Schwartzman and returned to the practice court ahead of Roland Garros.
It was Rafa's last opportunity to secure a Major trophy in 2020, facing unusual conditions like never before in the French capital and entering the draw with three matches since March! Despite cold and rainy weather, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal confirmed his greatness again, securing the 13th Roland Garros crown without losing a set and catching Roger Federer on 20 Major trophies.
In the final, Nadal defeated world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, playing on a high level from start to finish in one of the most important matches of the century to save the season and earn another record. Rafa returned to Paris for the Masters 1000 event, suffering the semi-final loss to Alexander Zverev and passing the round-robin stage at the ATP Finals.
Nadal served for the victory against Daniil Medvedev in London before experiencing a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 defeat to finish the season.