When the decision to move Roland Garros in the autumn to cope with the aftermath of the global pandemic was announced, there was some concern about Rafael Nadal's chances of triumphing again in Paris. After the premature elimination at the BNL Internationals of Italy, the former world number 1 has once again denied his detractors by winning the French Grand Slam for the 13th time in his career, the fourth without losing even a set along the way.
The 34-year-old Majorcan demolished Novak Djokovic in the final, reaffirming his superiority on clay. Thanks to that success, Nadal also equaled Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles by crowning a very long chase.
Speaking of his Roland Garros triumph in a recent interview for his sponsor KIA, Rafa admitted that he had not celebrated the victory in Paris as in the past. The Spaniard did not manage to break the Finals taboo, giving in the semifinals to a wild Daniil Medvedev in the last edition at the O2 Arena in London.
Rafael Nadal on the 2020 French Open
“It was obviously a very important moment for me, professionally, and let’s be honest, personally as well. It meant a lot for me to win again at Roland-Garros and reach the number of titles there that I did.
But I also can’t deny the fact that in the end, the celebration wasn’t as cheerful as it was after my other victories,” Rafael Nadal said. His homeland was among the countries worst hit by the pandemic, reporting record number of cases and fatalities.
“The tournament didn’t have the same, let’s say, intensity and joy that you get from an animated crowd. You normally have the feeling of being surrounded by your loved ones, but the fact that we were isolated from everyone made it a more, I’d say, subdued tournament than normal,” Nadal said.
“It’s also a fact that it took place during a time which was full of so much bad news, over the last few months (preceding the French Open), which meant that I wasn’t able to enjoy such an important victory,” the Spaniard said.
We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘change begins from within.’ It is indeed true, and Rafael Nadal expressed how a person should gather confidence during a pandemic struck year to make oneself and the surroundings feel better.
“Of course, things are rough, but we have to realize that we have to get up every day in the morning and bust ourselves off thinking that yes things are bad now but we can make the world a better place or I’m going to make an effort to ensure that the world is a better place,” said Nadal.