A couple of days ago, the 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal started the pre-season training run at home in Mallorca. Competing at only four tournaments since March, the Spaniard feels positive and injury-free, setting eyes on the second Australian Open crown in February.
The first Major of the new season should take place in February, offering more times for the players to get ready and embrace the best-of-five encounters at Melbourne Park. Rafa's manager has confirmed that the 2009 champion will travel to Australia and compete in Melbourne.
Nadal's only triumph down under came 11 years ago when he toppled Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer in epic encounters, lifting the trophy at 22 and never repeating that in the future. In the previous eight years, Nadal reached four Australian Open finals (2012, 2014, 2017, 2019), losing them to Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer to remain on one trophy in Melbourne.
A year ago, Nadal and other players had only a couple of weeks between the end of the season and the start of a new one, having more time to work on their game this time around and hoping to get ready until February or some pre-Australian Open events.
Rafa kicked off the season behind us as the world's best player, leading Spain at the ATP Cup. The Spaniard lost two matches against David Goffin and Novak Djokovic, allowing the Serb to reduce the deficit and pass him at the Australian Open.
Rafa suffered a tight quarter-final loss to Dominic Thiem, heading to Kuwait and South Africa for matches against David Ferrer and Roger Federer.
Rafael Nadal will compete at the Australian Open in February.
Returning to the official duties, Nadal claimed the 85th ATP title in Acapulco, looking for more in Indian Wells and Miami.
Instead of that, the Spaniard had to travel home and spend the next six and a half months with his family. Staying away from the practice court in March and April, Rafa returned to the training regime in May, slowly starting engines ahead of the anticipated season restart.
Not liking New York conditions and hard court after such a long break, Nadal decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open, staying on clay and making a comeback at the Masters 1000 event in Rome in September. The Spaniard lost to Diego Schwartzman in the quarters, heading to Roland Garros with three matches in his legs and many questions that requiered the answer!
It was Rafa's last opportunity to secure a Major trophy in 2020, facing unusual conditions like never before in the French capital! Despite cold and rainy weather, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal proved his greatness, winning the 13th Roland Garros crown without losing a set and catching Roger Federer's 20 Major trophies.
Rafa returned to Paris for the third and last Masters 1000 event of the season, 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.
"Rafa has confirmed he is traveling to Melbourne for the Australian Open," Nadal's manager Benito Perez-Barbadillo said.