Rafael Nadal trains with Emil Ruusuvuori in Mallorca

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Rafael Nadal trains with Emil Ruusuvuori in Mallorca

Following another successful season, Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court at home in Manacor, starting preparations for the 2021 campaign. A week ago, the 20-time Major champion trained with the upcoming young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime, sharing the court with another rising star Emil Ruusuvuori on Friday.

The 21-year-old Finn is a regular guest in Manacor, sharing the practice court with Rafa a year ago and using that experience to crack the top-100 in the season behind us. The Helsinki native kicked off the 2019 season from just outside the top-400 and made incredible progress, claiming two Futures and four Challenger crowns from five finals to crack the top-120.

Emil entered the season with only three Challenger victories under his belt, raising his level from the spring swing and becoming one of the most successful players on that level. Ruusuvuori won the title in Fergana to improve his ranking position, reaching another final in Augsburg before conquering the Rafa Nadal Open in Mallorca to find himself in the top-200 after the US Open.

In September, Emil claimed two heroic wins for Finland over Austria in the Davis Cup, beating Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-2 and securing the title in Glasgow Challenger a week later, rattling off 14 triumphs from the previous 15 encounters!

Emil wrapped up the season on a high note, lifting the fourth Challenger crown at home in Helsinki and hoping for more in 2020.

Rafael Nadal trained with the young gun Emil Ruusuvuori at home in Mallorca.

The youngster was the finalist in his first Challenger of the season before embracing the ATP Tour events, reaching the second round in Montpellier as a qualifier and failing to secure a main draw spot in Rotterdam, Marseille and Dubai.

Following the season restart, Ruusuvuori scored one victory in Cincinnati and the US Open, establishing himself as the top-100 player and advancing into the first ATP semi-final in Nur-Sultan at the end of October. For the 14th time in the previous 16 years, Rafael Nadal has secured a Major title to make the season a special one.

Losing the no. 1 spot to Novak Djokovic after the Australian Open, the Spaniard won the title in Acapulco just before the coronavirus outbreak, spending the next six and a half months at home and returning to action in Rome in September.

Rafa failed to defend the title, suffering the quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman and heading to Roland Garros with many doubts. Like many times before, Rafa showed his greatness when it mattered the most, winning the title without losing a set and joining Roger Federer on 20 Major crowns.

Rafa had a chance to fight for his first ATP Finals trophy, serving for the victory over Daniil Medvedev in the semis but finding himself on the losing side to finish the season and get a well-deserved rest.