2020 gave Rafael Nadal his 13th Roland Garros title, in some ways the most unexpected. The global pandemic had in fact forced the organizers to move the Paris Grand Slam to October, just a couple of weeks after the US Open.
The Spanish champion has thus decided to give up the trip to the United States to focus only on Roland Garros, a choice that has paid its dividends with hindsight. Although he did not shine at the BNL Internationals of Italy, the former world number 1 found his best form in the French capital, where he beat the competition without leaving a single set on the street.
The 34-year-old Majorcan also took away the satisfaction of demolishing his great rival Novak Djokovic in the final. Thanks to that success, Rafa equaled Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slams by crowning a very long chase.
In a recent interview with Iberian broadcaster TVE, Nadal recalled his first ever triumph in Paris in 2005, when he was only 19 years old. His dominance at Roland Garros is certified by the numbers: 100 wins and just two defeats, dated respectively 2009 (against Robin Soderling) and 2015 (against Djokovic).
Nadal recalls his first French Open title
“In 2005, I definitely started to stand out. I had already won in Brazil, Acapulco, Miami final, Barcelona, Rome... therefore when I arrived at Roland Garros it is true that I was young, but also one of the favorites.
I got there winning the last most important tournaments on clay, I was a candidate and there are situations for me to win. What you see as a child is Roland Garros, therefore that is to fulfill a dream" - Rafael Nadal said.
Clearly, Rafa has been dominating in Paris and it doesn’t look it’s going to end anytime soon. In 2020, the French Open was moved to September, making the conditions cooler, which usually doesn’t suit his game.
However, he still managed to win the event. The news that is making headlines in the tennis world is that Roger Federer withdrew from the Australian Open 2021. The Swiss maestro had anticipated his return to Melbourne Park; however, he did not recover in time.
His biggest rival Rafael Nadal took to Twitter to offer some support to his 20-time Grand Slam record partner. The 39-year-old, who went under two knee surgeries in 2020, really hoped to start his season early on. Unfortunately, even the 2-week delay of the Australian Open was not enough to heal his wounds.
Nevertheless, the 5th best tennis player in the world today, Roger has not stopped his comeback preparations. Currently, he is training in Dubai, where he also celebrated Christmas with his family.