Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic which has forced the postponements and cancellations of numerous tournaments in 2020, this year will also see the Tokyo Olympics staged, postponed by twelve months. Four years ago, at the Rio de Janeiro Games in Brazil, Scotsman Andy Murray won his second consecutive gold medal in singles, a very difficult record to break.
In a new interview also made public by EssentiallySports, current world number 2 Rafael Nadal recalled his participation in Beijing 2008. In 2008, the year of Rafa's definitive consecration to the Olympus of tennis, the Spaniard overtook our Potito Starace, Lleyton Hewitt, Igor Andreev, Jurgen Melzer, Novak Djokovic and the Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, securing the first (and only) Olympic medal in the career: "Gonzalez, my rival in the Beijing final, was a very good player," said Nadal.
Rafael Nadal: "The atmosphere of the Olympics is unique"
"I faced Djokovic in the semifinals, while Federer I think he lost to Berdych. I enjoyed the Olympics to the fullest of my potential, it is a completely different event from any other tournament."
The former ATP number one continued: "You have a responsibility, because you also play for your country and not just for yourself." Nadal did not take part in the subsequent 2012 London Olympics, while he was defeated in the semifinals in Rio in 2016 by the Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who won in the third set comeback.
In the challenge for the bronze medal, Rafa was surprisingly beaten by the Japanese Kei Nishikori, once again in three halves. In Brazil, number one seed Novak Djokovic was shockingly surprised in the first round by del Potro, with a double 7-6.
2020 was a particularly satisfying season for Rafa, who at Roland Garros gave his thirteenth seal and finally reached Roger Federer's Slam record, standing at 20 titles. The greatest tennis stars on the planet, like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and all the others, will come back for the upcoming Australian Open 2021, which will be held in Melbourne from 8 February: it will be the most awaited sports event of the first part of the new season.
It will be a very spectacualr season, and all of us hope without the problems of the last one, with some presence of the crowd in the courts across the world. Federer should come back on the court, for the joy of his fans, at the end of February or at the beginning of March after having announced that he will be skipping the Australian Open.
The new season has yet to begin but there is already a desire to put a disastrous 2020 behind us from all points of view and start the new year with the first Grand Slam of the year in the hope that the pandemic can slowly regress and bring back the planet to live seriously and also allow the world of sport to perform in front of the general crowd.