Rafael Nadal to practice with Roberto Bautista Agut ahead of Melbourne trip



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Rafael Nadal to practice with Roberto Bautista Agut ahead of Melbourne trip

After Lorenzo Sonego, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Emil Ruusuvuori, Rafael Nadal will welcome Roberto Bautista Agut at home in Mallorca this week. The top-ranked Spanish players will train together ahead of the Melbourne trip, reuniting again in February's first week and leading Spain at the second ATP Cup.

A year ago, Nadal and Bautista Agut led Spain towards the ATP Cup final, losing it 2-1 against Serbia despite winning the opening match. Nadal finished the previous season in the top-2 for the record-breaking 12th time, losing the ATP throne to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open but remaining in the top-2 throughout the year.

Nadal suffered three losses at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open to David Goffin, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, bouncing back in Acapulco at the end of February to claim the 85th ATP title, beating all five rivals in straight sets.

Following the coronavirus outbreak, Rafa spent six and a half months at home, stayed away from the court in March and April and returning in May. Practicing on clay, the Spaniard decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open, returning to action in Rome and suffering the quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman.

With three matches in his legs since February, Nadal went to Roland Garros and faced the ultimate challenge, with tough conditions, new balls and a brand-new roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier. Showing his greatness once again, Rafa defeated all seven rivals in straight sets to lift the 20th Major trophy and match Roger Federer's record.

Nadal stood strong against Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic in the last three encounters, toppling Novak 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to secure the 13th Roland Garros crown.

Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut will practice together in Mallorca.

By the end of the season, Nadal was the semi-finalist at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals, serving for the victory against Daniil Medvedev in London and falling in three sets.

Roberto Bautista Agut finished inside the top-15 for the second straight year, winning 20 out of 28 matches in 2020 and competing in Cincinnati and Cologne semi-final. Roberto stood strong against the lower-ranked rivals at the ATP Cup, delivering six straight-sets victories and failing to repeat that in the rest of the season.

The Spaniard lost to Marin Cilic in five sets at the Australian Open and played his best tournament following the season restart in August. From 5-2 down in the decider, Roberto climbed back to win five straight games against Novak Djokovic, serving for the victory and a place in the final but losing ground in the decisive moments to end his journey in the semis. Bautista Agut finished his season with the semi-final run in Cologne.