The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal spent the past couple of weeks at home in Mallorca, training with Lorenzo Sonego, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Emil Ruusuvuori and the fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. In the previous week, two top-ranked Spanish players pushed themselves to the limit on an indoor court, shaping their game ahead of the Australia trip.
Rafa and Roberto will compete under the national flag in February and lead Spain at the ATP Cup like they did last January when they barely missed the title. Nadal will endure a two-week quarantine in Adelaide, while Bautista Agut goes to Melbourne, joining most other players stationed there.
Nadal finished the previous season in the top-2 for the record-breaking 12th time (15 years after doing that for the first time), losing the ATP throne to Novak Djokovic but staying second in the rest of the season. The Spaniard 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 and winning the 85th ATP title.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, Rafa spent six and a half months at home in Mallorca, avoiding the court in March and April and returning in May. Practicing on clay, the Spaniard decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open, returning in Rome and suffering the quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman.
With only three matches in his legs since February, Nadal went to his beloved Roland Garros and faced the ultimate challenge. The defending champion had to deal with tough conditions, new balls and a brand-new roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, something he had never experienced in Paris before.
Proving his greatness, Rafa defeated all seven rivals in straight sets to lift the 20th Major trophy and match Roger Federer's record, joining the Swiss at the top of the GOAT race.
Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut trained in Manacor ahead of Australian swing.
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 in style.
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 before 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 played on a high level 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 Masters 1000 final but losing ground in the decisive moments to end his journey in the semis.
Bautista Agut wrapped up his season with the semi-final run in Cologne, preparing for more good results in the year ahead of us.