World no. 1 Rafael Nadal had a memorable 2019 season, winning two Major crowns and two Masters 1000 trophies to stay in touch with Roger Federer in the GOAT race. The Spaniard became the oldest year-end no. 1 player since the beginning of the ranking in 1973, winning at least one ATP title for the record-breaking 16th straight season and extending his Roland Garros dominance after winning the 12th title.
Rafa finished the season with the Davis Cup Finals title for Spain and was ready for another team competition in January 2020 at the ATP Cup. Speaking about the best decision he made in a career, the most celebrated Spanish athlete noticed that he never wanted to leave Spain and go live elsewhere.
Despite high taxes and the indefinite length of a career due to injuries in the early years, Rafa never wanted to move from Mallorca, not even to Barcelona, where he had the opportunity to train for free. Surrounded by his family and working under the guidance of his uncle, Rafa has achieved incredible things in the last 16 years, becoming one of the greatest players of all time and establishing a legacy that will hardly be matched.
Rafael Nadal explained his decision to stay in Spain and never live in other country.
"Staying here in Manacor was the best decision I have ever made; that's one of the most satisfying choices of my career. When I was young, I had the opportunity to go to the High-Performance Centre in Sant Cugat in Barcelona to train, without paying anything.
Still, I wanted to stay at home, work with my uncle and keep my family around me, even though it meant my family had to make significant financial sacrifices. When I became a professional, some people suggested I should go and live somewhere else because it would have been very beneficial in terms of money.
But I decided to stay in Spain and pay a 50% tax on everything I have earned from tennis in what could have been a short career. I would have made a lot more money if I had lived abroad, but that wouldn't make me happy, and it could have cost me more personally.
I don't know if, at that time, I would have been mentally prepared to go and train and live somewhere else. In Spain, athletes pay a high tax rate, and a lot of what we earn comes from overseas, with a higher tax rate. Still, I have never regretted my decision because it also helped me professionally and to achieve all these things," Rafael Nadal said.