Standing on 19 Major crowns after the US Open 2019, Rafael Nadal was eager to chase the elusive 20th and catch Roger Federer in the GOAT race. Nadal lost the no. 1 position in the rankings after the last year's Australian Open, suffering losses to Novak Djokovic at the ATP Cup and Dominic Thiem in Melbourne after a massive battle.
The Spaniard claimed the title in Acapulco at the end of February and spent the next six months at home in Mallorca due to a coronavirus pandemic, not touching racquet in March and April. Returning to the practice court in May, Nadal decided to skip the restart of the season in New York and entered Rome as his first event after six and a half months.
Rafa lost the title to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final, heading back home and working hard ahead of Roland Garros, the third and last Major of the season. Seeking the 13th title in Paris, Nadal had to deal with challenging weather conditions, new Wilson balls and a roof over Court Philippe-Chatrier, passing all those obstacles and seven opponents to lift the 20th Major crown and enter the record books alongside Roger Federer.
Nadal toppled Novak Djokovic in the title clash in style to match Federer's record and get a chance to pass him in 2021.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga backs Rafael Nadal to win another Major and become the GOAT.
The Spaniard lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-final in February from two sets to love lead, hoping for a better run at his beloved Roland Garros in June.
Chasing the 14th Parisian crown and the 21st Major, Nadal won titles in Barcelona Rome in the previous weeks, gathering momentum and preparing himself for another Roland Garros campaign that would propel him ahead of Federer if he lifts the trophy.
For Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, there is no doubt about the GOAT if Nadal secures one more Major, praising the Spaniard and his incredible Roland Garros record. "Rafa is an inevitable favorite at Roland Garros. No one can doubt that at the moment; even those who can beat him on clay have to agree with that.
Rafa has won 13 titles in Paris within 15 years; it's extraordinary. Nadal and Djokovic restored the order in Rome and showed they are still the favorites at Majors. Rafa is five years younger than Roger, and it's exceptional that he has already matched Roger's 20 Major titles.
If Rafa wins more crowns in the upcoming years, and that's very likely, the GOAT debate should be over," Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said.