Rafael Nadal will face Cameron Norrie at Roland Garros on Saturday, hoping to reach the fourth round and remain on the title course. Last year, Nadal claimed the Parisian crown in October, passing all the obstacles to lifting the milestone 20th Major trophy.
Adding Carlos Moya to his coaching staff, Rafa started all over in 2017 after a couple of rough years, winning six titles in total that year and claiming Major crowns at Roland Garros and the US Open to get back where he belongs.
Between 2017-2019, Nadal was the player to beat alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, staying competitive in the GOAT race and adding the 20th Major to his tally last October at Roland Garros to write another chapter of tennis history.
It was the 13th and the most challenging title in Paris for Rafa, competing only for the second time since February due to the pandemic and entirely different conditions from what we have in Paris in May and June.
Carlos Moya spoke about all the issues Rafael Nadal had to deal with last year.
Nadal had to beat the Parisian cold and rainy weather alongside seven opponents, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, passing all the obstacles to claim the title without dropping a set at 34!
Nadal won the title in Acapulco in February and stayed at home in Mallorca for the next six months before returning to action in Rome in September. Rafa didn't pick a racquet in March and April for a bit of break from tennis before hitting the practice court in May.
Soon, he decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open, working on clay and defending the title at Roland Garros to join Roger Federer on 20 Majors. Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said they had many issues after such a long break, with the top priority to bring back the old Rafa, who loves the competition.
Gradually, they achieved that just in time for Paris, where Nadal competed on a high level, never losing a set in seven matches and toppling Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the title match to write another chapter of tennis history books.
"We have achieved our basic goal, bringing back the good old Rafa, a competitive one who enjoys playing tennis. People who don't see the day-to-day are not aware of what all these months have been. They have not been easy at all.
We have achieved it based on a lot of work, even though it wasn't easy. In addition to his head, we had to deal with the situation that has affected everyone since February or March," Carlos Moya said.