At the beginning of the 2020 season, Rafael Nadal had 840 points advantage over Novak Djokovic on the ATP throne, with two great rivals dominating the rest of the Tour in 2019. Rafa and Novak claimed all four Major titles and four Masters 1000 events in 2019, pushing each other to the limits and setting the year-end no. 1 battleground for the ATP Finals. Djokovic claimed the title in Paris to add 1000 points to his tally, looking good to pass Nadal in London but failing to do that after they both lost in the round-robin stage, leaving the Spaniard at the year-end no. 1 player for the fifth time in a career.
Carried by this momentum, Rafa also claimed the Davis Cup Finals crown for Spain in Madrid’s Caja Magica and wrapped up the year with another trophy at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Ready to bounce back, Novak Djokovic stormed over all the opponents at the beginning of 2020, scoring all 13 victories in Australia and gathering 2665 points to pass Rafa and regain the ATP throne. At the ATP Cup, the Serb led his country towards the inaugural title, beating Nadal in the final and adding 665 points for six victories. Djokovic needed a notable result at the Australian Open to become world no. 1 again, with Nadal failing to reach the semi-final stage. In Melbourne, Djokovic went all the way to claim the 17th Major title, defending 2000 points from 2019 and using the fact that Nadal lost before the semis to pass him on the ATP list.
Rafael Nadal wanted to see a different outcome at the Australian Open 2020.
Nadal lost to Dominic Thiem in the quarter-final after a tremendous fight that lasted for four hours and ten minutes, opening the door wide open for Novak, who would beat Thiem in the title match after four hours and five sets. Speaking about the final, Nadal admitted he would have preferred if Thiem had lifted the trophy. Still, he was good with this outcome as well, praising Novak as the world’s best player and congratulating him on another Major title.
“I would have preferred if Thiem had won the Australian Open. But, to be honest, I slept just as well for the last two days, even without that. It doesn’t matter who was the winner, Dominic or Novak; it’s part of our sport. Novak played an amazing tournament, being the best player in the world at the moment. All I can do is congratulate him on another huge success,” Rafael Nadal said.