Rafael Nadal advanced to his 14th Roland Garros quarter-final from 16 trips to Paris last October. The three-time defending champion played on a high level in the opening four rounds, barely losing over 20 games in 12 sets. The Spaniard toppled Egor Gerasimov, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefano Travaglia and Sebastian Korda to reach the quarters after spending only seven hours and 15 minutes on the court. Playing only one tournament ahead of Paris following the season restart, Nadal’s fans did not know what to expect from him, dealing with challenging weather conditions in Paris and playing with the new Wilson balls. Despite all that, Rafa was still a player to beat at his beloved Major, defeating all opponents in style and never dropping more than four games in 12 sets! Having to adapt to deliver his best tennis, Nadal had been aggressive in all four matches, doing a lot of damage with the initial shot and going for strokes instead of embracing endless baseline rallies.
Despite tough conditions, Rafael Nadal conquered the 20th Major title in Paris 2020.
Praising the Spaniard, Boris Becker said Nadal had to change his approach to bring the most efficient tennis in these conditions, going for riskier shots and finishing the points on his terms. Nadal stormed over the young American qualifier Sebastian Korda in the fourth round, saving five out of six break chances and dropping four games to advance into the next round. As we all know, the Spaniard would beat Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic en route to0 his 20th Major title, standing above the conditions and his opponents to celebrate the milestone crown and match Roger Federer’s record.
“In an example of how Rafael Nadal is always prepared to adjust his game, it looks like he has been flattening out his strokes in the early rounds. His usual heavy spin is not entirely convincing given the slow balls and conditions, so he is hitting through the court more. He complained about the balls before the tournament, yet he and the other two leading contenders have just gone about their business once the matches got underway. All of them came in with issues: Nadal lost in Rome and was short of time on the court, Novak Djokovic was weighed down by what happened in New York, and Dominic Thiem had to rest a bit after his life-changing win at Flushing Meadows,” Boris Becker said.