15 years have already passed since Rafael Nadal’s first success at the Roland Garros, the beginning of a historic epic that would have led the Majorcan to win the Parisian Slam 12 times. The countless triumphs in the French capital, where he made only two losses (by Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015), have also allowed him to approach the Major all-time record held by the eternal rival Roger Federer.
If the French Open were to go on stage at the end of September, the former World number 1 would have the opportunity to hit the historic link. In an interview granted to ‘El Independiente’, uncle Toni recalled the turning point in 2005, when Rafa never imagined he could dominate Paris like no other player in history.
Toni Nadal: ‘Rafael needed to improve’
“That so much time has passed and he continues to be the favourite is explained by his commitment to what he is doing, from his passion, that he likes competition. Many years have passed, but he has the same desire to continue being there (on the podium),” Uncle Toni said.
“The reality is that it was not the moment to tell him because he had to enjoy victory. But if I remember correctly, I put the note under the hotel door for him to read later. Rafael Nadal’s goal was always to improve.
He had no other goal. The victory is the consequence of the improvement, you don’t want to be by chance.” The 19-time Grand Slam champion has also reminisced fondly about his maiden Grand Slam triumph in the past. “Everything happened very fast.
I went from being the 50th in the world to fighting for Roland Garros in two months. My head assimilated it well, calmly, I had received the proper education to prepare for something like this.” Nadal began his 2020 season by playing at the inaugural 2020 ATP Cup and helped Spain reach the final where they lost to Serbia, with Nadal losing to Djokovic in straight sets.
Nadal then played at the 2020 Australian Open and won his first three matches in straight sets against Hugo Dellien, Federico Delbonis and Pablo Carreño Busta. In the fourth round, he defeated Nick Kyrgios in four sets and reached the quarterfinals where he lost to Dominic Thiem in four sets. Afterwards, Nadal went on to win his third Mexican Open title, defeating Taylor Fritz in straights sets in the final.