Nadal was as dominant as ever, bagelling the World №1 in the first set before comfortably winning the next two to capture his 13th title in Paris and squash any doubts Nadal was past his best.
What followed was successive semifinal appearances at the Paris Masters (an event Nadal is yet to win) and the Nitto ATP Finals, losing to Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev respectively.
The Spanish team and their fans would be hoping that Rafael Nadal, who played an exhibition match on Friday against Dominic Thiem, would be fit enough to take the court on Thursday.
Nadal would very much like to get some competitive matches under his belt heading into the Australian Open next week. His scheduled opponent on Thursday is Stefanos Tsitsipas, who begins his ATP Cup campaign on Wednesday against hosts Australia.
Tsitsipas, the World №6, is scheduled to play Alex de Minaur in his first singles rubber at the 2021 ATP Cup.
Nadal’s loss in the finals of the ATP Cup did not serve him too well for his run at the Australian Open. The number one seed cruised through the early rounds, besting long-time adversary Nick Kyrgios before falling to eventual finalist Dominic Thiem in the quarter finals.
The Spaniard regained some success in the final tournament before the pause in the season. Without dropping a set, Rafa cruised to his third title in Acapulco, beating Taylor Fritz in the final to capture his 21st ATP 500 tour title. Nadal decided not to travel to America to compete in the US Open and Cincinnati Masters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rafael Nadal’s much-awaited first competitive appearance of 2021 has been delayed, with the Spaniard pulling out of the opening tie against hosts Australia due to a stiff lower back.
2020 saw Rafael Nadal rise to the top of the tennis pyramid, drawing level with Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slam titles–the most in history. His season started with a successful run at the 2020 ATP Cup, losing only once on his route to the final against David Goffin.
Wins against the likes of Yoshihito Nishioka and Nikoloz Basilashvilli saw Nadal help Spain cruise through the group. His semifinal clash against Alex de Minaur is considered one of the best of 2020. Nadal bested the NextGen star in three sets to set up a 55th meeting against fiercest rival Novak Djokovic.
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