Rafael Nadal was so affected by Spain’s spring COVID-19 pandemic that he avoided touching a racquet for weeks.
Coach Carlos Moya, a one-time ATP No. 1, revealed his friend’s desperation as the first wave of the virus swept through on Nadal’s home island of Mallorca.
“Rafa went two months without touching a tennis racket, from mid-March to mid-May,” Moya told European outlet L’Team.
‘When we started training again, there were days when we trained for five minutes, weeks when we trained one day, then not the next.”
As the crisis of confidence eventually passed, Team Rafa began to think seriously about the upcoming appearance at the rescheduled French Open, which Nadal won for a record 13th time in October.
Moya added: “There were doubts because he only played one tournament and not necessarily very well (Rome, quarter-finals). And then came Roland-Garros in totally different conditions. “
As Nadal lined up for the final with Novak Djokovic, foul autumn weather forced closure of the new roof over the Chatrier stadium, effectively turning it into an indoor venue.
Nadal remained unbothered, according to his coach: “When they come to tell us, before the match, that the final will be played indoors, we wonder how we’re going to announce this to Rafa.
But the king of clay was not fussed: “I don’t care, it doesn’t change anything, I’m going to win this match”
“Nadal is such a humble person. It was not arrogance, it was a feeling of confidence, of security,” Moya added.