Rafael Nadal has won 13 Roland Garros titles since 2005, experiencing just three defeats at his beloved Major and establishing himself as a dominant figure. Unlike at Roland Garros, Nadal has yet to conquer an indoor Paris Masters, reaching eight quarter-finals and playing in the title match but failing to make a final push at the final Masters 1000 event of the season.
Nadal played in the Paris final in a debut in 2007, losing to David Nalbandian and never reaching the title match again. 2020 could have been a year to change his fortunes in this tournament, without Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem in the draw.
Rafa was the top seed of his and reached his fifth Paris Masters semi-final before suffering a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Alexander Zverev. The German won back-to-back titles in Cologne before Paris to build momentum, playing well in the French capital to reach a seventh Masters 1000 final.
The return was a big deal for Rafa that week, and Alexander took full advantage of that, hitting a service winner in 30% of the points in his games and getting broken just once to keep the pressure on the other side. That single break wasn’t enough for the Spaniard to stay safe after delivering three serves to propel the youngster to the top.
Nadal said he gave it his all to tame the opponent’s serve and prolong rallies, falling well behind the baseline on the return but not doing enough to take at least a set. Zverev fired 37 winners to 18 unforced errors and stayed focused in the closing stages of the second set to seal the deal in style.
With nothing to break through on the return in the first set, Nadal pulled back in the second to earn some chances, pulling back the break but suffering another at 5-5 to push Zverev ahead. Alexander forged the lead with a break in the third game of the opener and confirmed it with a 3-1 service winner after 14 minutes.
Rafa suffered an abdominal injury
In his book, Rafael Nadal: My Story, Nadal has detailed why he chose the left hand over the right hand in tennis. He said, “I’ve seen reports in the news media saying that Toni forced me to play left-handed, and that he did this because it would make me harder to play against.
Well, it’s not true. It’s a story the newspapers have made up. The truth is that I began playing when I was very small, and because I wasn’t strong enough to hit the ball over the net, I’d hold the racquet with both hands, on the forehand as well as the backhand”.