Great year for Rafael Nadal but the end was a pity as he had a chance to win ATP Finals: Coach Carlos Moya

Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open
Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open
Modified 29 Nov 2020

Rafael Nadal's coach Carlos Moya believes that although the 2020 season was 'strange', in hindsight it was a positive year for the Spaniard as he won a Grand Slam title. Moya also lamented the fact that the end of the year wasn't as good as it could have been, with his charge falling short at the ATP Finals.

Rafael Nadal won a record-extending 13th French Open title in September this year, which also tied him with Roger Federer (at 20) for most Grand Slams. But the Spaniard came up short at the other big events; he lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January and the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals in November.

"Very rare season and very strange year for everyone," Moya said. "Within what has been possible to play, the balance is clearly positive because winning a Grand Slam always turns the year into a great year. That is undoubted."

The 44-year-old went on to say that Rafael Nadal had a good chance to win his first-ever ATP Finals trophy, but things didn't go as planned.

"The pity was the end with the London Masters Cup where I think Rafa had a chance to reach the final and also to win the tournament," Moya said.

Used to Rafael Nadal solving these types of situations, but his rivals played at a tremendous level: Carlos Moya on ATP Finals stumble

Rafael Nadal with coach Carlos Moya at the Nitto ATP Finals
Rafael Nadal with coach Carlos Moya at the Nitto ATP Finals

Carlos Moya pointed out that Rafael Nadal's campaign at the ATP Finals hinged on a couple of key points in his matches against Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev. Nadal lost to Thiem in two tie-breaks during the group stage, while against Medvedev in the semis he served for the match in the second set before going down in three.

"In this type of game against these rivals (Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev), who are the best in the world, and on these surfaces where everything goes so fast, games end up being decided on two or three key points. If you end up changing the winner of those points, the game completely changes both for and against," the former World No. 1 said.

Moya added that while Rafael Nadal usually comes out on top in these kinds of situations, he had no such luck in London. The 44-year-old attributed that to the high level of play from both Thiem and Medvedev.

"We are used to Rafael Nadal solving this type of situation in his favor, but it must be emphasized that rivals also play at a tremendous level," Moya said. "It is a shame that most of those key points that we are talking about fell on the opponent's side in this tournament."

The 1998 French Open champion also talked about the schedule for the 2021 season, and asserted that the players need to be flexible given the uncertainty of the situation.

"Right now what we know is that, as of now, you cannot go to Australia until January 8 and for that and other reasons there are many things in the air," Moya said. "We still do not even know what the evolution of the virus will be and that is why we must be vigilant and open to any type of event."
Published 29 Nov 2020
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