On Thursday, 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal received the Grand Cross of the Order on May 2 from the hands of Madrid’s regional president Isabel Ayuso. One of the most respected Spanish athletes of all time received the honor during a ceremony held at the Real Casa de Correos in Madrid.
The Grand Cross of the Order of May 2 is an award reserved for exceptional people or institutions that have helped their country in various fields. Nadal earned this honor with an unprecedented desire to compete to the fullest in every game and to carry the Spanish flag around the world.
Fourteenth in 16 years, Nadal secured at least one major trophy, especially when standing with his beloved Roland Garros. It has not been an easy task to achieve in 2020, in crises and downsizing, especially after losing the Australian Open quarterfinals and canceling at Wimbledon.
Nevertheless, the Spaniard found his A-game when he needed it most, saved the season and broke into record books again at the age of 34. Rafa lost the ATP throne after defeats with Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem in the ATP Cup and at the Australian Open. In February, he bounced back in Acapulco with the 85th ATP title in his collection.
Rafa spent the next six months in his island paradise in Mallorca during a coronavirus pandemic, enjoying time with family and friends and not going to the training ground for two months.
Nadal went on a racket again in May, returning slowly, looking for motivation and a desire to return to 100% after such a long break from tennis.
Rafael Nadal received the Grand Cross of the Order on May 2.
With 2,000 points for last year’s US Open title safely in his bag, he skipped the resumption of the season in New York and continued training in clay and entered the first race. official after six and a half months at the Masters 1000 in Rome.
The Spaniard failed to defend the title, lost in the quarterfinals to Diego Schwartzman and returned to the training ground in front of Roland Garros. The Paris tournament was Raf’s last chance at a big trophy in 2020, when he faced unusual conditions like never before in the French capital and hoped to regain his best tennis after playing just three games since March!
Despite the cold and rainy weather, the new Wilson balls and the roof over the Philippe-Chatrier court, Nadal once again showed his size, winning the 13th crown Roland Garros without losing the set and setting Roger Federer’s record of 20 major titles.
In the final, Nadal defeated world number one Novak Djokovic with a score of 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 and from the beginning to the end he played at a high level in one of the most important matches of the century.
At the end of the season, Rafa returned to Paris for the Masters 1000, suffered a semi-final loss to Alexander Zverev and reached the same round in the ATP final. Rafael Nadal served to win over Daniil Medvedev in London, but suffered a loss with a score of 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 and ended the season.
Rafa will start preparations soon and hopes to form his game in the next 40 days before heading to Melbourne for the first major of the new season.