- 01 Mar 2020
Rafael Nadal felt his latest success at the Mexican Open was an important moment in his season after he made an impressive return to action.
Following a quarter-final exit to Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open that saw him lose the world number one ranking, the Spaniard earned his third Acapulco title without dropping a set.
Nadal saw off Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-2 in the final of the ATP 500 event for his 85th Tour-level title and first of 2020, taking momentum from his enjoyable spell in Mexico.
“After not competing since Australia, it’s an important week for me and an important moment,” said the 33-year-old.
“I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end. I played solid, with the right intensity, the right passion and my forehand worked well.
“This title doesn’t mean that I will have a great season. It means another good start. It gives me confidence and allows me to be in a privileged position in the ATP Race [To London].
“I am always happy after playing here. Now imagine how I am after getting the title!”
That’s now tour-level titles between them.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 1, 2020
Nadal’s success came as rival Novak Djokovic also won this week, claiming a 6-3 6-4 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championship.
Djokovic has an 18-0 record this season having won the ATP Cup with Serbia and followed that up with the Australian Open and his fifth crown in Dubai.
He joked about going the whole of 2020 unbeaten in his on-court interview and laughed it off again in a later discussion with reporters while explaining his determination to continue the hot streak.
“Of course, I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” Djokovic said.
“This has been one of the best starts of all seasons I had in my career. It has started in the most perfect way possible.
“I am aware, most of the matches that I’m going to play, the players will not have much to lose. They will go out and try to play their best and stop the streak.
“At the same time, the more I win, the more confident and comfortable I feel. I’m just grateful that I’m playing well, feeling well. I’ve won many matches now in a row. I’ll try to keep that run going.”
Nadal and Djokovic are both scheduled to return to action in Indian Wells for the first Masters 1000 event of the season from March 12.