Nadal missed the tail-end of last season through injury and made a late withdrawal from the Brisbane International at the start of this campaign.
It meant the Spaniard had no competitive games under his belt in the four months leading up to the Australian Open.
However, he defied the odds to reach the final – but that came with a cost as he was brutally thrashed by world No 1 Novak Djokovic, leaving physical and mental scars.
It left Nadal wondering why he was so far off his usual standards.
But he continued to plug on with his recovery, although it initially came with no rewards.
A third-round loss to Nick Kyrgios at the Mexican Open followed. The world No 2 then withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters just hours before his semi-final clash with Roger Federer.
Nadal was left with a huge dilemma on the eve of his favoured clay season.
But he opted to continue working and the rewards came as he won the French Open tittle for a 12th time on Sunday.
“After Indian Wells I had a physical and mental downturn,” Nadal admitted to Spanish newspaper AS.
“In my head there were several alternatives, and one was to stop to see if my body regenerated a bit and stopped going from injury to injury.
“The other was to move forward, but with another dynamic, because the one I was in was negative, I did not see the light.
“There are times when you have to make decisions and those who follow the circuit know what has happened to me in the last 18 months.
“If the subject of the knee (right), which has been giving me problems, we add all the extra things that have happened to me, are many.
“You are pulling forward, but you hit bottom, because it is frustrating not to train or compete to fight for the goals for which you play tennis.”
Nadal went on to explain how he overcame the darkness to prove his worth once again.
“I needed a change and I did it, with attitude, energy and acceptance to be able to compete well in the dirt season, which is the most beautiful part of the year for me,” he added.
“As satisfied as I am, on the sidelines of the campaign it was fantastic with two titles [in Rome and Paris] and three semi-finals, it is to have made of that process what I visualised, evaluating every day the small improvements, the fact of having the opportunity to play.”