Rafael Nadal from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Spaniard's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. 2005 was an incredible season. Nadal played 12 finals that year, winning 11 titles. Simply a monstrous season, where the Spaniard began to compete against Roger Federer. Out of the court, Nadal met María Francisca Xisca Perelló: they got engaged in December 2005 and their relationship culminated with the wedding of 2019.
The couple is very private but over the years the great love between the two Spaniards has been seen. Rafa's 2005 began with the defeat at the 2004 Australian Open against Lleyton Hewitt, then he played and lost the Miami Open final against Roger Federer.
But his real season started on clay-courts. On this surface, Nadal showed an incredible dominance that year, the first of a long series, which led him to be considered the greatest player in the history of tennis on clay. He won the Brazil Open, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, the Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona, the Italian Open, the Roland Garros (where he defeated Federer in the semi-final), the Swedish Open and the Mercedes Cup.
A series of 8 victories on clay -courts, winning his first Slam at 18 years-old. "When you come from the victories of Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, you obviously feel ready to win Paris! Because the players you find in Paris are no different from those you played with in previous tournaments!
When I won for the first time in Paris, I thought that I could not win something like that. When I play Wimbledon for the first time as a Roland Garros champion, the adrenaline is a thousand. This affected me negatively in that year," he had said a couple of years ago.
At Wimbledon 2005 he was in fact defeated in four sets by Gilles Muller, but a few weeks later he won his first title on hard-courts, beating Andre Agassi in the final, also winning his first ATP Masters 1000. He also won the China Open and the Mutua Madrid Open, which was played on indoor hard-courts in October.
Yet in a 2019 interview, Nadal said that in 2005 he had perhaps the worst moment of his career: "The lowest moment of my career was in 2005 when they told me that I could perhaps no longer play tennis, because of a foot injury.
Having constant pain, more than normal, which does not make you have a happy life for so long. It causes you despair. I always had the strength, that's why I did what I did. But overcome the moments difficult makes you strong and helps you have a more positive attitude."
In the following three years Rafael Nadal achieves impressive victories.