Due to injuries, Rafael Nadal was unable to advance on the ATP list in 2004, skipping three months and still winning the first ATP title in Sopot in August. At the end of the year, the youngster delivered an important point for Spain over the United States in the Davis Cup final in Seville and gained momentum before 2005.
Nadal didn't play at his best in Doha and Auckland, fixing that at the Australian Open, where he advanced to the fourth round in Majors for the first time. Rafa lost to Lleyton Hewitt in five sets and gained momentum before the South American clay tour, where he lifted crowns at Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco.
An illness prevented Rafa from competing in Indian Wells, and he headed to Miami on the edge of the top-30. The Spaniard showed his best tennis in Florida to reach the final where he astonished no. 1, Roger Federer, a year ago.
Rafa defeated Rainer Schuettler, Fernando Verdasco, Ivan Ljubicic, Thomas Johansson and David Ferrer to become the second-youngest Masters 1000 finalist after Michael Chang and set up another clash with Federer in the pursuit of the first notable title.
After an incredible battle, Roger prevailed 2-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes, producing one of his best comebacks ever since. to be losing two sets to zero and 4-1 in the third! The Swiss took the tie-break of the third set 5-3 against and never looked back for the rest of the match, keeping the pressure on the other side of the net and sealing the deal in style in the deciding set.
Nadal is renowned for his never-say-die attitude
Rafael Nadal recently spoke about the influence that the athletes in his own family - and their sporting values - have had on his tennis career. "I was born into a family of many sports references and it is something that has always inspired me," Nadal was quoted as saying by MARCA.
"I do not know how to do anything without always giving my best. It is something that has dominated my life. And what I try is to improve every day." Rafael Nadal celebrated 17 years of his partnership with KIA at the recent event.
The 35-year-old revealed that he first signed for the Korean automobile brand before he even had a drivers' license, and that he hopes to continue for as long as possible. "(They signed me) when I still didn't even have a driver's license and I hope it continues for many more years," he said.