Rafael Nadal was a teenager on a mission in 2005, winning 11 ATP titles for one of the most celebrated seasons for that age group. Making a debut at Roland Garros, Nadal claimed the maiden Major title after beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta, writing history books as the last teenager with a trophy at that level.
Nadal saved even better tennis for the Masters 1000 series, reaching the Miami final and winning the first crown at the premium ATP circuit in Monte Carlo, backed by another in Rome. After Wimbledon, Rafa won two titles on clay and became world no.
2 ahead of Montreal, where he was the top seed in the absence of Roger Federer. Playing on a high level, Rafa got broken only once against Carlos Moya, Ricardo Mello, Sebastien Grosjean and Paul-Henri Mathieu to advance into his fourth Masters 1000 final of the season, facing an eight-time Major champion Andre Agassi.
Youth toppled the experience in the title clash, as Nadal scored a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 58 minutes to lift the third Masters 1000 trophy of the season and become the first teenager with nine ATP titles in a single season since Mats Wilander in 1983!
Nadal got broken only once in set number two, starting all over in the decider to beat the crowd's favorite with three breaks of serve. They had a similar number of winners, and Agassi made too many unforced errors. Rafa had a slight edge in the more extended exchanges against one of the greatest baseliners ever, scoring ten points more in the shortest range to forge the triumph.
After the match, the Spaniard spoke about his incredible season but did not want to think about notable titles he claimed, focusing on the US Open and the upcoming events by the end of the year.
Rafael Nadal became world no.
2 in 2005.
"Winning the first ATP tournament on hard court is important. I have had some good results on this surface in the previous months, knowing I can play well on it. When the season started, it was one of my goals, and I hope to keep this momentum in the upcoming weeks and the US Open.
It was not easy to play against Andre Agassi. I had the strings of the match in my hands in the opener and in the decider, as he could not put me under pressure with his shots. After the rain delay, he started to target my backhand with his backhand, playing aggressive tennis and causing me trouble.
I was also aggressive in the third set, and that helped me to prevail. I was tired after winning Rome in that epic clash against Guillermo Coria. I did not feel good in the second round at Wimbledon, and my tennis has been fine after that, winning three back-to-back titles.
I do not think about the records. I have won three Masters 1000 tournaments and a Major; that's unbelievable, but I can not think about that now. I have to stay focused on my game and improvements," Rafael Nadal said.