In one of the best teen seasons in the Open Era, Rafael Nadal won 11 incredible ATP titles in 12 finals in 2005, becoming Major and not champion. 2 behind Roger Federer. A fantastic young man showed his full potential on the beloved clay and hard court, nearly beating Federer in the Miami final and conquering Canada, Beijing and Madrid.
Nadal embraced a near-perfect score of 28-2 at the Masters 1000 events, lifting trophies in Monte Carlo, Rome, Montreal and Madrid to secure a spot among the most notable players in this series. At the Masters 1000 tournament at home in Madrid, Rafa defeated Victor Hanescu, Tommy Robredo and Radek Stepanek to advance to the semi-finals, where he had to work hard against Robby Ginepri.
The crowd favorite prevailed 7-5, 7-6 in one hour and 41 minutes for the fifth Masters 1000 final of the season! Well capable of playing at a high level in Masters 1000 events on hard court, Ginepri advanced to the semi-final for the second time in a row after Cincinnati, where he took a set from Roger Federer.
The American defeated Sebastien Grosjean, Nikolay Davydenko and David Ferrer to set up Nadal's clash, fighting for the best finish of his career. Despite Ginepri's tremendous effort, the Spaniard sealed the deal in two tight sets, earning nine more points than his rival and claiming three breaks of eight chances to emerge on top.
Robby threw an ace to take the first game home, and Nadal made a similar response in the second game to put his name on the scoreboard. Robby scored three 30-0 winners against in Game 3 to avoid break opportunities and shot four more two games later to keep the love and a 3-2 lead.
All of that changed at 3-3 when Rafa landed a forehand to create first-break opportunities, wasting them after a heavy hit from the American before converting the third when Ginepri missed a backhand.
Paula Badosa on Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is one of the most highly accomplished Spanish athletes of all time, and he is revered by his compatriots on the tennis tour, including 2021 Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa.
"I have always said he (Rafael Nadal) is my idol and for five years I have begun to coincide more with him," Badosa was quoted as saying by MARCA. "I remember in the first tournaments, when I saw Rafa Nadal and I was very intimidated by everything he has achieved."
Badosa further revealed that she would even go to the bathroom to hide every time she saw Nadal. But the Spaniard admitted she is now solely getting used to Nadal's presence. "I remember in some tournament of he would come to greet me and I would half hide or when I saw him coming I would go to the bathroom so he wouldn't see me because he wouldn't come out or introduce myself because I got very nervous. But now I'm getting used to it," she added.