Young Rafael Nadal loses to Roger Federer and reveals what he needs to improve

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Young Rafael Nadal loses to Roger Federer and reveals what he needs to improve

Rafael Nadal made stellar progress through the ATP rankings in 2003, still at 17. The young Spaniard could not gain positions in the following season, missing three months due to a left wrist injury and not playing well despite claiming the first ATP title in Sopot.

At the end of 2004, Nadal defeated world no. 2 Andy Roddick in the Davis Cup final in Seville, celebrating the trophy with his teammates and gathering a boost ahead of 2005. Rafa did not play at his best in Doha and Auckland in the new season's opening weeks before raising his level at the Australian Open.

Nadal defeated three rivals to find himself in the last 16 at Majors for the first time, setting the clash against the home favorite Lleyton Hewitt. Despite a great effort, Rafa lost in five sets to end his journey and set eyes on the clay swing.

Nadal claimed titles in Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco before skipping Indian Wells due to sickness to take some rest.

Rafael Nadal played in the Miami final in 2005, losing to Roger Federer in five sets.

In 2004, Nadal toppled world no.

1 Roger Federer in Miami, and his Florida run was even stronger a year later. Rafa ousted Rainer Schuettler, Fernando Verdasco, Ivan Ljubicic, Thomas Johansson and David Ferrer to advance into the first Masters 1000 final. Thus, Rafa became the second-youngest Masters 1000 finalist after Michael Chang in 1990, setting another clash with Federer in the battle for his young career's first notable crown.

After an epic fight, the Swiss earned a 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 triumph in three hours and 43 minutes, finding himself over the top despite a 6-2, 7-6, 4-1 deficit! Roger was two points away from the loss in the third set, staying composed and winning it from 5-3 down in the tie break.

With momentum on his side, Federer had the upper hand in sets four and five, serving well and doing enough damage on the return to seal the deal and celebrate the first Miami title. Nadal was unhappy with the outcome, but his game was right there, hoping to improve the initial shot in the months to come and chase big titles on clay.

"I'm doing a lot of things well but would also love to improve my serve and get more free points from the initial shot. Also, I have to control my shots more effectively and place them more accurately," Rafael Nadal said.