In 2005, Roger Federer was still the player to beat on the ATP Tour, with a young opponent ready to challenge him for years to come. A teenage Rafael Nadal claimed 11 titles that year, as did Roger, setting many age records and lifting his first Major crown at Roland Garros, just after his 19th birthday.
The Spaniard won 79 caps that season, displaying incredible consistency and an unmatched fighting spirit that led to numerous challenging wins. However, Acapulco was not among them, as Rafa posted five straight-set wins to lift his third ATP crown and second in two weeks after Costa do Sauipe.
Unlike the previous week, when he spent more than seven hours on the court in the last three meetings, Nadal was the dominant figure in Acapulco, losing 30 games in ten sets and delivering a one-sided final. The youngster outclassed Alex Calatrava 6-4, 6-4, Santiago Ventura 7-6, 6-2 and Guillermo Cañas 7-5, 6-3, prevailing in crucial moments and suffering just two breaks.
The Spaniard toppled Mariano Puerta in the semi-finals (they would play the Roland Garros final in June) to set the title clash against compatriot Albert Montañés. It was the third ATP final for the more experienced Spaniard and the third loss, with an 18-year-old outclassing him to forge a 6-1, 6-0 victory in 52 minutes!
Serving at 78%, Rafa lost eight points in seven service games, never facing a break chance and mounting the pressure on the other side.
Uncle Toni speaks about Nadal
Rafael Nadal's former coach Toni Nadal has refused to throw his weight behind a single player in the GOAT debate, insisting that his opinion is not valid since he is the uncle of one of the contenders.
"There are different measures to determine who is number one (of all time). The one who has played better in some tournaments, or the one who has played better for a longer time; the one who has had more victories. That is up to everyone's taste; depending on what you look at, they can be Federer, Djokovic, or Rafael, who is the one who has won the most Grand Slam titles with less participation," Uncle Toni was quoted as saying by Marca.
Toni Nadal also spoke about the evolution of his nephew's game over the years. "He has changed, the same as Federer. If you run a little less you know you have to shorten the points. The level of Rafael's game between 2008 and 2010 was very high.
Today he has a little less physicality, of course , but his game is more complete, he now serves much better," said Toni.