Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I could not think of being ranked behind Roger Federer'



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Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I could not think of being ranked behind Roger Federer'

Rafael Nadal claimed the first ATP title in 2004 and helped Spain win the Davis Cup crown, dealing with injuries but making it a memorable season. The young Spaniard set eyes on even higher goals in 2005, lifting two ATP trophies on beloved clay in February and reaching the first Masters 1000 final in Miami, standing two points away from a straight-sets victory against Roger Federer.

The Swiss stole the triumph in five sets, but the best was yet to come for an 18-year-old after conquering Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome ahead of Roland Garros. A teenager made a perfect Parisian debut, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to lift the first Major trophy, becoming world no.

3 and gathering momentum ahead of the second part of the year. The results were not that good on grass, and Nadal was back at his best in Bastad and Stuttgart, adding more titles to his tally and traveling to Montreal as the top seed after Roger Federer skipped the season's sixth Masters 1000 event.

Rafa defeated Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes in the first round. The younger Spaniard played against only one break chance, never giving serve away and wasting 13 out of 15 break opportunities to stay on the court for much longer than he wanted.

Moya claimed all seven points in the second set tie break, and Nadal had to start all over in the decider.

Rafael Nadal spoke about being world no. 2 at Canada Masters 2005.

He grabbed a break to find himself over the top, making a winning start as one of the title favorites.

After the match, Nadal said he did not feel pressure like in Paris. He aimed to focus only on the following encounter and go as deep as possible. It was Nadal's first ATP tournament as world no. 2, and the youngster could not even imagine that six months or a year earlier.

"Of course, I can still improve my game; I'm young. You have to be humble and work on your game every day. I still have to add more elements to my tennis, and I'm focused on that. It will not be easy to win the tournament; this is the Masters 1000 event, and the players from the top-50 are here.

I want to play well in the next match and advance into the last 16; anything is possible after that. I like the competition and enjoy the game. I'm world no. 2, and I could not think about that six months or a year ago. Last year, I was injured for three months, and it was not easy to watch my ranking going down," Rafael Nadal said.