Rafael Nadal was a teenager on a mission in 2005, winning 11 ATP titles for one of the most celebrated seasons for those yet to turn 20. 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 final in Miami and winning the first crown at the premium ATP circuit in Monte Carlo, backed by another one 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, advancing to his fourth Masters 1000 final of the season where he faced an eight-time Major champion Andre Agassi.
Youth toppled the experience, with Nadal scoring a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 58 minutes, lifting the third Masters 1000 trophy of the season and becoming 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 favorite with three breaks of serve.
They had a similar number of winners, while 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.
"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. It was one of my goals when the season started and I hope to keep this momentum in the upcoming weeks and the US Open.
I would love to win a Major on hard in the future but I'm only thinking about the next match, especially in the opening rounds. It wasn't 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 couldn't put me under pressure with his shots.
After the rain delay, he started to target my backhand with his backhand, playing aggressive tennis and giving me troubles. I was also aggressive in the third set and that helped me to prevail. The crucial points are always important, you have to stay mentally strong and win those.
Also, you have to change the approach sometimes, exactly what I did in the decider. The crowd was on his side and I understand that; he has played here many times, being an idol for many. I was tired after winning Rome in that epic clash against Guillermo Coria.
I didn't feel good in the second round at Wimbledon and my tennis has been fine after that, winning three back-to-back titles. I don't think about the records. I have won three Masters 1000 tournaments and a Major, that's unbelievable but I can't think about that now.
There will be plenty of time for that at the end of the season; now, I have to stay focused on my game and improvements," said Rafael Nadal.