Dealing with injuries, Rafael Nadal won the first ATP title in 2004 and helped Spain claim the Davis Cup crown at the end of the season. The young Spaniard set eyes on even higher goals in 2005, lifting two ATP trophies on clay in February and reaching the first Masters 1000 final in Miami, standing two points away from victory against Roger Federer.
The Swiss stole the triumph in five sets, but the best was yet to come for an 18-year-old who conquered Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome ahead of Roland Garros. A teenager made a perfect debut on the Parisian clay, 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 trophies to his tally and traveling to Montreal as the top seed, with Roger Federer skipping the sixth Masters 1000 event of the season.
Rafa defeated his good friend 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 his ranking progress in Montreal 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 that he didn't feel pressure like it was in Paris. His aim was to focus only on the next encounter and try to go as deep as possible. It was Nadal's first ATP tournament played as world no.
2, and the youngster couldn't 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, packed with the top-50 players. I want to play well in the next match and advance into the last 16; anything can happen after that. I like the competition and enjoy the game.
I'm world no. 2, and I couldn't think about that six months or a year ago. Last year, I was injured for three months, and it wasn't easy to watch my ranking going down," Rafael Nadal said.