Rafael Nadal: 'I broke my foot in Madrid 2005 final, but it was worth it'


Rafael Nadal: 'I broke my foot in Madrid 2005 final, but it was worth it'

Rafael Nadal wrote history books in 2005, producing one of the greatest seasons for teenagers, lifting no less than 11 ATP titles and entering the top-2. After wasting a massive advantage against Roger Federer in the Miami Open final, Rafa bounced back on clay and won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros for an incredible streak at such a young age.

After a short grass campaign, Nadal secured another notable trophy in Montreal, beating Andre Agassi in the title clash and lifting the trophy in his first tournament as world no. 2! By the end of the season, the young Spaniard celebrated another title in front of the home fans at the Madrid Open, winning his first and only indoor hard crown.

Nadal defeated four rivals in straight sets to set Ivan Ljubicic clash, facing an in-form opponent who claimed two indoor titles in the previous weeks. After a titanic battle, Rafa prevailed 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 after three hours and 53 minutes, performing one of his most impressive comebacks in a career and enjoying one of the proudest moments of his young career.

The title came at a high price, though, as Rafa suffered a foot injury during the match, enduring the pain but barely standing on the next day. Nadal had to skip the rest of the season and his Masters Cup debut, returning only in February 2006 after missing the season's first Major at the Australian Open.

Still, Nadal describes the win as one of the most important ones of his career, saying it was worthy of a broken foot. From 30-0 down in the third game of the third set, Rafa grabbed four straight points for a vital hold that gave him a massive boost, breaking Ivan in the next one for only his second lead since the beginning of the match.

The Spaniard fended off three break points in game five to maintain the lead and forced Ljubicic's error at 5-3 to take the set and stay in contention after exactly two hours of play.

Rafael Nadal shared memories about that epic 2005 Madrid Open final.

Ivan lost the edge in those moments, and Nadal broke him in the fourth set's third game with a forehand winner to boost his confidence before a forehand winner that sent him 3-1 up.

The home favorite needed more of those in the sixth game when he saved a break point, hitting a service winner to create a 4-2 gap and holding at love with another in game eight to remain in front. Serving for the set at 5-4, Rafa held at 30 to send this exciting match into a decider in front of the partisan Spanish crowd that erupted in joy when Ivan sent a backhand long in the fourth set's last point.

A fantastic volley winner gave Ljubicic two break points in the final set's second game, scoring a break after Nadal's terrible backhand. The Spaniard broke back immediately after Ivan's double fault before the Croat reached two deuces on the return in the eighth game, unable to create break chances.

Four good holds sent them into a tie break, where Nadal opened a 3-0 lead with a beautiful forehand crosscourt winner. Two crucial points on serve moved the youngster 5-2 up, and he grabbed another mini-break after Ljubicic's tired forehand that earned three match points for him.

A teenager converted the first following another netted forehand from the Croat to fall to the ground in disbelief, starting a massive celebration of what has been one of his most memorable triumphs on the Tour ever. "My most cherished Madrid Open memory goes back to 2005 when I won the first title.

It was the final, but it wasn't on clay. It was an unforgettable match, so exciting; I remember the fans were incredible. The match cost me a few months of my career. I broke my foot, but it was worth it. It was worth the emotion I experienced; they made it impossible to forget.

The next day I woke up and I was limping, I couldn't walk. The fans were very close, and as it was indoors, it was louder. It was amazing to win at home in that way; also, I was just a kid," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Ivan Ljubicic