Rafael Nadal after first Madrid match: 'My knee felt fine, I'm confident'

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Rafael Nadal after first Madrid match: 'My knee felt fine, I'm confident'

Dealing with an injury for a couple of months in the previous season, Rafael Nadal was eager to unleash his best tennis in 2005. A teenager won 79 out of 89 matches that year, lifting 11 ATP titles and becoming world no. 2 behind Roger Federer.

A few days after turning 19, Rafa claimed the first Major crown at Roland Garros and added four Masters 1000 trophies to his tally to complete one of the greatest seasons for teenagers in tennis history. After losing in the US Open third round, Nadal won the title in Beijing and led his country against Italy in the Davis Cup.

The youngster had to withdraw from Vienna due to knee issues, and there was a massive question mark above his Madrid Masters participation. Nadal confirmed that he struggled with knee tendonitis in the pre-event press conference, doing an MRI and still preparing to compete in front of the home fans.

Rafael Nadal made a winning start in Madrid 2005, beating Hanescu in two sets.

The home favorite defeated Victor Hanescu 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 40 minutes in the first match. Rafa lost serve in the early stages before recovering his initial shot and never facing trouble again.

Hanescu led in the tie break before Nadal bounced back to claim the set and gain a massive momentum ahead of the second. The Spaniard said that his knee felt fine, feeling no pain and hoping for the same against Tommy Robredo or Carlos Moya.

"My knee was fine. It didn't hurt at the beginning, just a bit when I stepped in. I think I played well, and it wasn't easy today. I didn't play for three weeks, and I was a bit slow and nervous. My serve was there, and I was happy with my performance.

This is a regular tournament, and the only thing that could make a difference is an injury. My next rival is Moya or Robredo, and I have to prepare for it. I have to continue with my treatment and not force my knee. The knee didn't hurt in the first match, and I'm happy.

I felt more comfortable as the encounter went on. I trailed in the tie break, and then I made a good return to gain momentum and bring the victory home," Rafael Nadal said.