Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal began their rivalry in Miami 2004, with the young Spaniard dazzling world no. 1 in straight sets. A year later, they reached the final in Florida. Nadal took the first two sets, took a 4-1 lead in the third and moved closer to another victory over the best player in the world.
From the brink of defeat, Federer rallied to take the third set and raced to the finish line in the fourth and fifth, lifting the trophy and leaving the teenager empty-handed in his first notable final. Nadal became the second-youngest player in a Masters 1000 final, and he didn't have to wait long to advance to second, doing just that a couple of weeks later in Monte Carlo on his beloved clay court.
Nadal faced a formidable obstacle in defending champion Guillermo Coria in the title clash. The Spaniard beat the Argentine 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 in three hours and nine minutes to become the second-youngest Masters 1000 champion at 18 years and ten months.
After two dominant sets, Nadal lost ground in the third, wasting it before opening a 4-1 gap in the fourth for another big step towards the title. As Coria recovered the break and leveled the score at 4-4, Nadal started thinking about that Miami clash against Federer.
Using the experience from that one, Rafa kept his cool and prevailed with a late break in game 12 to surge to the top and celebrate the first notable title of his young career. "Yes, this is my best tennis moment next to the Davis Cup.
It's my first big title, and the feeling is incredible. I played well in the first two sets, especially with my forehand. Then, Guillermo began to play better and I gave away the third set."
Karatsev has showered huge praise on Federer
In a recent interview at the Maharashtra Open 2022, World No.
14 Aslan Karatsev revealed that Roger Federer "inspires" him the most. He also claimed that the 40-year-old's gameplay and movement on the court is on "another level." "I would go with Roger Federer.
Because he showed fantastic tennis even in this age. I was practicing with him a couple of times. Still, the way how he plays, how he feels the ball, and how he moves is something another level," said Karatsev. "His game is unique.
He was my childhood idol. The way Roger stays fit is amazing. I do not know how he is able to do it. He is 40 and still moves very well! I would like to face him," stated the Russian back then.