Rafael Nadal failed to progress up the ATP Rankings list for the first time in 2004 due to injuries. In August, Rafa captured the first ATP title in Sopot and delivered an important point for his country in the Davis Cup final against the United States in Seville to lift the trophy with his teammates.
The youngster did not play well at the beginning of the 2005 season, he sought his A-game in Doha and Auckland and found him in Melbourne. The Spaniard advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open on his best Major result, falling to Lleyton Hewitt in five tight sets.
Rafa got a boost ahead of the South American clay tour that saw him win crowns in Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco. An illness prevented Nadal from competing in Indian Wells, and he headed to Miami on the brink of the top-30. The teenager showed some of his best tennis in Florida to reach the final in the event where he upset world no.
1, Roger Federer, a year ago. Rafa ousted Rainer Schuettler, Fernando Verdasco, Ivan Ljubicic, Thomas Johansson and David Ferrer to become the second-youngest Masters 1000 finalist after Michael Chang. Therefore, he set up another Roger Federer clash, seeking the first notable crown of his young career.
After an incredible battle, Roger prevailed 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes, producing one of his best comebacks since lose two sets to nil and 4-1 in the third! The Swiss grabbed the third set tie break after trailing 5-3, building momentum and not looking back for the rest of the clash to seal the deal in style in the decider.
Gasquet praises Rafa Nadal
Richard Gasquet recently heaped lavish praise on Rafael Nadal, and even suggested that he was the greatest player of all time. “Nadal is just too strong,” Gasquet said during his appearance at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
“Words are missing. Unprepared, he’s still the best. Shapovalov, Berrettini and Medvedev are strong but he’s a legend, he’s a freak. I’m not surprised obviously,” the Frenchman added. “Who can beat him apart from Djokovic in Paris? That’s Nadal, probably the greatest of all time.”
Richard Gasquet, a former Wimbledon semifinalist, is currently enjoying something of a late career resurgence himself. The Frenchman competed at the Australian Open and beat compatriot and 29th seed Ugo Humbert in four sets.
He faced Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round, and even won the opening set. However, the Dutchman took the second set and ended up progressing to the next round after Gasquet was forced to retire in the third.