With a strong start to the season at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal became one of the players to beat in 2005. At 18, he won two ATP titles on clay in February. He made a good transition to the hard courts and reached the Miami final as the second-youngest player at the Masters 1000 level.
Roger Federer beat Nadal in five exciting sets, and the Spaniard bounced back on his beloved clay to lift the trophies. of Montecarlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros. Entering the top-3, Nadal did not maintain that level on grass, suffering early exits at Halle and Wimbledon and returning to clay to win titles at Bastad and Stuttgart.
Arriving in Montreal as world No. 2, Nadal was the top seed in Roger Federer’s absence and one of the favorites for the title. Rafa made his debut with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory against his compatriot and friend Carlos Moyá.
In the second round, the young man had a more relaxed day at the office. He defeated Ricardo Mello 6-1, 6-2 in 66 minutes, dominating from start to finish to get another win and extend his streak. The Spaniard gave up 11 points in eight service games, not having any break chances and converting 56% of return points to earn four breaks from seven chances and cruise to the round of 16.
In the third match, Rafa outclassed Sébastien Grosjean 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes, fending off all five break chances and stealing his opponent’s serve once in each set to advance to the quarters. At Roland Garros, Grosjean was in contact with Nadal for more than three hours.
In Montreal, the Frenchman gave his best and still lost in straight sets in windy conditions.
Sascha Zverev praises Federer
Alexander Zverev recently revealed that Roger Federer played an instrumental role in the German’s success during his early years on the ATP Tour.
“Roger Federer was a role model when I was at a young age and just started being on tour. He’s somebody who likes to talk to young guys and give advice, which he did with me when I was 18, 19, 20; what it’s like to be on top in the rankings and how to handle media, how to handle sponsors and all that,” Zverev said.
“We had a lot of conversations at a younger age, and I think he helped me a lot in that regard”. The German blamed it partly on the Swiss’ knee problems that have kept him on the sidelines since the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, adding that the lack of in-person contact has made it harder to keep in touch with his mentor.
“We haven’t spent as much time together lately, and he’s not the type of guy that has a lot of phone contact,” Zverev said. “You need to be in person to have a great relationship”.