Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met at the Miami Masters in 2004 and 2005. The young Spaniard stunned the world number 1 in straight sets in 2004 before challenging him in the title clash a year later. Nadal took the first two sets, led 4-1 in the third and moved within another win over Federer.
Roger rallied from the brink of defeat to steal the third set and survive. The more experienced player took command and raced towards the finish in fourth and fifth, lifting the trophy and leaving a teenager empty-handed in his first notable final.
Nadal became the second youngest player in a Masters 1000 final after Michael Chang. The Spaniard did not have to wait long to advance to the second title clash, clinching it a couple of weeks later in Monte Carlo on his beloved clay.
Nadal faced a formidable obstacle in the final, defending champion Guillermo Coria. The Spaniard beat the Argentine 6-3, 6-1, 0-6 and 7-5 in three hours and nine minutes to become the second youngest champion of a Masters 1000, at 18 years and ten months.
After two dominant sets, Nadal lost ground in the third, throwing it overboard before opening a 4-1 gap in the fourth. Coria recovered the break and equalized the score at 4-4. Nadal began to think about that clash in Miami against Federer.
With the experience gained, Rafa kept his composure and prevailed with a break in the twelfth game to rise to the top and celebrate the first notable title of his young career. “This is my best tennis moment along with the Davis Cup.
It’s my first big title and the feeling is incredible. I played the first two sets well, especially with my forehand. Then Guillermo started to play better and I gave up the third set. He was also way behind in the fourth, and he had already started thinking about Miami and on the same stage against Roger Federer.”
Henin reflects on Nadal
Speaking to Eurosport, Justine Henin spoke about Rafael Nadal’s future.
“Today fans are asking many questions about Rafael Nadal, who has already amazed everyone a myriad of times” – analyzed Justine Henin. “Victories at the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2022 left everyone speechless, proving that Rafa should never be underestimated.
At the same time, it must be admitted that he has seemed to be in difficulty in recent months. He had several physical problems, became a father in the autumn and has never returned to 100% fitness. The 2023 Australian Open didn’t go well and he injured his ileo-psoas, which he really didn’t want after the ordeal of the last few months.
Will Rafa be able to rise again? We will find out at Roland Garros” – added the Belgian. Nadal was snapped up by Djokovic to lead the all-time Grand Slam leaderboard.