Roger Federer was a dominant figure in men’s tennis in 2004. The Swiss remained a player to beat in 2005, but had company at the top, with Rafael Nadal becoming world number 2 and distancing himself from players below he and Federer.
The young Spaniard claimed no less than 11 ATP titles that year, completing one of the most excellent seasons for teenagers in the game’s history and matching Roger’s number of titles. Nadal clinched the Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros crowns for his first notable trophies, and he battled for another in Montreal.
The Spaniard did not drop serve in the first three matches in Canada, beating Sébastien Grosjean 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes in the third round to enter the quarterfinals. Speaking of his improvements on hard court, Nadal brought up that memorable Miami final against Federer in March, the one he got his hands on before it slipped away.
Rafa became the second youngest Masters 1000 finalist, after Michael Chang, and had a great chance to defeat Roger for the second year in a row in Florida. After an incredible battle, Roger prevailed 2-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes, staging one of his most excellent comebacks.
after losing two sets to zero and 4-1 in the third. The Swiss clinched the third set tie-break after trailing 5-3, picking up momentum and not looking back for the remainder of the clash. Federer kept up the pressure on the other side and sealed the deal in style in the decider.
Nadal came within two points of victory at 5-4 in the third set and again at the tie break, unable to make that last push and beat the best player in the world. The Spaniard saved two set points in the second set and stole it in the tie break to build a massive lead.
Nadal dropped to No. 6 in the rankings
Rafael Nadal‘s incredible Top-10 run is nearing its end in the coming weeks, feels leading tennis coach and commentator Brad Gilbert. “If my brain calculations are right, the amazing streak that he’s had of Top-10 consecutive weeks, which is 18 consecutive years, believe it or not, is going to come to an end,” Brad Gilbert said on a recent episode of the Holding Court with Patrick McEnroe podcast.
“He’s going to be in a different position in the draw,” Gilbert continued. “But first and foremost, you just want to see him healthy. If he’s going to be healthy and he’s going to be seeded 11th or 12th in these tournaments, that’s going to be a tough draw for somebody. That’s all I hope for. If he’s healthy, he’s going to win matches and be right,” he added.