After an impressive showing at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal established himself as a serious threat in 2005. In February, at age 18, he won two ATP titles on clay. After a successful move to hard courts, he advanced to the final of the Miami Masters 1000 as the tournament’s second youngest player.
Roger Federer won in five sets, but Nadal came back to win on clay, the surface he prefers. from Roland Garros to Roland Monte Carlo to the Catalan Open to the Roman Open to the Catalan Open. After breaking into the top 3, Nadal struggled on grass, losing in the first round at both Halle and Wimbledon before returning to clay and winning titles in Bastad and Stuttgart.
When Nadal arrived in Montreal as the No. 2 seed, he was one of the favorites to win the title in Roger Federer‘s absence. Rafa won his first professional match in three sets against his countryman and friend Carlos Moyá, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
The second time around, the young man’s day at work was less hectic. A 6-1, 6-2 victory over Ricardo Mello in 66 minutes saw him extend his winning streak to six. The Spaniard lost only 11 points in eight service games, faced no break points, and won 56% of return points to advance to the quarterfinals with ease thanks to four breaks in seven opportunities.
Rafa’s third match was a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Sébastien Grosjean, which took an hour and forty minutes. Rafa saved all five break points his opponent had and broke Grosjean’s serve once in each set. Over the course of three hours at Roland Garros, Grosjean communicated with Nadal.
Even with his best effort, the Frenchman lost in straight sets in Montreal’s gusty conditions.
When August rolls around, Rafa Nadal will be back on the court.
Rafael Nadal, while expanding on his thoughts on the mental side of the game, said that sometimes players have to fight themselves in addition to their opponents.
“Tennis, as a one-on-one sport, has additional complexities beyond those of other elite sports. This contest is against a competitor who, on occasion, can match or even surpass your own abilities. However, a large portion of the battle is fought within oneself, and this internal battle can be very costly. This has happened numerous times, and we have witnessed it. Thinking on your feet is especially crucial there, though not only, “the man explained.