At the 2005 Monte Carlo Open, 18-year-old Rafael Nadal was considered a strong contender for the championship. The youngster had played well on clay before, getting to the final of the Miami Masters 1000. He was hoping for similar success in Madrid. Even so, Rafa didn’t focus on the big picture, instead taking things one match at a time and trying to get better.
Nadal predicted that his opponents would be the favorites in the Principality, but he was only concerned with his upcoming match. The first three months of 2005 were very successful for the Spaniard, who is now on the cusp of the top 30 after winning three matches at the Australian Open and two clay-court titles in Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco.
Rafa skipped Indian Wells but played well enough to reach the final in Miami, where he came within two points of beating Roger Federer in straight sets before falling in five. After losing in the quarterfinals in Miami to Igor Andreev, Rafa was determined to redeem himself in Monte Carlo, where he made his professional debut as a 16-year-old two years prior.
The Spaniard won the first set against his contemporary Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 in just 58 minutes, despite being broken twice and having the advantage on the return.
half a time The second set saw Rafa dominate the long rallies, forcing Gael to exhaust himself with all of his running. After his victory, the Spaniard declared that he had no plans to play Roger Federer in the semi-finals, preferring instead to concentrate on his game and the next challenge.
“Never in a million years would I consider playing Roger Federer. In Miami, I came within two points of defeating him. The fact remained that I was unable to bring him indoors. I’m focused on getting better and winning more games, rather than worrying about my potential opponents in the future.”
When Rafa Nadal won, he shocked the tennis world.
Fernando Gonzalez recently stated that he is not surprised by Rafael Nadal‘s continued success on the court. It’s no longer shocking me,” Gonzalez said. “He’s still playing when he should be retired at a much younger age.
We didn’t expect him to win Wimbledon after he got hurt, especially since he had already won the tournament twice. He could have gone on to win the Grand Slam if he had chosen to. This time last year, Djokovic was on the verge of claiming victory. I would have liked to have seen someone pull that off, but I imagine it’s a tremendous amount of work.”