Rafael Nadal is still one of the top athletes in the world twenty years after taking part in his first ATP competition. Rafa has overcome severe ailments and given all to prolong his career while winning 22 Major championships and 36 Masters 1000 awards.
Nadal entered the top 10 in 2005 and has been there ever since, remaining in the top 10 for more than 17 years. At the age of 18, Nadal won his first ATP championship in Sopot, with even larger expectations for the upcoming season.
Rafa discussed his primary goals for 2005 in Melbourne at the beginning of the season. The young player listed placing in the top-15 and playing in his debut Roland Garros match as his two main objectives. In 2003, the Spaniard rose 150 ranks on the list thanks to his first Challenger victories, Major wins, and Masters 1000 victories.
Due to injury, Rafa had to miss Roland Garros in 2003 and 2004, thus he was determined to make up for it in 2005. Nadal began his campaign by competing in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Before giving Lleyton Hewitt his all, Rafa overcame Mikhail Youzhny, Bobby Reynolds, and Julien Benneteau.
After three hours and 53 minutes, the Australian won 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 7-6, 6-2 to end the youngster’s progress.
Rafael Nadal made his season’s objectives public at the 2005 Australian Open.
Just two points separated Hewitt and Nadal, who easily outclassed the local favorite in sets two and three.
Rafa had a commanding advantage in serve and return but blew a chance to win the match in the fourth. In the final match, a teenager ran out of gas and conceded defeat to his rival. Nadal claimed he performed at a good level despite coming out on the losing end of the match.
In order to eventually play at Roland Garros, he planned to finish the season in the top-20 or top-15. The Spaniard, as we all know, did that and much more, claiming 79 victories out of 89 matches and adding 11 trophies to his collection in one of the best seasons for a youngster in tennis ever.
He also placed in the top 2 alongside Roger Federer, becoming the second-strongest link in men’s tennis. Rafael Nadal stated, “My goal for this season is to compete in Roland Garros for the first time and break the top-20 or top-15.”