Rafael Nadal wishes: ‘I want to play against Andre Agassi before he retires’

Finishing the 2004 season with the Davis Cup crown, Rafael Nadal was ready for more success in the following season. Still at 18, Rafa became one of the players to watch on the Tour, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and the final in Miami, losing in five sets to Roger Federer despite having a massive lead. Those results were good for the young star, and the upcoming ones on clay were even better, as a teenager claimed two titles in February and extended the run during the main spring clay-court swing. Earning his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, Rafa conquered Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros, becoming the last teenager with a Major crown. Entering the top-3, Nadal would experience a short grass campaign before returning to clay, winning titles in Bastad and Stuttgart. Heading to Montreal as world no. 2, Nadal was the top seed in the absence of Roger Federer.

Rafael Nadal reached the semis in Montreal 2005, hoping to play Andre Agassi.

Rafa made a winning start following a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory over a compatriot and friend Carlos Moya. The youngster had a more relaxed day at the office in the second round, toppling Ricardo Mello 6-1, 6-2 in 66 minutes. Nadal dropped 11 points in eight service games, facing no break chances and taking 56% of the return points to grab four breaks from seven opportunities and sail into the last 16. In the battle for the quarter-final, Nadal ousted Sebastien Grosjean 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes, repelling all five break opportunities and stealing the opponent’s serve once in each set to hit the last eight. Asked about a potential title clash against Andre Agassi, Rafa said it would be incredible to face the eight-time Major champion before he retires.

“The conditions were windy, and it wasn’t easy to hit the ball as we wanted. I’m happy to score another win in straight sets and move into the next round. Grosjean had his chances in the opening stages of both sets, and I stayed focused and broke him twice to bring the victory home. I’m yet to lose serve in Montreal, which gives me a lot of confidence; that’s something new for me. It’s not that tough to make a transition from clay to hard. I’m feeling good on the court right now, as it was on clay in the previous weeks. I’m more aggressive on hard court, and that’s the critical element, as I have to mix my game and attack sometimes. If I can reach the final and meet Andre Agassi there, it would be unbelievable. I want to face him as we never met before; he is a legend of our sport. It would be a new experience for me, and I want to meet him on the court before he retires,” Rafael Nadal said. 

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