Competing at Roland Garros 17 times, Rafael Nadal claimed 13 titles since 2005 and suffered only three losses, two against Novak Djokovic. The Spanish legend has been the dominant figure in Paris ever since his debut in 2005. He has never lost the final match and achieved numbers that will never be repeated at a single Major. Unlike his coevals, Nadal earned a vast experience before turning 19, battling in the biggest tennis arenas and against the top-ranked rivals. Nadal made his first significant steps in Monte Carlo and Hamburg in 2003 at 16, reaching the third round at both Masters 1000 events and seeking a deep run at Roland Garros. Struggling with an injury, Rafa had to skip the clay Major, postponing his Paris debut and hoping for a better fortune a year later. In 2004, Nadal defeated Roger Federer in Miami and cracked the top-50, preparing for another notable campaign on clay but missing almost the entire spring action after an injury he suffered in Estoril.
Rafael Nadal was ready to play at Roland Garros for the first time in 2005.
Thus, Rafa had to skip Roland Garros for the second straight year, still waiting to play at the clay Major for the first time. Everything was set for Nadal’s first appearance in Paris in 2005, making strong progress since the beginning of the year and marching towards the top-30. Rafa reached the Australian Open fourth round and won two ATP titles on clay in Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco in the following weeks. In Miami, the Spaniard became the second-youngest Masters 1000 finalist and barely missed a chance to beat Roger Federer in the title match. Rafa made a rock-solid start in Monte Carlo, beating Gael Monfils and Xavier Malisse in under two and a half hours to secure a place in the last 16 and stay on the title course. Asked about Roland Garros, Nadal said he can’t wait to play in Paris for the first time, having a packed schedule before Roland Garros and two weeks off before the most critical event of the season.
“I will try to play at Roland Garros for the first time. Before that, I plan to compete in Barcelona, Rome and Hamburg. Will know more about my chances at Roland Garros after that. I think it’s a good schedule, with a couple of weeks off and a possibility to withdraw from some if I play too many matches,” Rafael Nadal said.