Rafael Nadal was a teenager on a mission in 2005, winning 11 ATP titles in one of the most celebrated seasons for that age group. Debuting at Roland Garros, Nadal claimed the first Major title after beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta, writing history books as the last teenager with a trophy at that level. Nadal saved even better tennis for the Masters 1000 series, reaching the Miami final and winning the first crown on the Monte Carlo premium ATP circuit, backed by another in Rome. After Wimbledon, Rafa won two titles on clay and became world number two heading into Montreal, where he was the top seed in the absence of Roger Federer. Playing at a high level, Rafa broke just once against Carlos Moyá, Ricardo Mello, Sebastien Grosjean and Paul-Henri Mathieu to advance to his fourth Masters 1000 final of the season, facing eight-time Major champion Andre Agassi. The youngster beats Experience in the title clash as Nadal scored a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win in one hour and 58 minutes to lift the third Masters 1000 trophy of the season and become the first teenager with nine ATP titles in a single season since Mats Wilander in 1983! Nadal broke just once in set number two, starting again in the decider to beat the crowd favorite with three service breaks. They had a similar number of winners and Agassi made too many unforced errors. Rafa had a slight advantage in the longest exchanges against one of the best point guards in history, scoring ten more points in the shorter range to forge the win.
Nadal recalls the 2013 Roland Garros
With his recovery from a foot injury gathering speed, Rafael Nadal has officially announced that he will play at the Abu Dhabi exhibition next month. “It [mental strength] is a very important aspect and more [so] in a sport like tennis,” Nadal said. “It is vital to have a base from a young age. People tell me that I am very strong mentally, but I also suffer, like everyone else and I see it very black [sometimes]. But the essence of sport is that despite seeing something [as] almost impossible, you can [still] achieve it.” Elaborating on the instances that have truly tested his mental capacities, the 35-year-old recalled the 2013 Roland Garros semifinal against Novak Djokovic. “I think my biggest comeback was at Roland Garros in 2013, in the semifinals against Djokovic, when I was losing 4-2 in the fifth set and ended up winning the miracle match,” Nadal said. “Because of [this I realized] mental strength is the most important.”