Rafael Nadal Recalls: 'I Will Always Remember It'

‘I will always remember it’

Rafael Nadal played his first Masters 1000 final in Miami 2005 at the age of 18. Thus, the Spaniard became the second youngest Masters 1000 finalist after Michael Chang. After two titles on clay, the Spaniard arrived in Miami and carried that momentum to the hard courts, advancing to the biggest title match of his young career.

Rafa played at a high level for two and a half sets against world no. 1 Roger Federer to open a huge gap and be two points from the title. Still, Federer survived the third set and dominated the fourth and fifth to cross the finish line first and leave Nadal with the runner-up reward.

Playing in Valencia the following week, Rafa lost in the quarterfinals and took a few days off ahead of Monte Carlo. Nadal returned to the Principality for the first time since 2003 when he reached the third round at age 16 in his Masters 1000 debut.

Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse and Olivier Rochus did not stand a chance against the Spaniard. The young gun put in another terrific performance to oust defending Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio 6-3, 6-0 for a place in the last four.

Rafa had to work harder to defeat Richard Gasquet 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 after a set and a break down. He erased that deficit and reached the second consecutive Masters 1000 final in a month, facing defending champion Guillermo Coria.

Rafael Nadal claimed the first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo 2005.

After three hours and nine minutes, Nadal prevailed 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 to become the second-youngest Masters 1000 champion at 18 years and ten months.

The Spaniard held the upper hand in sets one and two to carve out a massive lead. He dictated the rallies with his forehand and held strong on the return to get closer to the finish line. Coria rallied in set number three to deliver a bagel and erased a 4-1 deficit in set number four before Nadal prevailed in the closing stages to emerge on top.

Rafa saved 11 of 16 break chances to limit the damage in his games and converted seven breaks of 20 chances that led him to the trophy. Thrilled by the victory, Nadal said that he would never forget his first notable title, though he still had to work hard on improvements to further improve his game.

“I will always remember my first big title, but I still have to improve my shots and tennis in general; that’s my goal, especially my serve, slice and volleys. Today I had a few serves and volleys, trying to get to the net. , which is a lottery, since Coria never fails», said Rafael Nadal.

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