The ATP Finals returned to Shanghai in 2005, settling in a fantastic Qizhong Tennis Center with a unique magnolia blossom ceiling over the carpeted surface. Rafael Nadal withdrew before the tournament with a left foot injury, and the Argentines were the dominant nation with four players at the elite season-ending event.
Two-time champion Roger Federer fought three of them in four of five meetings, losing to David Nalbandian in a thrilling title fight. Roger wrote ATP Finals history in the semifinal, defeating Gastón Gaudio 6-0, 6-0.
Thus, the Swiss became the first player with a double in the ATP Finals. Like most South Americans, Gaston played some of his best tennis on clay, finishing his career with just 14 ATP wins on the carpet surface. Two of them came that week in Shanghai, taking him to the semifinal and giving him the chance to fight the biggest star in the world.
It was their fifth and final meeting, and Federer emerged victorious in all of them, including two wins on clay. The Swiss dominated from start to finish in the Shanghai clash to destroy his rival and advance to their third straight ATP Finals title match.
One of the reasons for the lackluster performance of the Argentine is that the night before he played a long game against Fernando González. Gaudio fended off three match points in a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory and had nothing left in the tank for the next day’s more formidable opponent.
It could have been a better performance from Roger, making the same number of mistakes as his rival. However, he kept the strings of the match firmly in his hands as a natural attacker and much better mover on that surface.
The Swiss mixed his shots very well, defending his backhand correctly and using the slice to get the Argentine out of ideal position and finish off the points with his perfect volleys.
Federer visited Tokyo
Roger Federer has shed light on the rigors and challenges posed by the intense ATP and WTA tours, highlighting how players are affected mentally more than anything else.
«You’re supposed to show strength. But we’re not machines, we’re human beings. When players retire at a very young age, I totally get it. We see it from time to time. I always feel like it’s such a shame, because they could still happen many things in the future,» Roger Federer said at a recent press conference.
«The tour is hard… the travel, the practice, the jet lag. No one is allowed to say, ‘I’m tired today,’ because it looks like you’re weak, and that’s why players sometimes end up with mental problems «. problems,” he added.