The two times Wimbledon champion was very close to sealing a Calendar Grand Slam this season.
Rafael Nadal has won the majority of his titles on clay, although his first ATP final came in Auckland 2004 at the age of 17, losing to Dominik Hrbaty in a tight third set. Twelve months later, the young Spaniard advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open, pushing Lleyton Hewitt to the limits in five sets and shining on clay in February to win titles in Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco.
In 2004, Rafa stunned Roger Federer in Miami and had another great run in Florida in 2005, beating five players to earn a place in the final, his first in the Masters 1000 series and the most notable on hard courts of his young career.
In the semi-final clash, Nadal toppled Spaniard David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 31 minutes, avenging a tough loss to David in Stuttgart last summer and advancing to his third ATP final overall. However, Nadal became the second youngest Masters 1000 finalist after Michael Chang, hoping to win the first title at the premium ATP level.
Rafa served at 69% and lost 17 points in nine service games, facing two break chances and giving serve away once to keep the pressure on the other side of the net. David failed to hit behind his initial shot, holding just fine twice and getting broken four times out of six chances offered to Nadal to end his run in the semis.
Both players made more unforced errors than the winners and the younger Spaniard controlled his shots more efficiently, dictating pace from the baseline with his deep, accurate groundstrokes and counting numerous errors from his opponent to seal the deal.
with style. Nadal had a loose service game, but that didn’t cost him much, as he carved out a huge lead in the opener, dropping five points throughout the second set in his games to sail to the finish line.
Rafa Nadal is a 22 Grand Slam champion
Rafael Nadal turned pro in the year 2001 with his mind already in the league of the legendary players.
The 16-year-old entered the ATP with strong will power and a well-crafted list of ambitions. As he said, “Well, I guess it would be to go as far as I can, to become a great tennis player. I just have to keep working hard every day.
I know it won’t be easy”. Thereafter, he added, “There’s so much high-level competition out there. Normally, when I play in tournaments because I’m younger than everyone else, I always think they must be much better than me.
But then you get on the court and because I’m a fighter and I really hate losing, things tend to level out”. The Spanish young blood staying true to his claims bagged his first ever Grand Slam trophy within four years of his debut.