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Rafael Nadal-King of Clay

Singles Qualifiers
His Game:2005
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Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is the youngest qualifier for the men’s circuit finale since Andrei Medvedev in 1993.

Nadal has enjoyed a history-making run in 2005, winning eight titles including Roland Garros and back-to-back ATP Masters Series titles in Monte-Carlo and Rome. Indeed, the two Shanghai qualifiers, Federer and Nadal, have shared all five ATP Masters Series titles this year, with Federer winning back-to-back crowns in Indian Wells and Miami and a third title in Hamburg.

Nadal, at 19 years, 1 month and 22 days, is the third teenager in history (since 1973) to reach No. 2 in the INDESIT ATP Entry Ranking. He joins Boris Becker (18 years, 9 mos., 17 days) and Bjorn Borg (18 years, 10 mos., 2 days) as the only teenagers to rank No. 2.

Appearances: qualifying for first time

  • The Spanish sensation captured a teenage record 11 titles, including his first Grand Slam crown and four ATP Masters Series shields while qualifying for his first Tennis Masters Cup
  • His titles won mark broke Mats Wilander's previous teenage record of nine in 1983
  • Became first teenager to qualify for Tennis Masters Cup since Lleyton Hewitt (19) in 2000 and one of three teenagers (Boris Becker, 18, in 1986; Bjorn Borg, 18, in 1975) to rank No. 2 in history of ATP Rankings (since 1973)
  • On course to become first teenager to finish No. 2 since Becker (19) in 1986 and highest year-end ranking ever by a Spaniard
  • Won eight of his 11 titles on clay and compiled an ATP-best 50-2 clay court record, finishing with 36 consecutive match wins on his favorite surface
  • Put together best season on clay since Thomas Muster in 1995 when he went 65-2 and won 11 of 12 titles on clay
  • After beginning first six weeks with a 7-4 record, in February captured back-to-back clay titles in Costa do Sauipe (d. Martin) and Acapulco (d. Montanes) before returning to hard courts in Miami where he reached his first ATP Masters Series final (l. to Federer in five sets)
  • Held a two set lead and came within two points of victory in third set, only to lose 6-1 in fifth set
  • In April, captured his first ATP Masters Series crown in Monte Carlo (d. Coria) and followed with first title in his home country in Barcelona (d. Ferrero), breaking into Top 10 on Apr. 25
  • In May, continued success at ATP Masters Series stop in Rome and outlasted Coria in a five hour and 14 minute marathon (longest final in Open Era) decided in a fifth set tie-break
  • Afterwards improved to No. 5 and made an eventful showing at Roland Garros where he became first player to win French title in his main draw debut since Wilander in 1982
  • Posted wins over No. 1 Federer (SF) and Puerta (F) to become first teenager at 19 years, 2 days to win a Grand Slam title since Pete Sampras captured 1990 US Open
  • Also first teenager to win Roland Garros since 17-year-old Michael Chang in 1989
  • His 24-match winning streak came to an end with 1st RD loss on grass in Halle to Waske then followed with 2nd RD exit at Wimbledon to Muller
  • Returned to clay in July and won back-to-back titles in Bastad (d. Berdych) and Stuttgart (d. Gaudio), reaching No. 2 on July 25…After a two week break came in as top seed at ATP Masters Series Montreal
  • Lost only two sets in six matches en route to his first career hard court title, defeating Agassi in a three-set final
  • Held serve 65 of 67 games, including a personal-best 51 games in a row, during week
  • His 16-match winning streak ended with opening round third set tie-break loss to Berdych in Cincinnati
  • Followed with 3rd RD loss to Blake at US Open and rebounded back with his 10th title in Beijing (d. Coria), winning on his fourth continent
  • In October, captured his first career indoor title at ATP Masters Series Madrid, rallying from a two-sets deficit in final against Ljubicic to win 7-6 in fifth set
  • In a Davis Cup World Group playoff tie, won both of his matches against Italy's Bracciali and Seppi to help his country to a 3-2 victory and back into 2006 World Group

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