Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in their first meeting in a Grand Slam at the semifinal of the 2005 French Open. It was the third meeting of their total 40 meetings.
Roger Federer was competing for a career Grand Slam having won two Wimbledon Open titles, and one each of the Australian Open and the US Open.
Nadal entered the French Open with great results on clay that year. He won titles at Sao Paulo, Acapulco, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.
It was Nadal’s 19th birthday when the semifinal was played. Rafael Nadal won the first set of the five-set clash. He won the opening set 6-3. However, it was a rain-delayed match but the determination of the players shifted the momentum in the Swiss’s favour. He won the next set 6-4 and kept his hopes alive.
Nadal went on to win the match and eventually his first Grand Slam title at the French Open. This win marked the first of the four consecutive years that Nadal would defeat Federer in the tournament. Federer was allowed to complete his career Grand Slam much later at the 2009 French Open finals.
“Federer tried to get the chair umpire to stop the match; it was a good sign. He said it was the rain that was getting to him, but I knew it was my game too.”– Rafael Nadal in an interview
“Federer tried to get the chair umpire to stop the match; it was a good sign,” Nadal would later say. “He said it was the rain that was getting to him, but I knew it was my game, too.”— TENNIS (@Tennis) April 20, 2023
For our #KingofClay Countdown, @SteveTignor looks back at Rafa's 2005 win over Roger at RG.
Roger Federer who retired in 2022 with 20 Grand Slams, played Rafael Nadal a total of 40 times in his career. Nadal however leads the head-to-head record with 24 wins.
“Rafael Nadal’s legs aren’t the same but in his head, nothing has changed,” says Toni Nadal
Rafael Nadal recently announced his return to tennis at the Brisbane International. His uncle Toni Nadal believes that his nephew has the same mentality as he always had.
Rafael Nadal was sidelined from action since he suffered an injury at the 2023 Australian Open. He had to withdraw from the French Open for the first time in 19 years and remained out of action for the entire season. During the announcement of his withdrawal, he mentioned that 2024 would be the last year of his career.
His uncle Toni stated in a recent interview that Nadal loves the sport and is determined to grace the court one last time. He acknowledged that Rafael Nadal may not be as fit as he used to be a decade ago, but he is still as determined as ever.
He has the will to still be there, he loves tennis, he loves competition, he loves the game. It’s his dream to play the tournaments he loves one last time. The more he plays, the more competitive he will be. We know that his legs aren’t the same they were 10 years ago, but in his head nothing has changed. He still has the same determination.– Toni Nadal in an interview