In the 2005 end-of-year standings, Spain had four players in the top 20, led by 19-year-old Rafael Nadal. After two notable seasons in 2003 and 2004, Nadal showed his true colors in 2005, winning 11 ATP titles to follow Roger Federer’s numbers and finishing within the top 2, just behind the Swiss. The teenager won 79 of 89 games that year and played no fewer than 15 quarter-finals of 21 tournaments! A few days after his 19th birthday, Rafa claimed the first Major crown at Roland Garros and added four Masters 1000 trophies to his account to complete one of the best teen seasons in tennis history. After losing in the third round of the US Open, Nadal won the title in Beijing and led his country against Italy in the Davis Cup. The young man had to withdraw from Vienna due to knee problems, and there was a big question mark about his participation in the Madrid Masters. Nadal confirmed that he struggled with knee tendonitis at the pre-event press conference, had an MRI scan and was still preparing to compete in front of home fans. Eager to compete in his prime in front of local fans, Rafa defeated Victor Hanescu and Tommy Robredo (another year-end top 20 player) to find himself in the quarterfinals at the penultimate Masters 1000 event of the season. Nadal stole Robredo’s serve four times to control the score and advance to the round of 16. With no knee pain, Nadal pushed hard from start to finish to secure the 76th win of the season and stay on course for the title.
Clerc reflects on the Big 3
Novak Djokovic triumphed over Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final in four sets to win his sixth crown at the All England Club and 20th Major overall. The Serb is now level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the Grand Slam leaderboard. Jose Luis Clerc recently weighed in on the GOAT debate, claiming that Djokovic is the most likely of the Big 3 to add multiple Slams to his tally. “The best is going to be the one with the most Grand Slam tournaments won,” Clerc was quoted as telling ESPN by Punto de Break. “At Wimbledon, we were all waiting for Djokovic to be consecrated so that the Big 3 are on par with 20 titles. I don’t think Roger will get another Slam, possibly Rafa yes, but the one with the best chances (of winning) three or four more is Djokovic,” he added. Jose Luis Clerc hailed Djokovic for his ability to thrive under pressure. The Argentine pointed out that yoga and visualization were the keys to the Serb’s success. “Faced with adversity is when he plays best. He does a lot of yoga and visualization work, a fact that is fundamental for a sport as individual as tennis,” Clerc said. “Every day I understand it more. What the three of them do is historic, but history will mark Novak Djokovic.”