Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer stood miles above their rivals in 2005 for the first time during their incredible rivalry. Federer claimed two Major titles to keep the ATP throne, and Nadal followed him after securing the first Major crown at Roland Garros, as the last teenager to achieve that. Both players won 11 ATP titles that year, including three Majors and eight out of nine Masters 1000 events! Federer won 77 matches by Bangkok before spraining his right ankle while practicing on October 11 in Basel and withdrawing from Madrid, Basel and Paris. Nadal wasn’t at his best in the season’s closing stages either, suffering from knee tendonitis and skipping Vienna ahead of the home Masters 1000 event in Madrid. Doing his best to recover, Nadal advanced into the final after beating Victor Hanescu, Tommy Robredo, Radek Stepanek and Robby Ginepri, earning a place in the season’s fifth Masters 1000 title clash!
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both claimed 11 ATP titles in 2005.
In the semis, the Spaniard prevailed over the American Robby Ginepri 7-5, 7-6 in an hour and 41 minutes, playing better when it mattered the most to seal the deal and preserve energy and his knee for the final. Nadal grabbed three breaks and scored nine points more than Ginepri to emerge at the top, gathering energy from the crowd support and securing his 12th ATP final of the season! It was Rafa’s 78th victory in 2005, leaving Roger Federer on 77 to become the Tour leader. The Spaniard was pleased with that number, although he acknowledged that he had more losses than the Swiss. Despite a slight knee pain, Nadal was hoping for another triumph in the big final against Ivan Ljubicic, who beat David Nalbandian in the second semis.
“I have scored 78 victories, one more than Roger Federer, but I also had some defeats. I talked to Roger the other day on the phone, and he told me he would play in Shanghai, which would be good for us all. I asked him how he was feeling with his ankle; he was still wearing crutches, but he hopes to be in Shanghai. Roger and I don’t talk that often; I congratulated him on Wimbledon and the US Open, and we spoke now during the Madrid Masters. We have a good relationship; he is No. 1 and a great person, calm and quiet,” Rafael Nadal said.