Rafael Nadal: ‘Roger Federer threw racquet, and I think I had him’

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer met twice in a row in Miami in 2004 and 2005, with the Spaniard stunning world no. 1 in the first match and building a massive advantage in the second. Nadal advanced to his first Masters 1000 final in Miami 2005 after beating David Ferrer, facing Federer and seeking the first notable title of his career. A teenager built a 6-2, 7-6, 4-1 advantage and moved just two games from his first Masters 1000 trophy at 18. Still, Federer turned the tables and used everything from his arsenal to prevail 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes of a titanic battle! Like in 2004, Nadal made a furious start and left world no. 1 far behind in the opener with a strong performance on serve and return.

The Spaniard won the second set in the tie break and looked good to seal the deal and celebrate a massive trophy. Down and beaten, Federer fell 4-1 behind in the third set and struggled to follow the youngster’s pace, throwing his racquet in anger and knocking on the exit door. The Swiss started with a marvelous comeback in the second part of the third set, standing two points away from the defeat in the tenth game and the tie break before taking it 7-5 for a massive boost. Rafa led 5-3 in the tie break and served, only to drop the following four points and experience a blow. 

Rafael Nadal squandered a massive advantage against Roger Federer in Miami 2005.

Out of a sudden, Federer became the leader of the pack, raising his level on serve and return to take the fourth set 6-3 and earn a massive boost ahead of the decider. After squandering his opportunities, the youngster had nothing more left in the tank in the fifth set and won only four games in sets four and five to propel Federer towards his first “Sunshine Double.” 

“I’m happy with the way I played; I’m improving. I led two sets to love and was 4-1 up in the third, with that wrong call from the umpire in the eighth game, as Federer’s forehand landed long. I’m satisfied with my tennis but not with the outcome. I lost my power in sets for and five after playing with high confidence in the third, standing so close to the finish line. Still, he showed why he is world no. 1, performing better in the crucial moments and marching towards the win with an early break in the decider. I was surprised to see Federer throwing his racquet, and I thought I was close to victory at that moment. Roger is the player who goes for the shots and makes mistakes; still, when it matters the most, he would find his best shots,” Rafael Nadal said.