Retirement Story – ‘Roger Federer has an amazing career behind him’, says Italian legend
Dealing with injuries, Rafael Nadal won the first ATP title in 2004 and helped Spain claim the Davis Cup crown at the end of the season. The young Spaniard set his sights on even higher goals in 2005, lifting two ATP trophies on clay in February and reaching the first Masters 1000 final in Miami, two points shy of victory against Roger Federer.
The Swiss stole the victory in five sets, but the best was yet to come for an 18-year-old who conquered Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome before Roland Garros. A teenager made a perfect debut on the Parisian clay, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to lift the first Major trophy, becoming world no.3 and gathering momentum ahead of the second part of the year.
The results were not so good on grass, and Nadal returned to his best in Bastad and Stuttgart, adding more trophies to his tally and traveling to Montreal as the top seed, with Roger Federer skipping the sixth Masters 1000 event in the season.
Rafa defeated his good friend Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes in the first round. The youngest Spaniard played against only one break chance, never giving up serve and wasting 13 of 15 break chances to stay on the court much longer than he wanted.
Moya claimed all seven points in the second set tie break, and Nadal had to start all over again in the decider. He took a break to find himself on top, making a winning start as one of the title favourites. After the match, Nadal said that he did not feel pressure like in Paris.
His goal was to just focus on the next match and try to go as deep as possible. It was Nadal’s first ATP tournament played as world no.2.
Adriano Panatta on Roger Federer
In light of his attempted comeback, Panatta disclosed his admiration for Roger Federer in a recent interview with the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Roger is one of the reasons why I continued to love tennis,” Panatta said. “I wish him happy, he has an amazing career behind him and a wonderful family next to him. But there is a time for everything: we have already given up with Serena Williams, I hope not to see a repeat.”
The Italian added further detail and made a comparison between Nick Kyrgios’ actions on the court and one of his own episodes from his playing days. “He is a great talent there is no doubt, but he must understand that disrespecting his opponents is hateful,” Panatta said.
“Once in the Davis Cup I did a service from under Lendl and I regretted it all my life: it is not done. I believe that in the end someone with him will fix things, not on the pitch but in the locker room.”