‘It’s always amazing to watch Rafael Nadal play’

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In February 2005, Rafael Nadal faced Ricardo Mello for two and a half hours on his way to the Costa do Sauipe title. Half a year later, the Spaniard would lose three games to the Brazilian in the second round of the Canada Masters in Montreal to secure a place in the third round.

A lot had happened between those two meetings, with Nadal becoming one of the best players in the world after a fantastic run in his first notable season. In February, Rafa won two ATP titles on clay before reaching the final in Miami and winning the first Monte Carlo Masters 1000.

The youngster conquered Barcelona and Rome in the following weeks and had a perfect debut at Roland Garros, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to lift his first Major trophy. Rafa did not play well on grass, losing early in Halle and Wimbledon to run out of steam.


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