Rafael Nadal celebrates the 15th anniversary of his first Monte Carlo Masters Sunday, a victory which triggered a breakthrough season a maiden Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros and put the Spaniard on the way to becoming one of the greatest sports players.
Nadal was just 18 when he beat Guillermo Coria in 2005 Monte Carlo final.
Two years earlier he had given tennis a glimpse of the future when, at 16, he stunned French champion Albert Costa Open on the famous red clay on the shores of the Mediterranean
the triumph of 2005 was one of 11 titles Nadal captured this year -. eight of them on clay at Costa do Sauipe, Acapulco, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, the French Open, Bastadand Stuttgart.
He also proved he was not slow court b. Ully, the end of the year with difficult legal victories in Canada, Beijing and Madrid
This success is also reflected in the ranking
At the end of 2004 it was 51. fast forward 12 months and it was the world number two.
Among his 85 career trophies mails, 11 have come to Monte Carlo, including a 2005 eight consecutive record in 2012 and three others between 2016-18.
in 76 matches at the event, he lost only five times.
Despite his first win in Monte Carlo, however, Nadal does not sound confident about his chances at Roland Garros later this season.
“no, no. I’m not a favorite, no.It is my first Roland Garros, “the teenager told reporters staggered English, a language he gradually mastered thanks to the lessons of” 20 minutes 30 minutes “every day.
“I’m playing well now, but I do not know at the French Open if I play well or I’m playing bad. “
He need not have worried.
A few weeks later, in Paris, Nadal beat Roger Federer in the semifinals and now forgotten Mariano Puerta in the final, coming from a low game.
Eleven other Roland Garros crowns following a letter from the grand Slam of 19, just one behind Federer’s record of 20.
If it had been a long wrestling career with wrist and knee problems – which prevented him from bornegg majors – this figure would probably have been even more impressive
the current crisis coronavirus stole Nadal a chance to win a 12th title Monte Carlo
However, the break gave his rivals .. time to Reflect on 15 years at the top with 209 weeks as world number one spot from Nadal.
He has not left the top 10 since the Monte Carlo in 2005.
“He obviously has the mentality of a champion, he has managed to produce over the years on all surfaces, the way he bounced many injuries “, said World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
has mental giant and a physical giant” [ 123]
Djokovic holds a narrow 29-26 career edge over the Spaniard.
But Nadal is 24-16 against Federer and 17-7 “Big Four” of Andy Murray, the other members of the
“resilience, intensity he brings. – when sees jump around before you walk on the court already intimidates you a mental giant and a physical giant “, added the Serbian.
” I would say, always, Rafa was mentally stronger, “said the Briton.
” Even when he was 18, 19 years, which is so rare for guys to come through. This is normally the part that is the longest. “