Rafael Nadal’s career is studded with great successes and incredible records: with 19 Slams he is aiming Roger Federer’s record, but the Spaniard has achieved other great goals, such as the twelve triumphs at the Roland Garros and all the titles on clay-courts.
For each season, however, there is a particular goal, an achievement that should be highlighted. 2006 was the year of Rafael Nadal’s consecration. He confirmed his victory at the French Open of the previous season, beating Roger Federer in four sets in the final.
A few weeks later the Swiss Maestro defeated the young Spaniard in the Wimbledon final, sealing what would later be the most important rivalry in the history of modern tennis. A few weeks before the 2006 French Open, Nadal and Federer faced off in the Italian Open final, in Rome.
The ATP Masters 1000 were still played as best-of-five sets, and their final was one of the most beautiful ever played between the Spaniard and the Swiss. Nadal reached the final by beating Moya, Volandri, Henman, Gonzalez and Monfils.
In the final Federer had one of the greatest chances of his career to win Rome, one of the Masters 1000 that is still missing from his collection. It was a balanced, spectacular and exciting final. Nadal won with the final score of 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5), after a memorable battle, played in a fantastic atmosphere and lasting five hours, with Federer wasting a match-point.
“Wimbledon 2008 and Rome 2006 are two of the most painful defeats, where I had two match points, playing for five hours on clay-courts. It would have been nice to beat him in that final, in that magnificent court in Rome,” said Federer in 2017.