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Rafael Nadal’s best memory – 2006 edition: The epic Rome final vs Roger Federer

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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.

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‘Novak Djokovic has a big chance to get back in the Grand Slam race,’ says analyst

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The Australian Open will provide Novak Djokovic with ‘a big chance’ to get him back into the Grand Slam race, says Radmilo Armenulić.

The world number one lost ground to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros earlier this month with the Spaniard beating him in the final to win his 20th Grand Slam and draw him level with Roger Federer on the all-time list.

Djokovic, by comparison, is on 17, but he has a supreme record in Melbourne, and former Serbia Davis Cup captain Armenulić has warned against writing him off just yet.

“There are many stories that the Grand Slam will not be played in Australia, which is Novak’s great chance for a new, 18th Grand Slam title, which would completely return him to the race,” Armenulić told alo.rs.

“If the tournament still takes place, which we all hope, the least Novak will do is settle with Federer in terms of the number of weeks at the top of the ATP list.

“Nole is already warming up for such a scenario, I see that he will play in Vienna, win that tournament and calmly wait for the end of the season.

“I am sure that Novak has already recovered from the crisis, while Nadal will only be able to endanger him at the Masters in Paris.”

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