2005: The beginning of the Nadal era

It was the first time that he was playing the French Open, and yet he went on to win the whole thing. Though he was only 19 years old at the time, Rafael Nadal came into the tournament as the favourite, having won in Monte Carlo and Rome. Despite his lack of experience, he lived up to his fledgling reputation and won his first Grand Slam at a canter. Nadal dropped only two sets all fortnight: one to Sebastien Grosjean in the fourth round and a second to surprise package Mariano Puerta in the final. The Argentinean, ranked No.37 in the world, would go on to be banned for drug-taking just a few months later.

Defending champion Gaston Gaudio meanwhile fell in the fourth round to Spaniard David Ferrer (2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4), having thrown away a 4-0 lead in the final set…

Former women's champion Justine Henin suffered no such misfortune. Having arrived injured and left early after a second-round defeat in 2004, the Belgian won her second Roland Garros title, though she still had to save a match point against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round (7-6, 4-6, 7-5). This was thus the second year in a row that the Russian was one point away from eliminating the eventual winner of the tournament, only to fail to put her away…

Having survived this scare, Henin went from strength to strength and dropped just 13 more games in the remaining three matches. Mary Pierce was her opponent in the final, after the Frenchwoman had knocked out world No.1 Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-2 in the Round of 16. Pierce was never in with a shout of winning a second French Open title however, succumbing to a quick-fire 6-1, 6-1 defeat.

Justine Henin (BEL) def. Mary Pierce (FRA) 6-1, 6-1

Rafael Nadal (ESP) def. Mariano Puerta (ARG) 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5