Rafael Nadal Recalls His First Notable Event: 'I Proved Myself'

Rafael Nadal recalls his first notable event: ‘I proved myself’


Since his first professional match, Rafael Nadal was among the youngsters to beat. Rafa made great progress up the ATP Rankings list in 2002 and 2003, breaking into the top 50 and heading higher in 2004. For the first time in his career, Nadal failed to advance up the ATP Rankings list despite winning his first ATP title in Sopot in August.

Struggling with injuries and lack of form in the latter part of the season, Rafa scored a great goal at the end of 2004 and became the Davis Cup champion with Spain. Getting a boost before 2005, a teenager was eager to show off his best tennis and challenge opponents from above.

The young Spaniard advanced to the second week in Melbourne, losing to Lleyton Hewitt in five sets. Rafa made a long trip to the other part of the world and won titles in Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco to find himself at the gates of the top-30 ahead of Miami.

Nadal became the second-youngest Masters 1000 finalist in Florida, blowing a huge lead against Roger Federer and losing in five sets despite coming within two points of beating world no. 1 in straight sets for the second year in a row!

Rafael Nadal made his Monte Carlo debut in 2003 at the age of 16, winning two matches.

Expecting more of the same in Monte Carlo, Nadal ousted Gael Monfils in the first match and played even better against Belgium’s Xavier Malisse in the second.

Rafa scored a 6-0, 6-3 triumph in one hour and two minutes to advance to the round of 16. Mastering serve and return, Nadal dropped nine points in his games and converted four breaks from as many chances to seal the deal in no time. weather. After the match, Rafa recalled his first appearance in the Principality in 2003 at the age of 16.

He qualified for the main draw and beat Karol Kucera and reigning Roland Garros champion Albert Costa in straight sets to advance to the round of 16 in his Masters 1000 debut. Those wins gave him a lot of confidence and showed he could compete. at the highest level despite his young age and lack of experience.

«I have very good memories of Monte Carlo. It was my first notable tournament and I played well. I qualified for the main draw and beat Karol Kucera and Albert Costa. I will never forget that, but I have to improve and get further away from it.» third round.

Before Monte Carlo 2003, I played in two Challenger finals, won the title in Barletta and headed into Monte Carlo with confidence. I won two matches there and showed that I could compete against the rivals on the ATP Tour,» Rafael Nadal said.

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