‘Rafael Nadal wanted to be number 1 already at 16,’ says his former rival

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Roberto Menéndez is a retired Spanish player who was active between 1998 and 2018. Roberto never competed on the ATP Tour and only featured in ten Challenger matches. He spent his entire career on the Futures circuit and played in nearly 200 games at that level.

As of 2018, Menendez was still active as a professional, as well as winning the 38th Senior Junior World Singles Championship title in Miami in October. In his interview for the ITF website, Menendez spoke about his tennis journey and his willingness to compete at that age.

Furthermore, the Spanish veteran mentioned the match against 22-time Major champion Rafael Nadal at the Spain F20 Futures in 2002. The 16-year-old beat him 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round before winning four more wins en route to the title.

It was Nadal’s first full season on the Futures circuit. He fought much more experienced opponents and finished on a high note after winning six titles in less than five months! The super-talented Spaniard was already ranked in the top 200 at the end of 2002, and he was hungry for more in the year that followed.

Menendez shared his memories about Nadal, saying that Rafa wanted to be number one in the world. 1 even at such a young age. At 16, Rafa was determined to fulfill his dreams and rule the world of tennis, which he did less than six years later!

Roberto Menéndez spoke about Rafael Nadal, 16 years old.

Nadal was ready to show his potential on the ATP Tour in 2003. He won 14 matches and reached the third round in Monte Carlo, Hamburg and Wimbledon, followed by the Umag semi-final.

The youngster claimed two Challenger titles and finished the season inside the top 50. Two years later, Rafa became world number one. 2 after his first Major crown at Roland Garros and four Masters 1000 shields with his name. The Spaniard was improving his game regularly and took the ATP throne from Roger Federer in August 2008.

Two decades after his professional debut, Nadal is still among the best players in the world, finishing the season in the top 2 after two major titles in the season behind us. «I lost to Rafa 6-4 in the third set. We did a funny interview on Spanish TV with Rafa about seven years ago because they wanted to talk to two current No.

1 in the world. When Rafa was 16 years old, he told me that he would not like to be a top 10 player but only number 1. He was sure of his future, his abilities and his goals, ”said Roberto Menéndez.

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