Loading...

One of the most legendary rivalries in the history of tennis is that of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. They have crossed paths in competition a total of 40 times, with a balance of 24 victories to the Spaniard and 16 to the Swiss. But, do you remember the first time these two giants of the game clashed on a tennis court in singles? To find it you have to go back to 28 March 2004, when the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami brought them together in the first round.

 

The match only lasted 70 minutes, time during which Rafa strung together two consecutive sets (6-3, 6-3) to bring an abrupt end to a 12-win streak and become the second man that season –along with the then No. 10 Tim Henman- to break through the Swiss wall in the 25 matches he had played until that point. “I was very worried about him beating me 6-1, 6-1 or 6-1, 6-2, but I really wanted to play this match against the world number one”, recognised the Balearic Islander at the time. “I went out onto the court with a positive attitude, not with an attitude of trying to win the match. I’m really happy because I played one of the best matches of my career”.

 

The Spaniard was practically flawless on his serve (81% on first serves) and gave his opponent no chances to break while taking advantage of 3 of the 7 opportunities he enjoyed himself. “I was impressed with what I saw”, confessed Federer realising that in Key Biscayne he had met a player that would cause him plenty more problems in the future. However, the Swiss did not try to hide the fact that the victory was no surprise. “I’ve heard a lot about him and I’ve seen some of his matches”, he said after their first duel. “I don’t think it’s a big surprise to anyone”.

 

It was the twelfth defeat that Federer had suffered in his career at the hands of a Spanish opponent and now eight had beaten him: Joan Balcells, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sergi Bruguera, Álex Corretja, Francisco Clavet, Albert Costa, Félix Mantilla and Nadal himself. “I’m very happy because I played one of the best matches of my life. Obviously he didn’t play his best tennis and that’s why I was able to beat him”, explained a 17-year-old Rafa. “If he’d played his best tennis, I wouldn’t have had a chance. But that’s what happens in tennis. If a player like me plays very, very well and a top player like Roger doesn’t play his best, you can win. I’m very, very happy”.

 

The Manacor native could never have imagined that that match would not just be one of many in his career, but the first in a legendary series. “I’ve only played at Wimbledon, where I reached the third round and in the US Open where I played in the second round. Then, in Australia I lost to Hewitt in three sets. I need to play in Paris, where I’ve never been. There it’s different, because they are clay courts, but I think that physically I’m not such a limited player”, he said in an attempt to define himself after that famous result.

 

At the time, Nadal tried to take importance away from it. Was his telephone overloaded with messages? “I don’t think so because it’s four in the morning in Spain and everyone is sleeping”, came his answer. “Tomorrow, the newspapers won’t include news of it, but maybe online and on Teletext... Then, I’ll start to get calls”.

 

That first singles match (the previous week they had met in a doubles tie at Indian Wells) provided the foundations for a rivalry that is remarkable not only for their talent and passion, but also for their camaraderie, sportsmanship and respect. Twelve years after that match, Roger Federer was the man chosen by Rafa to officially open his Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar.

Prenota

[booking-slider-mask:popup, ]

Método exclusivode entrenamiento
Trainning físicoPersonalizado
Entrenamiento mentalalto rendimiento