Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the game
With 19 Grand Slam titles to his name,Rafael Nadal has proved himself to be one of the greatest the game has ever produced.
The Spaniard has had many ups and downs in his career since entering into the big stage as a teenager has seen it all. Known as an excellent fighter and hard worker, Nadal has always been the same.
The 32-year-old’s rise to stardom has not been easy with injuries hampering his career in between.
However, he still managed to evade them and is one of the best in the world playing at the highest level. Meanwhile, let’s have a look at some of the memorable photos from the past of a young Rafael Nadal, which tells us that he was a true talent right from the beginning.
1. Ninth man in the Open era to win an ATP game before turning 16 years of age
At 15 years and 10 months and ranked 762, Nadal became the ninth man in the Open era to win an ATP match before his 16th birthday in April 2002.
Having received a wild-card, he beat World No.88 Ramon Delgado in straight sets at the tournament in Mallorca before losing in the next round to Olivier Rochus. This result moved him to 588 in the world rankings.
2. Enters top-100 rankings
At 16, young Nadal burst into the scene by qualifying for the 2003 Monte Carlo Masters, where he beat the 2002 French Open champion, Albert Costa, in the second round.
Teenager Nadal’s victory over Costa helped him enter the world’s top-100 rankings. The determination and drive could be seen on his face, something we are used to these days.
3. ATP Newcomer of the Year
By August 2003, Nadal had entered the top-50 rankings and was named ATP Newcomer of the Year. He ended the year on a high note, ranked 49th, and aged 17.
His major achievements that year include reaching the third round of Wimbledon, US Open second round, and winning the Challenger series at Barletta.
4. Defeats World No.1 Roger Federer in their debut encounter
In his first-ever meeting with the then-World No.1 Roger Federer in March 2004, Nadal gave the world a glimpse of his potential by defeating the Swiss maestro.
Nadal, who was ranked 34th defeated the Swiss star 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the Miami Masters back then to announce his arrival as one of the biggest upcoming names in the world of tennis.
5. Winning the 2004 Davis Cup
Aged just 18, Nadal was part of the Spanish national side that won the Davis Cup defeating USA in the final of 2004.
Nadal joined the likes of fellow Spaniards Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Robredo, and Carlos Moya to become the youngest Davis Cup winner in the history of the competition.
All these photos of a young Nadal highlight he was going to be a star, and the Spaniard has proved it.
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