Nadal made his ATP debut at the tender age of 15 years and 10 months in June of 2002 and celebrated with a victory over Ramon Delgado. He quickly showed glimpses of his talent by winning two ATP Challenger titles in 2003 and rapidly gained access to the top 50 rankings. He reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2003, at his first attempt, and was the youngest player to achieve this feat since Boris Becker in 1984.
If tennis fans were not already aware of Nadal’s quality, he showed it in spectacular fashion during the Miami Masters in 2004 during the first round where he dispatched the world number one player at the time, Roger Federer, in straight sets. He reached the quarterfinals, but lost to Fernando Gonzalez; yet he was one of only six men to defeat Federer that season.
Rise to Prominence
In the 2004 Davis Cup Final, Nadal helped Spain clinch the title with his singles win over the world number two ranked player Andy Roddick and he ended that season ranked just outside of the top 50 and number 51. Little did the world know what was to come. 2005 was Nadal’s breakthrough year, as he reached the final of the Miami Masters and won 24 straight matches on clay. He dominated the French Open and defeated Mariano Puerta in the finals to claim his first ever Grand Slam title at the age of 19. After a surprise setback at Wimbledon, Nadal won two more tournaments and ended 2005 as the world’s number two best player.
Nadal was to win four consecutive French Open titles before he finally won a different Grand Slam tournament. 2008 was a memorable year for the Spaniard, as he added the Wimbledon title and an Olympic gold medal to his by now customary French Open crown. Indeed, 2008 was to see Nadal set a personal record for most consecutive wins with 32 in a row and he ended the season as the world’s number one male player for the first time in his career.
In 2009, he finally claimed a hard court crown at the Australian Open; however, his remarkable 31-game winning streak at the French Open was halted by Robin Soderling. Soderling has the distinction of being the only man to ever beat Nadal in the French Open, as the Spaniard has won the title at Roland Garros every year since. 2010 was possibly the year that gained Nadal immortality, as he completed a Career Grand Slam and became only the second man, Andre Agassi was the first, to win the Golden Grand Slam – all 4 Grand Slams plus an Olympic gold medal. He ended the year with victories at Wimbledon, in the French Open, and at the U.S. Open.
Nadal continued to win throughout 2011 and 2012, but injuries and illness plagued him to the point where he fell out of the top five in early 2013, the first time this had happened since 2005. He came back with another French Open win and recovered from an embarrassing first round loss at Wimbledon to win the U.S. Open and reclaim his number one spot. He began 2014 well; however, the superstar was shocked in the Australian Open final by Stanislas Wawrinka, his first loss to this opponent in 13 matches. However, the brilliant Spaniard looks certain to add more Grand Slams to his collection and many tennis aficionados believe Nadal will win the French Open title in 2014.
The 2014 tennis season has already started in earnest and fans are really looking forward to seeing if anyone can halt the runs of Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. Although it is early in the season, we have already had a Grand Slam as the Australian Open reached its conclusion at the end of January. In this tennis update we review that tournament and look forward to the next big events on the calendar. 2014 Australian Open Review The first Grand Slam of the year took place at Melbourne Park from January 13th through 26th and both the men’s...read more
The 2013 Topshelf Open was played in Rosmalen, Netherlands from 16-22 June and took place on outdoor grass courts. It is currently part of the ATP’s 250 Series and the WTA International Tournaments. While only 2 of the world’s top 20 men were here, #1 seed and world ranked #4 David Ferrer added a bit of star power. In the women’s section, world #11 Roberta Vinci was the top seed, as most of the tour’s elite were focusing on the Wimbledon Championships. Men’s Singles Ferrer didn’t get much of an opportunity to stamp his quality on the event,...read more
The 2013 edition of Wimbledon, one of the four Grand Slam events on the calendar, took place in London, England from June 24th through July 7th. Roger Federer was the defending men’s champion, while Serena Williams was the red hot favorite to retain the women’s title. Meanwhile, Andy Murray of Scotland was the British hopeful and carried the burden of a nation on his shoulders. It was to be two weeks of drama, action, and plenty of surprises along the way. Men’s Singles Although Rafael Nadal is arguably the greatest clay court player of all...read more