Rafael Nadal made his ATP debut two decades ago at home in Mallorca. Rafa claimed his first ATP title in Sopot 2004, remaining competitive ever since and still standing among the world’s best players. The 22-time Major winner played his first notable matches in 2003 and 2004, carving his path towards the top and winning the first Major crown soon after.
Speaking about his early years, Nadal mentioned his notable victory over world no. 2 from the 2004 Davis Cup final in front of the home fans in Seville. Four years after the first, Spain conquered the second Davis Cup title in front of the partisan crowd of 25,000, with the young gun Nadal performing on a very high level.
Carlos Moya sent Spain in front with a commanding triumph over Mardy Fish before an 18-year-old stepped on the court instead of injured Juan Carlos Ferrero. In his fourth Davis Cup singles rubber that year, Nadal prevailed over Roddick 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 in just under three hours and 40 minutes.
Thus, Rafa propelled Spain 2-0 up after the first day and started a massive celebration with his teammates. Roddick gave his best to stay in touch with the young opponent, taking the opening set in the tie break and reaching another in the third.
Carried by the partisan crowd, Rafa claimed it to open two sets to one advantage and sealed the deal with a strong performance in the fourth.
Rafael Nadal defeated world no. 2 Andy Roddick in the Davis Cup final at 18.
“The match against Roddick in the 2004 Davis Cup final is one of those that marked my career, and I will never forget it.
People remember my performance for the freshness and how young I was, but the real architect of the victory was Carlos Moya, who brought us two points. I think I won because the crowd was there to support me; it was essential.
I had some notable matches in every stage of my career, and this is one of them, especially after that injury. I played at a very high level and deserved the triumph after working hard on the practice court. It was a tough year for me, and I’m thrilled with how I performed.
Andy’s serves go 230 km/h; I’m happy with how I returned them, particularly in the most critical moments in the tie breaks. After the match, I did not remember Roddick or McEnroe or anything; all I wanted was to celebrate with my teammates,” Rafael Nadal said.