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Friday, November 28, 2008

2008 ~ A YEAR FOR TENNIS HISTORY AND NADAL PLAYED HIS PART

www.tennistalk.com ~ The_Nadal_story_part_1: A_humble_upbringing

www.tennistalk.com ~ The_Nadal_story_part: 2 2003 ~_Rafa_blows_up

The Nadal story part 3: 2004 ~ Nadal's breakout year

www.tennistalk.com ~ The_Nadal_story_part_3: 2004 ~ Nadal's_breakout_year

November 28, 2008 By Jonathan Morgan

- Many consider 2004 to be Rafa's coming of age year, which saw him in his first ATP final, his first Davis Cup appearance, his first ATP title, and of course, his first victory over Roger Federer

2004 was the year that Nadal became a mainstream name in the tennis world. Before that, people knew who he was and what he was capable of doing, but no one figured it would be this quickly. At just 17, Nadal opened the year with a first round loss in Chennai in singles. However, he made a run to the title in doubles with Tommy Robredo, giving him momentum for the next week; a finals run in Auckland. It was Rafa's first ATP final, and he lost 7-5 in a heartbreaking third set to Dominik Hrbaty.

At the Australian Open, Rafael was becoming more and more of a mainstay of the tour. He wasn't quite ready to break through, but people were certainly talking about him. He met up with Lleyton Hewitt in the third round in a match that definitely brought him to the forefront of the tennis world. After shocking Hewitt all match with an array of fantastic shots, young Rafa couldn't put it together at the end of sets. Hewitt won the match in straights, with 2 tiebreak wins, very similar to the El Aynaoui match at the US Open. Like his jump from challengers to the ATP level events, Rafa was just not there yet.

He got his very first Davis Cup invitation shortly after that, as the Spaniards opened their campaign against the Czechs in the Czech Republic. Young Rafa, after losing the opening rubber in Jiri Novak, was able to defeat Radek Stepanek on a quick indoor court in an away tie in a live 5th rubber. Talk about pressure. And Nadal did it in straights. Jubilation ensued, as Nadal's career looked to be on incredible upswing that everyone was anxious to see would take him.

After a few ho-hum weeks in Milan, Dubai, and Indian Wells, Nadal came into Miami in 2004 looking very hungry. In fact, it was at this tournament that the Tennis Channel did a No Strings show on Rafael. Nadal came into this event barely seeded at #32, the lowest. This created an unfavorable draw for Rafael, as he had to face top seed and top ranked player in the world, Roger Federer. Federer was at the start of his fantastic reign at the top of the tennis world, and had just come off a victory in Indian Wells the week prior. They met up in the third round and Nadal destroyed him. Federer just didn't know what to do with the kid's game as it was so unlike anyone's he had ever seen. Granted, Federer did appear to be sick and reports at the time were saying as much, but it was Federer that actually predicted after that loss that it would be Nadal that would succeed him at the top of the tennis game within 3 years.

He wasn't off by much. Although he lost in the next round to Gonzalez, yet another statement was made. This kid is for real.

Nadal's next event changed the course of his career. A quarterfinal matchup with fellow extremely talented teenager Richard Gasquet in the Estoril event in mid April 2004 turned out to be more than either man bargained for. Nadal won the first set and lost the second, but in the course of the match, he hurt his ankle. Rafa fought back hard to win the third set, but had to withdraw from his semifinal match. Nadal missed the next few months of the tour, including both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, due to that left ankle stress fracture.

Nadal returned in July of that year in the Bastad event and put up a decent result in his first event back. A few wins and a healthy Nadal took some steps that summer to win his first ATP title of his career. After a few trans-Atlantic flights and a nice battle against Hewitt in Canada, Nadal returned to Europe for the event in Sopot, Poland in August. He romped through that draw, winning all 5 matches in straight sets and taking his first career title. After his injury, his ranking had slipped to 71, but this title shot it back up to 48.

Two weeks later, at the US Open, he won his first 5 setter against Ivo Heuberger before taking on World #2 Andy Roddick in a night match. Roddick demolished him, proving that Rafael was continually making strides but he wasn't quite ready to play with the big boys yet. At just 18, though, he was making good time.

Like in 2003, his post US Open run was marred with losses. After a Davis Cup singles victory over Arnaud Clement, Spain was into the finals to play against the USA in December. Nadal's fall that season was disappointing, as he put up a 2-4 record before the Davis Cup final. All was forgiven, however, when the Davis Cup final was underway in Seville in early December.

Carlos Moya opened the tie with a solid win over Mardy Fish to give the Spaniards a 1-0 lead. Surprisingly, Rafael was given the nod to take on Andy Roddick in the second rubber, as opposed to Juan Carlos Ferrero, who had won the French Open just the year before. The decision turned out to be a fantastic one. Many people point to this match when they talk about Nadal turning from a boy to a man. Even Roddick years later remarked that he awoke a sleeping giant in this match.

Clay of course, was never Roddick's favorite surface, but he has the serve and the tenacity of winning to get the job done on any surface you throw at him. Roddick took the first set in an epic 8-6 tiebreak before Nadal bounced back to take the second easily, 6-2. Things were looking up for the Spaniard as Rafa was looking more and more comortable as the set wore on. The third set tiebreaker was crucial. Nadal scrapped and took it 8-6, setting off insane cheers from the Spanish as Nadal took a 2 set to 1 lead. Roddick looked deflated in the 4th as Nadal took it 6-2. Moya took out Roddick in the 4th rubber to seal the deal as the Spaniards and Nadal took the Davis Cup title.

Nadal ended 2004 ranked 51, 2 spots down from his 03 year end rank of 49. Needless to say, though, his 2004 was much more successful and career alterting than 2003. He entered 2005 with his confidence soaring high and ready to explode.

www.tennistalk.com ~ The_Nadal_story_part_4: 2005-2006 ~ A_developing_star

www.tennistalk.com ~ The_Nadal_story_part_5: 2007-present ~ World_Superstar


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IKER CASILLAS -VS- RAFA NADAL

www.rafaelnadal.com

November 28th

Iker Casillas and Rafa Nadal might play different sports but there is no doubting that their hearts both lie in the same place when it comes to football.

The tennis world No.1 is a staunch Real Madrid fan, as is Casillas, and when the two met today to discuss a charity event they are arranging, they couldn't resist talking about the upcoming clash with Barcelona.

"Rafa and I are both convinced that we will win 1-0 in the Camp Nou," Casillas told AS.The event is called 'Friends of Iker vs Friends of Rafa - To free the world of malaria' and will involve both tennis and football, and as an extra treat, a bit of karting action.

All the players have not yet been confirmed but F1 driver Fernando Alonso will definitely be taking part and Casillas and Nadal could not resist taking pops at the other today.

"Rafa has a good pair of feet but he does not have the vision," quipped the Real Madrid goalkeeper before Nadal responded with: "Iker could do with some tennis lessons, I would even give them for free if he wanted.

"The event will take place three days after the clash in the Camp Nou on the 16 December and tickets will be between €6-10.

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Federer and Nadal set for Qatar

For Every Roger Federer the World Needs a Rafael Nadal

2008: Prince Rafa detrhroned King Roger


Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero congratulates the winners of the Davis Cup after the Final Match Argentina Vs Spain Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso. 3rd Time Spain wins the Copa Davis but first time in foreign country.
(Photo by Photo Agency)
Source of pictures (17): Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez and Spanish Davis Cup 2008 Team

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero congratulates the winners of the Davis Cup after the Final Match Argentina Vs Spain Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso. 3rd Time Spain wins the Copa Davis but first time in foreign country.
(Photo by Photo Agency)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero congratulates the winners of the Davis Cup after the Final Match Argentina Vs Spain Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso. 3rd Time Spain wins the Copa Davis but first time in foreign country.
(Photo by Photo Agency)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero congratulates the winners of the Davis Cup after the Final Match Argentina Vs Spain Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso. 3rd Time Spain wins the Copa Davis but first time in foreign country.
(Photo by Photo Agency)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero congratulates the winners of the Davis Cup after the Final Match Argentina Vs Spain Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso. 3rd Time Spain wins the Copa Davis but first time in foreign country.
(Photo by Photo Agency)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero congratulates the winners of the Davis Cup after the Final Match Argentina Vs Spain Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso. 3rd Time Spain wins the Copa Davis but first time in foreign country.
(Photo by Photo Agency)


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Photo credit: Photo by Photo Agency

Nadal and media hail their heroes ~ Article

Video links:
Nadal and Feliciano speak on the telephone with sound delay issues ~ Spain to Argentina

Rafa congratulates the spanish team ~ This is in Spanish

Fernando Verdasco who made the 3 against 1 victory over Argentina
in Davis Cup Final 2008

Verdasco: "Struggles whole life for this " and Lopez, Ferrer and Captain Emilio Sánchez Vicario ~ interviewed after Davis Cup 08 win in Argentina

Rafa off the court ~ mostly
Uploaded by
niinzniinz



This is a promo photo for Nadal’s upcoming duel against Real Madrid goalie Iker Casillas. The charity event for malaria, which takes place on December 16, will involve football, tennis and go karting.
Source: rafael-nadal-has-shrunk

www.rafaelnadal.com

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