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Rafael Nadal, 17, writes document books on Wimbledon debut

On this day: Rafael Nadal, 17, writes record books on Wimbledon debut

Whereas the opposite gamers of his era had been getting ready themselves for the junior season, the 16-year-old Rafael Nadal had extra critical enterprise to do in the beginning of 2003. The upcoming teenager reached the ultimate of Hamburg Challenger to crack the top-200 and continued his unimaginable journey in direction of the very high of males’s tennis.

The extraordinary teenager scored 19 Challenger wins within the season’s first three months to seek out himself contained in the top-150 earlier than incomes 5 ATP wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Hamburg to introduce himself to the tennis world.

Rafa needed to miss Roland Garros resulting from an elbow harm and was able to play at his finest once more at Wimbledon, simply after turning 17. Battling on the skilled circuit since 2001, Nadal had performed solely two junior tournaments in his profession, and a kind of got here at Wimbledon 2002 when he reached the semi-final, dropping to Lamine Ouahab in straight units.

Twelve months later, the Spaniard was able to make his skilled debut on grass, taking part in his first match on the sacred courts on the All England Membership on June 23 in opposition to Mario Ancic. Rafa defeated the hard-hitting Croat 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in three hours and 4 minutes to develop into the third-youngest participant within the Open period with a win at Wimbledon after Boris Becker and Mats Wilander!

Rafael Nadal reached the third spherical on his Wimbledon debut in 2003.

Rafa had simply two aces, however he knew what he needed to do in opposition to the participant who toppled Roger Federer a yr earlier, serving at 75% and profitable 42% of the return factors to interrupt Mario 5 occasions from 16 alternatives.

The Croat created 14 break possibilities and transformed solely three, not sufficient for a extra favorable end result as he propelled the Spaniard into the second spherical. Rafa performed in opposition to the nameless Briton Lee Childs and notched a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 triumph in simply over two hours to develop into the youngest participant within the Wimbledon third spherical since Boris Becker in 1985!

Nadal was the dominant determine on the return once more, taking 44% of the factors in Childs’ video games and dealing with solely 4 break factors, dropping serve twice and incomes six breaks to seek out himself within the final 32. World no. 11 Paradorn Srichaphan proved to be too sturdy for the teenager, ending Nadal’s dream run with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win in underneath two hours.

Srichaphan misplaced serve twice and broke Rafa six occasions from 15 alternatives to enter the final 16. It was a beautiful week for the Spanish teenager, and he would trip on that wave for the remainder of the season, ending contained in the top-50 and setting eyes on even larger targets in 2004, nonetheless at 17.

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