Rafael Nadal became the young man to watch in 2003 and 2004, just playing youth tournaments and focusing on his professional career. The Spaniard surpassed the top 50 at 17 and remained in that position in late 2004 after a pair of injuries that halted his progress. In addition to notable runs in the ATP and Challengers events, Rafa made a name for himself on March 28, 2004, when he beat no. 1, Roger Federer, 6-3, 6-3 in Miami! At 17 years and nine months, Nadal beat the world’s leading player in 70 minutes, becoming the youngest player to win over No. 1 since the formation of the ATP Tour 14 years earlier. Rafa’s coach, Francisco Roig, described the victory as fundamental, giving the young man a boost in the face of the next confrontations against the rivals from above. Only a few could have predicted this outcome, even after learning that Roger was not in the prime of him, winning the title at Indian Wells a week earlier and fighting in the previous match against Nikolay Davydenko as well. It was an incredible performance from the young man, who served 81% and never faced a deuce or a break point in his games! Federer was miles away from those numbers, playing seven break opportunities and suffering three breaks to propel Rafa to the last 16. Federer had 16 serve winners, but that wasn’t enough to keep him safe, with Nadal taking advantage of rallies and pushing the opponent’s backhand to the limit. Rafa had a 14-11 winners advantage from the court, hitting with more range than his opponent, who only had two winners off to his right. The Swiss made 17 unforced errors, 12 from his most reliable wing, while Nadal stayed at 14, mainly thanks to his backhand.
Federer is a terrible cook
Roger Federer was recently interviewed by Schweizer Illustrierte on the occasion of his 40th birthday. The Swiss spoke at length on a host of topics, including his birthday celebrations and his post-retirement plans. “Oh, there may be more than you might think,” Federer said. “Of course, I have experienced a lot through tennis, seen a lot. But now I would somehow like to press the repeat button and experience everything again without the stress, without all the obligations of a player. Federer also revealed that he wants to master a new instrument, possibly the saxophone. He is also hoping to learn to ski and scuba dive despite being a “bit of a scaredy-cat”. “I would like to learn a new instrument again. I played a little piano, now I would like to play the saxophone,” he said. “I also want to learn how to ski in deep snow. I never could, and then I stopped 12 years ago when I had mononucleosis. Now I want to seriously try again. I’d also like to try my hand at snowboarding. I love scuba diving. But to be honest: I’m a bit of a scaredy cat.” The Swiss said he helps his family by doing other household chores such as cleaning and washing. “I can’t cook at all,” Federer said. “I’ve probably had too many women around me in my entire life: my mother and Mirka cooked for me. So I took on other jobs at home: uncovering, cleaning up, washing up. If I cook anyway, our twins laugh at me.”