Rafael Nadal was the youngster on a mission in early 2003 when, at the age of 16, he reached four Challenger finals and won a title to move closer to a place in the top 100. Nadal made his Masters 1000 debut as a Monte Carlo qualifier and proved it to its full potential, edging out Karol Kucera in the first round before defeating reigning Roland Garros winner Albert Costa in the second round to earn the first top- 10 win to achieve.
and a spot in the round of 16. There, Rafa faced Guillermo Coria and put up a good fight in the opener before the Argentine went on to deliver a 7-6, 6-2 win in an hour and 34 minutes. Both players created eight break chances, Coria converted five of them.
Guillermo broke three times and controlled the pace after that tight first set, which he claimed after Nadal’s forehand error at 6-3 in the tiebreak. Rafa was down 5-1 in the second set and grabbed a break before returning to serve in the next game after a poor low shot propelled Coria into the last eight.
Despite the loss, the youngster was happy with his performance this week, feeling a bit tired but wanting to continue with good results. “I’m happy with this tournament and how I played today despite the loss as I played solid tennis and created chances.
Guillermo was physically stronger than me. He had played a lot of matches in the last few days and I was a bit tired, I have to admit. My shots weren’t where I wanted them to be and Guillermo dominated me; he deserved the win.”
Rafa Nadal has returned to training
In his book Rafael Nadal: My Story, Nadal explained in detail why he preferred his left hand to his right in tennis. He said: “I’ve seen reports in the news media that Toni forced me to play with my left hand and that he did it because it would be more difficult to play against me.
Well it’s not true. It’s a story made up by the newspapers. The truth is that I started playing when I was very little and because I wasn’t strong enough to hit the ball over the net, I used both hands to hold the racquet, both forehand and mid the backhand.”
He further added: “Then one day my uncle said: ‘There are no professional players who play with two hands and we won’t be first, so you have to change.’ I did, and for me it came naturally was was to play with the left hand.
I can’t say why. Because I write with my right hand, and when I play basketball or golf or darts, I play with my right hand. But in football I play with my left hand; my left foot is much stronger than my right.”