After notable progress in 2003, Rafael Nadal was ready for an even stronger attack the following season, reaching the first ATP Finals in Auckland and reaching the third round of the Australian Open. In Miami, the 17-year-old southpaw defeated number one Roger Federer in straight sets and marched into the top-30 before a left ankle injury against Richard Gasquet at Estoril halted his progress.
Missing Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Rafa returned at Bastad in July. After quarterfinals in Sweden and Stuttgart, Rafa suffered early defeats in Canada and Cincinnati, returning to Europe to compete in a small ATP 250 event in Sopot.
The youngster went all the way against opponents from outside the top-80 to claim his first ATP crown as the youngest player since 1998, taking a well-deserved break and returning to the US Open. In the first round in New York, Rafa defeated Switzerland’s Ivo Heuberger in five sets, fighting through sets three and four before claiming victory in the deciding set to set up the clash against world No. 2 and defending champion Andy Roddick.
One of the title favorites proved too strong for the Spaniard, delivering a dominant 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 36 minutes. Despite serving 82%, Nadal couldn’t do anything with his serve, giving up seven times and struggling with his elbow that prevented him from playing at his usual level at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I didn’t feel like I could do my best today; I had a little problem with my elbow. It’s not easy against someone like Roddick without doing your best. I think I didn’t do my best today. ”
Sophie Clermont praises Nadal
The Quebec newspaper interviewed the person in charge of the Montreal tournament players.
As usual, it’s crisp with a few fun little anecdotes. Sophie Clermont, 41, is therefore acting as a super concierge to ensure players are in a real cocoon. Last year it was Giorgi who surprised everyone: “Camila spent her evenings playing backgammon with her volunteer drivers.
She quickly became our favourite.” Sophie also emphasizes two points, the use of the table tennis table: “There is something incredible when two players who normally compete on large courts face off in table tennis.”
And Rafael Nadal’s attitude: “My favorite is Rafael Nadal, he is polite and always comes to greet and news when he arrives.”