In an interview to the Spanish website Ventaje Tenis, former tennis player Sergio Roitman, who achieved a career-high singles ranking at no.
62 in 2007, recounted a funny anecdote about the then 16-year-old Rafael Nadal. It was 2003 and Roitman, who was 24 at that time, had prevailed Nadal, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 in the $50,000 ATP Challenger final in Cherbourg.
'In that final some people of Nike came for the first time to sign a contract. At that time, to me, he didn't seem that great in terms of the game, but mentally yes. It was a very hard match, but in the end I won.
Rafa was devastasted, sad and looked to have hit rock bottom. I came to him while they were preparing for the ceremony and I said: "Rafa keep calm, you are just 16. You played (on) indoor (court) and it was your third final in a row." And he replied: "Another final lost.
I am afraid that Ivan Lendl's syndrome affects me, as he could not win finals."' That year Nadal lost four Challenger finals in total and won two. This is one of the many stories that show the 16-time Grand Slam winner's passion and committment for the game.