Rafael Nadal's best memory - 2004 edition: The first title


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Rafael Nadal's best memory - 2004 edition: The first title

Rafael Nadal's career is studded with great successes and incredible records: with 19 Slams he is aiming to reach, and overcome, Roger Federer's record of 20 Slams but the Spaniard has achieved other great goals, such as the twelve triumphs at the Roland Garros and all titles on clay.

For each season, however, there is a particular goal, an achievement that should be highlighted. 2004 was the first season during which Rafa scored his first real important goal. In mid-August, in Poland, they played the fourth edition of the Orange Warsaw Open, at that time called 2004 Idea Prokom Open.

The tournament lasted from 2001 to 2008: until 2007 they played in Sopot, in 2008 in Warsaw. In 2004 there was also the young Rafael Nadal (he was 18 years old). The Spaniard entered the tournament as world no. 6, despite his young age.

In the first round of the event, he defeated Victor Hanescu in straight sets, while in the second round he eliminated Arnaud Di Pasquale in straight sets. Nadal also won in two sets in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively against Franco Squillari and against his countryman Felix Mantilla.

On August 15th he played his second career final, after the defeat in Auckland, in the same year. In the final Rafa faced the Argentinian José Acasuso, winning in two sets with the final score of 6-3 6-4, not losing even one set during the tournament.

That was his first title on clay: he impressed everyone for the earliness of his talent on that surface. "I remember that victory in a special way; we were hopeful that Rafa could become a good player. It was only the beginning and we didn't expect him to have such a career, but we had the enthusiasm to have a great career," said Toni Nadal, in an interview of 2019.