For Rafael Nadal, like many other players, Wimbledon is a special event with its tradition, grass surface, and everything surrounding it. The Spaniard feels honored for winning two Wimbledon crowns in 2008 and 2010, embracing thrilling encounters against his greatest rivals at the All England Club over the years and always giving his best, even in toughest losses.
While the other players of his generation were focused on their junior results, the 16-year-old Rafael Nadal had more serious plans at the beginning of 2003. The upcoming youngster reached the final of Hamburg Challenger to crack the top-200 and continued his incredible journey towards the very top of men's tennis.
The extraordinary teenager scored 19 Challenger wins in the season's first three months to find himself inside the top-150 and earned five ATP wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Hamburg to make a name for himself. Battling on the professional circuit since 2001, Nadal had played only two ITF U18 junior tournaments.
One of those came at Wimbledon 2002 when he reached the semi-final, losing to Lamine Ouahab in straight sets. Twelve months later, the Spaniard was ready to make his professional debut on grass, playing his first match at the sacred courts at the All England Club on June 23 against Mario Ancic.
Rafa defeated the Croat 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in three hours and four minutes to become the third-youngest player in the Open era with a Wimbledon triumph after Boris Becker and Mats Wilander.
Rafael Nadal made Wimbledon debut in 2003 and won two titles in 2008 and 2010.
Nadal did not need too much time to become the title contender, reaching the final in 2006 and 2007 and losing them to Roger Federer.
Two rivals met in another title match in 2008, and Rafa prevailed 9-7 in the decider just before the darkness to claim his first Wimbledon crown at 22. Two years later, Nadal returned to the All England Club and regained the trophy after beating Tomas Berdych in the final.
The Spaniard lost his fifth and last Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic in 2011, never returning to the title match at the most prestigious Major despite rock-solid attempts in a previous couple of years. In 2019, Rafa lost to Roger Federer in the semis and withdrew from this year's edition due to an injury.
"Each tournament has its unique charm. Wimbledon is different because of its tradition and everything. Grass surface automatically makes everything a more beautiful experience. The Central Court is a special one in the world of tennis and sport in general.
It was a privilege when I played there for the first time, and it is a pleasure every time you go to compete there. I was always very excited about winning Wimbledon one day, and I am lucky to have won it twice," Rafael Nadal said.