When 17-year-old Rafael Nadal sat in Roger Federer's box



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When 17-year-old Rafael Nadal sat in Roger Federer's box

In March 2004, the 17-year-old Rafael Nadal stunned the newly-promoted world no. 1 Roger Federer in straight sets in Miami, showing his full potential and catching the eyes of the entire tennis world. Still, their first official match on the Tour came a week earlier at the season's opening Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells.

Nadal and Tommy Robredo defeated Federer and Yves Allegro in three sets to reach the quarter-final, with future legends and fearsome rivals exchanging nice words at the net and in the locker room. One thing led to another, and Roger invited Rafa to attend his quarter-final singles match against Juan Ignacio Chela.

The Spaniard was more than willing to accept that, joining Mirka in Roger's box and acknowledging the Swiss' performance after he toppled the Argentine 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and three minutes.

Rafael Nadal sat alongside Mirka during Roger's 2004 Indian Wells match.

Federer lost serve once and stole almost 60% of the return points, breaking Chela five times from nine chances to control the scoreboard and race into the last four for the first time in the desert.

They exchanged breaks in the early stage of the clash, and Roger grabbed another in the fifth game following a forehand error from Juan Ignacio. The world's leading player fired a return winner for another break at 5-2 that sealed the set for him.

The Wimbledon and Australian Open champion scored another break in the second set's second game, controlling the scoreboard and racing into a 5-0 advantage. Federer moved over the top with a hold at 15 in game seven to book a place into the semis, staying on the course for the first Indian Wells title that he would claim over Tim Henman.

Getting some first-row tips, Nadal knew how to challenge tired and exhausted Federer in Miami, ousting him 6-3, 6-3 in 70 minutes to kick off one of the greatest rivalries in the sport with a well-deserved victory, as he did in the doubles in Indian Wells.

The young Spaniard became the youngest player to beat world no. 1 since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990, holding everything under control in his games to keep the pressure on the other side. Serving at 81%, Rafa never experienced deuce or a break point in his games, delivering three breaks that carried him over the top and into the last 16 on his Miami debut.