Rafael Nadal made the Wimbledon debut right after turning 17 in 2003, reaching the third round as one of the youngest players in the Open era. The Spaniard had to skip Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2004 due to an ankle injury and bounced back stronger in 2005.
In his first appearance in Paris, Rafa went all the way to claim the first Major title a couple of days after the 19th birthday, standing as the last teenager with the trophy at that level and hoping for a good Wimbledon run.
Rafa took down Vincent Spadea 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and 31 minutes in the first round at the All England Club, dropping 16 points in 12 service games and fending off the only break chance. The pressure was on Spadea, and he could not endure it, giving away almost half of the points in his games and suffering six breaks from 12 opportunities offered to Nadal.
Playing better as the match progressed, Rafa grabbed three breaks in sets one and two to forge the advantage and settle into a fine rhythm. The youngster saved the best for the last and sealed the deal with a bagel in the third set to advance into the second round.
Rafael Nadal made a winning start at Wimbledon 2005, saying he could not win title.
"I felt great on the court today, playing a good match as my serve worked like a charm. My forehand is not always right on the grass, but I had no problems with it.
The encounter was a bit easier than I expected, and that's helpful in the first round. After winning Roland Garros, I had solid practice runs during the last four days on grass, which makes me confident. I passed the first round, but I can not win the tournament this year.
Still, I have proven I can play well on this surface, which is important for the future. I have to improve some elements in my game, and the results at Wimbledon should come. There are many players better than me on the grass at the moment - Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Tim Henman, among others.
Every match is difficult, especially against a great server. I'm always saying that Wimbledon is a special tournament for me, despite only one Spaniard winning it in the past. I love playing on grass, and I want to improve my game as much as possible.
There are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and it's difficult to adapt. It was important for me to play in Halle and feel the grass before heading to London," Rafael Nadal said.