'11-year-old Rafael Nadal lost a set against me,' Andy Roddick jokes

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'11-year-old Rafael Nadal lost a set against me,' Andy Roddick jokes

Instead of competing in the Itf junior events as his coevals, Rafael Nadal had other plans in 2003. The young Spaniard started his pro career in 2001, and he needed only a couple of years to show his full potential. Rafa claimed two Challenger titles from six finals in 2003 and gained 150 positions on the ATP ranking list to crack the top-50 at 17!

Nadal scored four Masters 1000 wins in Monte Carlo and Hamburg and became one of the youngest players in the Wimbledon third round. A teenager was ready to attack higher ranking positions in the following season, reaching the first ATP final in Auckland and toppling world no.

1 Roger Federer in Miami. His progress was halted after an ankle injury in Estoril in April, and he stayed away from the court until July. Rafa needed some time to regain his form despite claiming the first ATP title in Sopot in August.

The youngster got the opportunity to play against France in the Davis Cup semi-final in Alicante in September. He defeated Arnaud Clement in straight sets and hoped to be in the squad for the final in Seville versus the USA.

Four years after the first, Spain conquered the second Davis Cup title in front of the partisan crowd of 25,000, with Nadal performing on a very high level to oust world no. 2 Andy Roddick in the second rubber.

Andy Roddick shared thoughts about 2004 Davis Cup clash vs.

young Rafael Nadal.

Carlos Moya sent Spain in front with a commanding triumph over Mardy Fish before an 18-year-old Nadal stepped on the court next instead of an injured Juan Carlos Ferrero. In his fourth Davis Cup singles rubber that year, Nadal prevailed over Roddick 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 in just under three hours and 40 minutes.

A teenager propelled his country 2-0 up after the first day and started a massive celebration with his teammates. Roddick gave his best to stay in touch with the young opponent, taking the opening set in the tie break and reaching another one in the third.

Carried by the partisan crowd, Rafa claimed the second and fourth sets in style and prevailed in that third set tie break to secure the victory and move his country closer to the finish line. Speaking about the match almost 16 years later, while watching it on the ITF Youtube channel, Roddick joked it is evidence that he won a set against Nadal on clay and gave confidence to the 11-year-old to chase 19 Major crowns.

"Proof that I won a set against Rafael Nadal on clay. He was 11 years old, and there was not much else to celebrate over the next three sets, but those seem like unimportant details from where I sit. If anything, I just gave him the confidence to win 19 Majors," Andy Roddick said.

Rafael Nadal Andy Roddick Davis Cup