Rafael Nadal made his Wimbledon debut just after turning 17 in 2003, reaching the third round as one of the youngest players in the Open era. The Spaniard skipped Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2004 due to an ankle injury and bounced back stronger a year later.
In his first appearance in Paris, Rafa went all the way to claim the first Major title a couple of days after his 19th birthday, standing as the last teenager with the trophy at that level. Nadal wished for a similar run at Wimbledon, and he made a winning start after beating Vincent Spadea 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and 31 minutes.
Rafa dropped 16 points in 12 service games and kept the pressure on the other side after fending off the only break point he faced. Spadea could not match that level, losing almost half of the points behind the initial shot and experiencing six breaks from 12 opportunities offered to Nadal.
Playing better as the match progressed, Rafa grabbed three breaks in sets one and two and saved his best tennis for the third to seal the deal with a bagel and advance into the next round.
Rafael Nadal made a winning start at Wimbledon 2005.
"I felt great on the court today.
I played a good match, and my serve worked like a charm. My forehand is not always right on 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 on grass during the last four days, making me confident.
I have passed the first round but 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 grass - Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Tim Henman and others. Every match is difficult, especially against a great server. I'm always saying that Wimbledon is a special tournament for me, despite the fact only one Spaniard has won it in the past.
I love playing on grass and want to improve my game as much as possible. There are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and adapting is not easy. It was important for me to play in Halle and feel the grass before heading to London," Rafael Nadal said.