Rafael Nadal made his Wimbledon debut in 2003, just after turning 17. The Spaniard advanced into the third round as one of the youngest players in the Open era alongside Boris Becker and Mats Wilander, hoping for more of the same in the years to come.
The Spaniard skipped Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2004 after suffering an ankle injury. He bounced back stronger in 2005 as the top-10 player following titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. In his first appearance in Paris, Rafa secured the first Major title a couple of days after his 19th birthday, becoming the last teenager with a Major crown and turning his focus on Wimbledon.
Alexander Waske took down the youngster in the first round in Halle, and Rafa looked better in London. He ousted Vincent Spadea 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and 31 minutes for a winning start at Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal experienced an early loss at Wimbledon 2005.
In the second round, the Spaniard faced a hard-hitting server Gilles Muller, who bested him 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 28 minutes.
World no. 69 fended off 12 out of 13 break chances to leave Nadal with almost no pace on the return. A player from Luxembourg secured one break in each set he won to move over the top and advance into the last 32. Rafa converted that one break chance in the second set to remain in contention.
Still, he failed to repeat that in the rest of the clash and finished the grass-court swing with only one win on his tally. "Gilles Muller played on a high level today; I had my chances in the first and third sets but couldn't seize them.
Still, he was better than me, and that's why he won. I said the other day it would be difficult to pass a big server, which happened today. I have to improve some elements of my game to win Wimbledon, and I'm working on that.
My serve and volley should work better on grass, and I also need more confidence. I'm tired now, playing many matches in the previous month, with only a few days off. I have to recharge the batteries at home in Mallorca for a week.
After that, I will play Bastad, Stuttgart, Umag, Montreal, Cinncinati and the US Open. I'm ready to play the Davis Cup if the captain invites me," said Rafael Nadal.