Will Rafael Nadal extend his incredible record in 2023?
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 4744
Rafael Nadal is the record-holder with 23 victories over world no. 1. Rafa holds the record after beating the world's best player 18 years after achieving that for the first time. Nadal toppled four consecutive top-10 rivals en route to his 14th Roland Garros crown last year.
Rafa defeated world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final to secure his 23rd win over world no. 1 and increase his incredible streak. Rafa is the only player with 18 years between his first and last triumph over world no. 1, a feat that will take some beating in the future.
The Spaniard will try to improve it in the season ahead of us if he gets a chance to fight against the rival from the top. The 17-year-old Rafa met world no. 1 for the first time in Miami 2004, with the newly-crowned ATP leader Roger Federer standing on the other side of the net on March 28.
Nadal scored a sensational 6-3, 6-3 triumph in swift 70 minutes and became the youngest player to beat world no. 1 since the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990!
Rafael Nadal scored his first win over world no. 1 in 2004 at 17.
Despite the young Spaniard's evident talent and iron will, no one could have predicted this outcome, not against the player who conquered the Australian Open, Dubai and Indian Wells.
A week before, Roger claimed the Indian Wells title and had only a few days to recover physically and prepare for Miami. He felt symptoms of illness and fever and never looked good on the court against Rafa. The Swiss barely survived a challenge from Nikolay Davydenko in the previous round and had nothing left in the tank for the young Spaniard.
Nadal never faced a break point or deuce behind the initial shot. Roger could not follow those numbers in his games, dropping almost 40% of the points and getting broken three times to push a teenager through. Federer had a slim edge in the shortest points up to four strokes (31-27), but everything else was on Nadal's side.
The young gun demolished the opponent in the mid-range rallies from five to eight shots (20-7). He clinched 11 of the longest 16 points to earn one of the most impressive victories before becoming a Major contender in 2005.
Eighteen years later, Rafa was still capable of beating the top-ranked player. His 23rd win over world no. 1 came in the Roland Garros quarter-final after ousting Novak Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 in four hours and 12 minutes.
Nadal played on a high level in sets one and three and did not panic after wasting the advantage in the second and falling 5-2 behind in the fourth. The Spaniard fended off two set points in the fourth set's ninth game and broke back to gain a boost.
The set went into a tie break, and Rafa claimed it 7-4 with a backhand down the line winner that carried him into the last four.