Rafael Nadal has always been a perfectionist, chasing victory regardless of the opponent and the event. However, the youngster was pleased with his game following the 2003 Monte Carlo loss to Guillermo Coria, already scoring two wins before falling to the more experienced Argentine.
Nadal kicked off the 2003 season from just outside the top-200. By the end of March, the 16-year-old reached four Challenger finals, winning the Barletta title and moving closer to a place in the top-100. Rafa qualified for the Monte Carlo main draw, debuting at the Masters 1000 level at such a young age.
Not stopping there, the Spaniard took down Karol Kucera in straight sets in the opening round and set the clash against the reigning Roland Garros winner Albert Costa. Nadal earned his first top-10 victory, outplaying his compatriot and securing a place in the top-100.
Rafael Nadal lost to Guillermo Coria in the 2003 Monte Carlo third round.
Rafa met Guillermo Coria in the third round and experienced a 7-6, 6-2 loss in an hour and 34 minutes. Both players created eight break chances, and Coria played better in the crucial moments.
The Argentine grabbed five breaks and lost serve three times, controlling the pace after a tight opener and moving into the quarter-final. Nadal hit a forehand error at 3-6 in the tie break and fell 5-1 behind in the second set.
He pulled one break back before giving serve again at 3-5 following a poor drop shot that propelled Coria into the last eight. "I'm happy with this tournament despite this loss. I played well today, producing solid tennis and creating opportunities.
Guillermo was physically stronger than me. I have played many matches in the last couple of days, and I must admit I felt a bit tired. My shots were not where I wanted them to be, and Guillermo overpowered me; he deserved the victory.
I defeated Costa yesterday, but that was not possible against Coria. Still, I'm happy with a 7-6, 6-2 loss; that's not bad against such a good player. I will take some rest tomorrow and start preparing for Barcelona. Instead of in Valencia, I will play a Challenger at the end of April in France, with Valencia organizers unable to confirm a wild card for me.
Despite a good result, nothing will change after Monte Carlo; I will continue doing what I have done every day. At events like this, you learn how to play on a high level, and I will try to keep it in the upcoming weeks," Rafael Nadal said.
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