Rafael Nadal made Wimbledon debut just after turning 17 in 2003, reaching the third round as one of the youngest players in the Open era. The Spaniard had to skip Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2003 due to an ankle injury, bouncing back stronger in 2005.
In his first appearance in Paris, Rafa went all the way to claim the first Major title a couple of days after the 19th birthday, standing as the last teenager with the trophy at that level and hoping for a good run at Wimbledon too.
In the first round, Rafa took down Vincent Spadea 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and 31 minutes, dropping 16 points in 12 service games and fending off the only break point. The pressure was on Spadea and he couldn't endure it, giving away almost half of the points in his games and suffering six breaks from 12 opportunities offered to Nadal.
Playing better and better as the match progressed, Rafa grabbed three breaks in sets one and two, saving the best for the last and sealing the deal with a bagel in the third set to advance into the next round.
"I felt great on the court today, playing a good match as my serve worked like a charm.
My forehand is not always right on grass but had no problems with it either.
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 during the last four days on grass, making me confident. I passed the first round but I can't 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 at the moment - Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Tim Henman, and not only them.
Every match is difficult, especially against a great server. I know Andy Murray for four or five years. I'm glad he won his first match here; he is young and has big potential; with further improvements, he should reach the top-10.
I'm always saying that Wimbledon is a special tournament for me, despite the fact only one Spaniard had won it in the past. I love to play on grass and I want to improve my game as much as possible. There are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon and it's not easy to adapt. It was important for me to play in Halle and feel the grass before heading to London," Rafael Nadal said.