After considerable progress in 2003, Rafael Nadal was ready for an even stronger charge in the following season, reaching the first ATP final in Auckland and advancing to the third round of the Australian Open. In Miami, the 17-year-old southpaw defeated number one Roger Federer in straight sets, marching into the top-30 before a left ankle injury against Richard Gasquet in Estoril halted his progress.
Rafa had to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon, returning in July in Bastad. After quarter-finals in Sweden and Stuttgart, Rafa experienced early losses in Canada and Cincinnati and returned to Europe to take part in a small ATP 250 event in Sopot.
The youngster went all the way against opponents from outside the top-80 to lift his first ATP crown as the youngest player since 1998, taking a well-earned break and returning to the US Open. In the first round in New York, Rafa defeated Switzerland’s Ivo Heuberger in five sets, battling through sets three and four before claiming victory in the decider to set up the clash against world no.2 and defending champion Andy Roddick.
One of the title favorites proved too strong for the Spaniard, scoring a dominant 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 36 minutes. Despite serving at 82%, Nadal couldn’t do anything with his serve, giving up serve seven times and dealing with his elbow that prevented him from playing at his usual level at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I didn’t feel like I could serve my best today; I had a little problem with my elbow. Against someone like Roddick, it’s not easy without giving your best. I think I didn’t play my best today.”
Sophie Clermont praises Rafael Nadal
The Quebec newspaper went to question the person in charge of the players of the Montreal tournament.
As usual, it’s crisp with a few fun little anecdotes. Sophie Clermont, 41, therefore officiates as a super concierge so that the players are in a real cocoon. Last year, it was Giorgi who surprised everyone: “Camila spent her evenings playing backgammon with her volunteer drivers.
As a result, she quickly became our darling.” Sophie also insists on two points, the use of the ping‐pong table: “There is something incredible to see two players who normally compete on large grounds face each other in table tennis”.
And the attitude of Rafael Nadal: “My favorite is Rafael Nadal, he is courteous and he always comes to greet and take news when he arrives.”