Throwback to the young Rafa Nadal who came up against a dogged Lleyton Hewitt

Rafael Nadal, as we all know, made his Roland Garros debut in 2005 and won the tournament just a few days after turning 19.

At the age of 18, Nadal won his first ATP title in Sopot, Poland, and went on to finish the season where he began it.

Rafa was unable to create an impression on the ATP ranking list for the first time.

The main reason for this is because he missed three months between April and July due to an ankle injury sustained in Estoril, causing him to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon, as well as a chance to make his debut in Paris for the second year in a row.

In 2003, the Spaniard climbed 150 positions in the ATP rankings by winning his first Masters 1000 and Major titles, as well as two Challenger titles in six finals, to reach the top 50.

Despite missing Roland Garros owing to an elbow injury, the youngster returned to Wimbledon and became one of the youngest players to reach the third round in the tournament’s history.

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Rafael Nadal. Source:

Rafa had a strong showing at the Australian Open and the US Open in 2004, and he was looking for more of the same the next season, dreaming of making his debut in Paris, ready to take on the best on the favoured surface.

Nadal had advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open four and a half months prior, defeating Julien Benneteau, Mikhail Youzhny, and Bobby Reynolds.

The teenager gave it his all against Lleyton Hewitt, who defeated him for the second year in a row in Melbourne.

After three hours and 53 minutes, the Australian won. Staying focused in the fourth set and dominating the decider to keep his title hopes alive.

Rafael Nadal made his Roland Garros debut in 2005

Hewitt won just two games more than Rafael Nadal, who had a huge edge in sets two and three, dominating serve and return and just losing a chance to oust the world no.3 with a chance to win the match.

Rafa took five breaks, and Lleyton responded with six return games. Playing his greatest tennis in the fourth set tie break. He had no space for errors, and then riding that momentum into the decider to beat a teenager.

Nadal said after the match that he performed well despite the loss. He hopes to finish in the top 20 or top 15 for the rest of the season and make his Roland Garros debut.

“My mission is to finally play at the French Open and crack the top-20 or top-15 this season,” Rafael Nadal said at the time, as per reports on Tennis Freaks.

Read More: Rafael Nadal explains how Novak Djokovic is ‘a perfect tennis player’

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