My first time watching Nadal live

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Deleted member 77403

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This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
 

uscwang

Hall of Fame

This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
Do you see that in any of the current young players?
 

Knightrider

Hall of Fame

This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
I've heard many say that unless you see Nadal in front of your eyes you just won't realise how much work there is on his balls.

Did you feel any of that, how far away from the action were you?
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.

This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
Those commentators are incredibly annoying.
 

Raining hopes

Hall of Fame
It's weird seeing the graphics and the courts of that time and the whole feel. I don't think I was regularly watching tennis around this time but I remember the setting.

They changed the colour in 2005 I think and Arthur Ashe started to feel a bit different in around early 2010s
 

MeatTornado

Legend
It's weird seeing the graphics and the courts of that time and the whole feel. I don't think I was regularly watching tennis around this time but I remember the setting.

They changed the colour in 2005 I think and Arthur Ashe started to feel a bit different in around early 2010s
Ashe feels like it's already lived 3 lives.

The original green fast court that I associate with Sampras and Agassi.

The slightly slowed down blue court that Federer dominated.

And now the roof era, which completely changed the vibe of the place due to the changed acoustics.
 

rommil

Legend
First time I saw him was at 2004 US Open, in the old grandstand court. I remember hearing a whistling sound from his racket when he swung his racket( must be those old whistling Babolat dampeners)
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
Did you ever become a Nadal fan after you first saw him and, if so, at what point did you dump him for Djokovic? :cool:
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
I've heard many say that unless you see Nadal in front of your eyes you just won't realise how much work there is on his balls.

Did you feel any of that, how far away from the action were you?
I was quite close to the court. And yes, you can see the incredible work he had on the ball, but during this match, it wasn't as much as it would be later on. This is early aggressive Nadal, who was flattening out a lot of his shots, so you got a good mix of spin, but massive cuts at the ball also.

Did you ever become a Nadal fan after you first saw him and, if so, at what point did you dump him for Djokovic? :cool:
I was cheering him on here, I liked him when I first saw him and I was his fan. I didn't become a Djokovic fan until Jan 2007.

@Hitman
Was Nadal shorter back then btw?
I wouldn't say he was that much shorter, but he wasn't the height he is now.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I was quite close to the court. And yes, you can see the incredible work he had on the ball, but during this match, it wasn't as much as it would be later on. This is early aggressive Nadal, who was flattening out a lot of his shots, so you got a good mix of spin, but massive cuts at the ball also.



I was cheering him on here, I liked him when I first saw him and I was his fan. I didn't become a Djokovic fan until Jan 2007.



I wouldn't say he was that much shorter, but he wasn't the height he is now.
His opponent is listed as 6'4", so Nadal was not too much shorter than he is now. I'd guess he grew another inch. At this point he had just turned 17, and he was a big kid even then. You can see it. It makes me sad to see him back then. Today, with digital TV and modern coverage, a kid like that would be hyped incredibly, much more (I think) then was true back then.
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
His opponent is listed as 6'4", so Nadal was not too much shorter than he is now. I'd guess he grew another inch. At this point he had just turned 17, and he was a big kid even then. You can see it. It makes me sad to see him back then. Today, with digital TV and modern coverage, a kid like that would be hyped incredibly, much more (I think) then was true back then.
Yes, spot on.
 
Multi time slam champion, and world number one.
I don't generally doubt what you post on this forum...
But here I'd like to reask it to you... Its denis shapovalov we're talking about, are you predicting him to be a multi slam champ and world no.1??
Don't take it as offense, but this may as well be the 1st time your prediction may turn out to be completely wrong. The guy shapovalov is an error machine..

Though, personally I'd love your prediction to be turned out true....
Tennis really needs aesthetically pleasing playstyles
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
I don't generally doubt what you post on this forum...
But here I'd like to reask it to you... Its denis shapovalov we're talking about, are you predicting him to be a multi slam champ and world no.1??
Don't take it as offense, but this may as well be the 1st time your prediction may turn out to be completely wrong. The guy shapovalov is an error machine..

Though, personally I'd love your prediction to be turned out true....
Tennis really needs aesthetically pleasing playstyles
Yes, I predict Shapovalov to be a multi slam champ and reach world number one.

And no offense taken.
 
Yes, I predict Shapovalov to be a multi slam champ and reach world number one.

And no offense taken.
I hope you're right, and also glad to know that you still have expectations from the kid. I have totally given up on shapovalov though.....
Also nice to know that you did not take offense, because in today's e-world,.... you know what I am talking about.....right!!??
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
@Hitman tell us about the first time you watched Fedr
The first time I saw Federer live was at RG in 2000 when he played a favorite of mine Alex Corretja. I was fan of Alex not because of his clay court pedigree, it was because of that iconic match he had with Sampras in 96 at the USO. That match made me have a new level of respect for Alex, because as badly as I wanted Sampras to win that day, him being sick on the court, Alex played his part also. I felt it is a shame he never got to win RG at least once, I rated him personally over Costa, who won it in 2002, but Alex couldn't get over the mark.

Now, going back to Federer, I had already seen him play, but really went that day to see Alex at the time, hoping he could win RG that year. I was very surprised with Federer's game, I seriously wasn't expecting him to keep at it so close in a couple of those sets, and I believe he had set point in a set also, but still lost in three. Everyone felt Corretja had beaten a very talented and quite possibly at the time, a grand slam winner, no one was thinking grand slam numbers the way we do now. His game was still developing though, but his forehand was immense, he was punishing Alex with it. I also remember Federer had the magic back then also, where I think he was down BP and Corretja lobs him at the net, Federer chases it down and hits a tweener, and then proceeds to take over the point with his forehand.
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
Great post @Hitman . I never became aware of Nadal really till he won RG the first time, not having access to anything other than Wimbledon and RG on TV as a kid.

Interesting you could tell then he would be a great player one day. What was it that made you think that, as opposed to a lot of youngsters who show promise, but mount to nothing?
 

TheMaestro1990

Hall of Fame
The first time I saw Federer live was at RG in 2000 when he played a favorite of mine Alex Corretja. I was fan of Alex not because of his clay court pedigree, it was because of that iconic match he had with Sampras in 96 at the USO. That match made me have a new level of respect for Alex, because as badly as I wanted Sampras to win that day, him being sick on the court, Alex played his part also. I felt it is a shame he never got to win RG at least once, I rated him personally over Costa, who won it in 2002, but Alex couldn't get over the mark.

Now, going back to Federer, I had already seen him play, but really went that day to see Alex at the time, hoping he could win RG that year. I was very surprised with Federer's game, I seriously wasn't expecting him to keep at it so close in a couple of those sets, and I believe he had set point in a set also, but still lost in three. Everyone felt Corretja had beaten a very talented and quite possibly at the time, a grand slam winner, no one was thinking grand slam numbers the way we do now. His game was still developing though, but his forehand was immense, he was punishing Alex with it. I also remember Federer had the magic back then also, where I think he was down BP and Corretja lobs him at the net, Federer chases it down and hits a tweener, and then proceeds to take over the point with his forehand.
Wow, great story! I wish I get to see him once.
 
Of course.
Well, I didn't have a chance to watch him playing personally until 2014 shanghai masters...
I was on a business tour to the city, and on as there was day off, I had already booked tickets and luckily, I gotta see Fed vs RBA match... The guy looked completely different to me than what he was used to look on TV. I felt that its not like fed doesn't have work hard or sweat to win. Though I am a fed fan, I really felt for RBA that day, the poor guy was already being pummeled and the Chinese crowd, well, as usual contained 99% maestronians. Tried to have conversation with some english speaking local fans there, only things I hear was "he's the greatest player" or "he plays very good tennis" or "he's handsome (lol)"... Some of them really didn't even know what's a FH and how's a smash different from serve...
Man, that experience was extremely lovely for me, as for the 1st time I had seen fedr winning a match right next to my eyes, and in the same tournament I also met djoker during one of his practice sessions.... He's a very humble and friendly person...
The most memorable experience of my tennis life till now
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
If I may ask, Why so??
He had a mindset of an offensive player, went for his shots and was an aggressive returner who was waiting for the serves close or on the line, especially the second serve and didn't hesitate to hit a high risky return.
After 2004, he (or his team) decided to go with a more conservative approach that I never liked.
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
Great post @Hitman . I never became aware of Nadal really till he won RG the first time, not having access to anything other than Wimbledon and RG on TV as a kid.

Interesting you could tell then he would be a great player one day. What was it that made you think that, as opposed to a lot of youngsters who show promise, but mount to nothing?
His will to win.

When you can feel the fighting spirit of another person, it means they have something very special in them. Watching Nadal in that match, I could see just how badly he wanted it, it didn't matter if he was the small dog in that fight at the time, he was relishing being out there. And you couldn't take your eyes off of him. I was fully behind him at the time, and thought maybe after Pete retired this was going to be my guy.

He had a mindset of an offensive player, went for his shots and was an aggressive returner who was waiting for the serves close or on the line, especially the second serve and didn't hesitate to hit a high risky return.
After 2004, he (or his team) decided to go with a more conservative approach that I never liked.
Exactly, and after 2004, it all changed. I will just say that it wasn't what I personally liked, and didn't understand at the time why such a player who really was getting poised to be this aggressive player would do a 180 on it. I know now of course such a way allowed him to be the dominant clay player he was, but I argue that he could have done just as well on the other surfaces, had he kept on this original path...we will never know for sure.
 

clayqueen

G.O.A.T.
Today, with digital TV and modern coverage, a kid like that would be hyped incredibly, much more (I think) then was true back then.
Rafa wasn't hyped then because they had already crowned Fedr the GOAT and they didn't want anyone to overshadow him. Today, they are desperate to replicate the BIG 4 era as that's coming to an end and there will be a sudden drop in interest without anything like it to follow so every other NextGen is over-hyped. At nearly 24, which Kyrgios is now, Rafa and Djoker had achieved far more than any player before them but Kyrgios is sold as the greatest thing since sliced bread.
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Rafa wasn't hyped then because they had already crowned Fedr the GOAT and they didn't want anyone to overshadow him. Today, they are desperate to replicate the BIG 4 era as that's coming to an end and there will be a sudden drop in interest without anything like it to follow so every other NextGen is over-hyped. At nearly 24, which Kyrgios is now, Rafa and Djoker had achieved far more than any player before them but Kyrgios is sold as the greatest thing since sliced bread.
At the point of this match, Federer was not crowned the GOAT. He was one of a few players that were making the move. Sampras was the GOAT back at USO 2003, they had ceremony for his retirement there that year, and were calling him the GOAT. The Federer GOAT talk didn't really start until USO 2004, after that final.
 

clayqueen

G.O.A.T.
At the point of this match, Federer was not crowned the GOAT. He was one of a few players that were making the move. Sampras was the GOAT back at USO 2003, they had ceremony for his retirement there that year, and were calling him the GOAT. The Federer GOAT talk didn't really start until USO 2004, after that final.
But they've persisted with it even though Fedr's GOAT reign ended when Rafa and Djoker arrived. I stopped watching tennis avidly towards the tail-end of Sampras/Agassi era because neither of them appealed to me. Then they started going on about a guy called Federer who was the favourite for everything, I couldn't see what the fuss was about so I just switched off for a while. The first time I saw Rafa was in 2005, can't really remember which tournament but I decided to watch tennis when I ill with flu and there was nothing else to watch. That's when I discovered Rafael Nadal. You can say, my life has revolved around tennis ever since.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster

This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
Interesting that at the very start he wasn't wearing his sleeveless shirts and famous pirate pants. I wonder when they first made an appearance?
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Interesting that at the very start he wasn't wearing his sleeveless shirts and famous pirate pants. I wonder when they first made an appearance?
The sleeveless look started around the time of Miami 04, when he played Federer.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame

This was the first time I saw Nadal live in person, I often talk about this match, but wanted to share with those that haven't seen it. Worth watching if you have time. This was at the USO in 2003, I had seen Nadal play a few times on TV at this point, but got to see this insanely talented prodigy for the time in person during this match. The fight he was showing in this match was really good, and even though it was over in straights, it was a very hard fought battle against a player, El Aynaoui, who was having the season of his career that year. You could easily see that big things were coming for Rafa, everyone was talking about Nadal when we walked out after that match.
His results just from the very beginning were just so good snd not typical of any young player’s.

—In just two years’ time, he changed the toss to help with both the serve out wide on AD and the screwdriver up the T on the deuce court.

—He also didn’t waste as much time on serves here

—This 2003 court played so much faster then it does now; Roddick’s serve and pre-change FH were lethal on this court.

—You can just feel his intensity and desire to win here.
 
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