We look at how talented Spaniard RafaNadal started his journey to winning ATP Tours.
The 30-year old is preparing well for the forthcoming French Open. He has been zooming to finals and lifting titles and breaking records. He started his brilliant run in the ATP Tour 15 years ago.
Nadal got his first win in the ATP event at home, winning in front of familiar faces in Mallorca. Nadal was only 15 years and 10 months but he achieved the feat. He defeated Paraguayan Ramon Delgado, a player ranked in the top 100, 6-4, 6-4. Nadal is one of the youngest players to rise to that level in the Open era.
Nadal alongside Richard Gasquet were among the first 15-year old stars to get an ATP win. Ryan Harrison is the only other person to have done so after them. It has been 15 years and Nadal has not looked back.
Nadal rarely gave face for the juniors, focusing on pro tennis from 14 years. He worked at garnering experience in satellites qualifications in 2001 before he made his debut in pro tennis. From a young age, he showed prospects after his results at his first notable satellites came out. He played more Satellites and the qualification in Barcelona then he received a wild card to play the mains in Mallorca.
Delgado was around 25 years and he was already building his reputation. He could not stop Nadal who showed his preference for the clay courts from that age. Though Nadal lost the next round to Olivier Rochus 6-2, 6-2, he already made the home fans fall in love with him.
The next year, Nadal hit six futures despite facing tough opponents. In 2003, his rise continued. At 17 years, he was dreaming of his first ATP final. He later went on to land over 70 ATP titles and made a name for himself but his first ATP win remains special.