On this day (March 28) 9 years ago Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played their first match at the 3rd round of the Miami Masters.
Fedal – a term spawned from the surnames of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, two of the greatest players in tennis history, which refers to their intense and, some say, unparalleled rivalry during the early 21st century.
Little reminder: Rafa and Roger first met in Miami in 2004, when Rafa was just 17 years old and Roger was the top-ranked player in the world. That night Rafa stunned Roger, who had been ailing leading up to the tournament, dismantling him, 6-3, 6-3, in 69 minutes. It was the first of Rafa’s 19 victories over Federer in 29 meetings. The 34th-ranked Rafa played what he later said was one of the best matches of his life. He served better than he ever had, with 81 percent accuracy on his first serves. Nadal never faced a break point and won 36 of 48 points on his serve. He hit winners from both sides and won 13 of 14 points at the net.
“I was afraid he could win, 6-1, 6-1,” Nadal said after the match. “I played almost perfect tennis.”
“That’s what youngsters do,” Federer said of Nadal’s shot-making that night in 2004.
The rest is history… Happy birthday, Fedal!