World number 31 Kohlschreiber was on fire early, ripping through the first set in only 21 minutes but Rafa flipped the switch and turned the match on its head to prevail 0-6 6-2 6-3 on the main stadium hard court at Crandon Park.
It was the first time Rafa had failed to win a game in the first set of an ATP tour match since 2008, the ATP said.
Rafa ignited the near-capacity crowd with a typically determined comeback to clinch his 822nd career victory. He joins a small group of 11 players headed by Jimmy Connors (1,535) to have played at least 1,000 matches.
One thousand matches is a lot of matches. Obviously that’s good news because that says I am having a long career. During a lot of years, I heard that I’m going to have a short career, so it’s something important for me. I remember the first match very well because it was at home in Mallorca. It was my first victory on the ATP and was a great feeling.
Rafa said he had not done much wrong in the first set against an opponent who was in the zone.
He was doing everything good, so that’s sport. I lose the set because he was playing too good. That’s it. But a match is long and the positive thing is I held the pressure well this afternoon after a very tough first set. I resisted well in the first few games of the second set and then I think I played a great second and third set.
In playing his 1,000th ATP match, Rafa has not only joined the ten other athletes who have reached this milestone, but Rafa holds the highest winning percentage, 82.19%. Of these eleven, only three are still active; Rafa, David Ferrer, and Roger.
My champ is still on top!
RAFA ROCKS THE 1,000
Hearty wishes to a highly motivated special sportsman, doing his utmost EVERY match.
Congratulations on your 1000th match Rafa, and all the best for the next game.
Love and prayers,
Very happy for Rafa after this first set. Good luck for the next round. Vamos Rafa <3
Rafa, you are the greatest ever! So energetic and mentally, the best ever! Congrats and enjoy the rest of the season!😍
“During a lot of years, I heard that I’m going to have a short career, so it’s something important for me.”
My heart sinks a bit when reading this. During all those years us fans have gone through this kind of things countless times and it wasn’t at all pleasant. But now hearing Rafa saying it, on this particular occasion, I realise now more than ever it must have been nothing compared to what Rafa has been through.
It’s still burnt into my mind the image of Rafa sitting on a chair (“a normal club chair—nothing specially designed”) in the middle of the court, hitting the ball forehand, backhand and even volley everyday for three weeks of his “darkest period” after he learned that he might never play tennis professionally again, when everything had only just begun for him, and also for us.
And now here we are, the 1000th match! A sterling 16-year career so far with 14 Slams, 28 Masters, 2 Olympic Golds, 4 Davis Cups plus many finals and other titles. Boy we’re so proud of you, Rafa!
Congratulations again on your 1000th match and your wonderful and inspiring career. It’s been a privilege for all of us to have a chance to sit on the roller coaster of emotions with you all those years :). 🎾🎾💪💪🏆🏆🏅🏅 🇪🇸🇪🇸
I am always your fan. any time you are out of any tournament, my interest of watching further will be gone actually I don’t watch the further.
So Rafa, keep on and win few more grands lam including some masters for me.
Rafa, congratulations on your 1,000th match. You are what keeps tennis so vibrant; exhilarating; joyful; heart-pounding; tearful; a just plain WONDERFUL.
May you continue winning.
MUchas felicidades mi Rafa querido Vaa,os Rafa
Congratulations Rafa on your 1000th win. You are a legend n Spain can be proud to have such a fantastic Legend. Vamos Rafa. My prayers are for you. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. ⏳👑🐂🎈🎈😊😇😀
Congratulations on 1,000. We see you and know you want to win!👍💪😎👏🏆👊❤️
VAMOSSSSSSSSSS! Fighter!!! 👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑LEYANDA!
Very happy. Congratulations Rafa 😃❤️
Wish you continued success 😘🍀
and I look forward seeing you in action again tomorrow 😍☀️
VAMOS CAMP!! 🎾💪🏼
And congrats on your 1000th. match, Rafa 🤗
Absolutely Diane. I couldn’t have said it any better myself!!!😀
Rafa you should be congratulated for reaching your 1000th match and in hoping it will be remembered for a near perfect 3rd set and not for the bagel ,the fist since 2008 i believe . I saw a really animated Rafa last night who showed just how much getting this title means to him . Go get it Rafa
Congrats, Rafa on your 1000th match. So glad you are still fighting and competing.
You’re always a joy to watch.
I knew Phillip would come out swinging. I saw him take a 1st set off Rafa before.
But that only makes Rafa so much more determined and relentless in the next 2 sets.
I do love Rafa’s “Never say die” attitude out there on the courts. When his service is working at top level, everything else comes into play and works more efficiently as well.
Glad to also see Uncle Toni in your box with the rest of your wonderful team!
Diane, You are so right. The Rafa of the past two years might have folded but not this time. Kohli played an incredible TB against Murray so I was not surprised by his first set. I did not panic since I still felt Rafa could come back. They have often gone three sets I believe. I still don’t know what to make of Rafa’s loss at IW, but you sense that Rafa really wants this one. He was determined not to lose and his third set was glorious.
SOOOO HAPPY, RAFA!!!! Keep it GOING!!!! VAMOS!!!!!