Rafael Nadal was touted for greatness before he reached the top

3 times commentators predicted Rafael Nadal's greatness when he was on the rise

Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to grace a tennis court. The Spaniard has enjoyed an extraordinary career during which he has won 92 singles titles, which includes a record 22 Majors and Olympic gold in 2008. Despite suffering numerous injuries throughout his career, Nadal has managed to play at an elite level for almost two decades and was the World No. 1 for 209 weeks.

The Spaniard has enjoyed a stellar 2022 season so far, winning 30 out of 33 matches so far. He won the Australian Open despite being two sets to love down in the final and followed it up by winning the French Open just weeks after aggravating his chronic foot injury in Rome.

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Nadal has well and truly established himself as a tennis icon over the years. However, there were moments when tennis commentators touted him for greatness when he was still young.

So without any further ado, let's take a look at three instances when commentators predicted Rafael Nadal's greatness while he was still on the rise.

#3. "He's as good a player form his age as I've seen Hewitt" - Hamburg 2003

It was May 2003. A 16-year-old Spaniard named Rafael Nadal, who was ranked 87th in the world, was up against then-World No. 4 Carlos Moya in the second round of the Hamburg Masters.

While the teenager was entering the court, legendary commentator John Barrett called Nadal a 'really fine new talent'.

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"Here he comes, young Nadal, Barrett said. "Always an exciting moment when a really fine new talent emerges in the world game and this is one for sure. In the words of Moya, he is the best 16-year-old he has ever seen and that's quite a statement."
In 2003, @RafaelNadal ripped up the script.

Barrett also said that Nadal was the best player of his age he had seen since Lleyton Hewitt.

"He's as good a player for his age I've seen since Hewitt," he added.

Nadal went on to beat Moya 6-4, 7-5 to reach the third round of the Hamburg Masters.

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#2. "The man who might very well become World No. 1 one day" - Miami 2004

Rafael Nadal during his match against Roger Federer in Miami

The Miami Masters in 2004 saw Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lock horns in the third round for the very first time in their illustrious careers. Before the match started, John Barrett said that the Spaniard could very well become the World No. 1 one day.

"The World No. 1 leading the way," said Barrett. "Behind, the man who might very well become World No. 1 one day."
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The Englishman's statements were prophetic as Nadal became World No. 1 for the first time in 2008.

The Spaniard, who was seeded 32nd in the tournament, beat the then-World No. 1 6-3, 6-3. However, he would go on to lose to Gaston Gaudio in the next round.

#1. "So many great champions at this great tournament. And maybe Nadal will be the greatest of them all" - London 2008

Rafael Nadal won his maiden grasscourt title at the Queen's Club Championships in 2008 when he beat Novak Djokovic 7-6(6), 7-5. After the match ended, the commentator said that the Spaniard might be the greatest among all the champions who won the tournament before.

"So many great champions at this great tournament. And maybe Nadal will be the greatest of them all," the commentator said.

Later that year, Nadal won Wimbledon by beating Federer in an epic final that lasted four hours and 48 minutes. As of now, the Spaniard has won four titles on grass and has a win percentage of 78% on the surface.

Two Kings at Queen’s

Let’s throwback to on this day in 2008 and @RafaelNadal clinched his first grass court title at @QueensTennis

Remember what happened after at @Wimbledon?

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by
Keshav Gopalan
 
 
 
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