Andy Roddick recently declared that he is proud to have been a stepping stone for Rafael Nadal in the Spaniard's path to greatness. Roddick's assertion came after Nadal revealed that a match against the American had marked his early career.
"Proud to be a stepping stone for this man. A great man and a great champion @RafaelNadal. Grande Rafa," Roddick said.
Nadal was referring to a 2004 Davis Cup contest against the USA, where he defeated Roddick in the second rubber.
Nadal, who was just 18 at the time, gave his country a 2-0 lead at the end of the first day. But the Bryan brothers - Bob and Mike - kept USA in the hunt by winning the doubles tie against Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo.
Carlos Moya then beat Roddick in the first of the two reverse singles to give Spain a memorable win in the finals.
Nadal recently stated that the Davis Cup win, which came after an injury, was aided by the crowd. The tie took place on the claycourts of the Seville Olympic Stadium.
"The match against Roddick in the 2004 Davis Cup final is one of those that marked my career, and I will never forget it. People remember my performance for the freshness and how young I was, but the real architect of the victory was Carlos Moya, who brought us two points," Rafael Nadal said.
"I think I claimed victory because the crowd was there to support me; it was essential. I had some notable matches in every stage of my career, and this is one of them, especially after that injury. I played at a very high level and deserved the triumph after working hard on the practice court," he added.
Rafael Nadal has won 7 of his 10 contests against Andy Roddick
Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick have played each other 10 times, with the Spaniard leading the head-to-head 7-3.
The American came out on top in their first-ever meeting, a round-of-64 match at the 2004 US Open. After getting past Roddick in the Davis Cup finals, their second encounter, the Spaniard beat him again in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters in 2007.
The 2003 US Open champion won one back in Dubai in 2008 but went on to lose the next three in a row - at Queen's Club, Indian Wells and once more in the Davis Cup World Group semifinals.
Roddick's win in the 2010 Miami Open was to be his last against Nadal, who triumphed in the ATP Finals in 2010 and in the quarterfinals of the US Open in 2011.
Roddick, a former World No. 1, retired after the 2012 US Open.