When you have a career like Rafael Nadal has had, it is quite difficult to pick and choose the best moments from it. But Nadal was asked to do just that during the 'GETRAFAMOVING' event organized by his long-time sponsors Kia Motors.
The Spaniard had quite an understandable dilemma after hearing a question that asked him to name the three best moments of his career, so he named five instead. And surprisingly, only one of Rafael Nadal's dozen French Open titles made an appearance in his list.
Rafael Nadal first answered the question by naming his top three career moments as asked - winning titles at the French Open 2005, Wimbledon 2008 and the US Open 2013. Not wanting to leave out his other favorite moments though, the 19-time Slam champion added Australian Open 2009 and the Davis Cup triumph with Spain in 2004 as well.
A list made up of Rafael Nadal's 'firsts'
A maiden title anywhere is always special for any athlete. Ask any multiple Grand Slam champion and they'll likely name their first as their best or favorite. And Rafael Nadal is no different.
Four out of the five moments in Nadal's list are the Spaniard's 'first' of some kind.
The first moment that came to Rafael Nadal's mind when asked to name his top three was, no prizes for guessing, his first ever Grand Slam title - back in 2005, at Roland Garros. That was the beginning of the Spaniard's special relationship with the Parisian dirt, and the foundation stone of his legacy in tennis.
Rafael Nadal would go on to add another 11 titles at the French Open to make up his dirty dozen, and he might even add a few more before he stops. But the maiden title back in 2005 will always remain his favorite.
If that maiden Roland Garros trophy was the foundation, the Wimbledon title in 2008 is probably the centerpiece and main attraction of Rafael Nadal's museum. The Spaniard won his first Wimbledon title in historic fashion, beating five-time defending champion Roger Federer in a titanic tussle.
If you have played in (and won) the match that has popularly come to be known as the greatest match of all time, it would naturally feature among the best moments of your career.
Rafael Nadal's first Grand Slam title on hardcourt came at the 2009 Australian Open. Up until that point, the Spaniard had failed to make the final of a hardcourt Slam in 10 attempts. But when Nadal did succeed, he succeeded big.
The then newly-crowned World No. 1 did what many considered to be impossible. He recovered from a marathon 5hr 14min semifinal against fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco to win another five-set epic against Roger Federer in the final, with less than 40 hours of rest.
Predictably, Nadal didn't want to leave out this special moment he had broken his body for, and quickly inserted it as his third choice.
The fourth entry was Rafael Nadal's maiden Davis Cup win with the Spanish Armada back in 2004. Nadal has won a total of five Davis Cup titles, and his earliest one did not have as much contribution from him as the next four. But 2004 remains special as it saw him defeat World No. 2 Andy Roddick as an 18-year-old to help Spain clinch the final 3-2 in front of a roaring crowd in Sevilla.
The only career moment to feature in the list for Rafael Nadal which was not one of his 'firsts' was the US Open win of 2013. And there is a good reason why.
Why US Open 2013 is special for Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal completed his 'Career Slam' as a 24-year-old by winning his first US Open title in 2010. But it's his second title in New York that the Spaniard cherishes more fondly.
Rafael Nadal came into US Open 2013 in what was a redemption year for him, after staying out of tennis for six months in an injury-ridden 2012. Nadal's injury woes had continued early in 2013 as he was forced to miss the Australian Open. And despite retaining his title at the French Open, doubts still remained on his future in the sport as he shockingly fell in the opening round of Wimbledon.
Despite coming into the final with a perfect record in the American hardcourt season, Nadal's opponent Novak Djokovic was still the marginal favorite to win. And as the Spaniard overcame the odds and fell to the ground after his four-set victory, it sort of gave his career a new wing and assured him - and the world - that he could still win big outside clay.
So those are the top 5 moments of Rafael Nadal's career, in the champion's own words. It was a big dilemma to make just five picks, but that's a dilemma everyone in the world would love to have.Published 24 Jul 2020, 18:40 IST