Rafael Nadal will not compete at Wimbledon two decades after debuting at the grass Major, struggling with an ongoing hip injuryNadal reached the third round on his debut in 2003 at 17, improving his grass-court game and becoming one of the title favorites three years later.
Rafa claimed his second Roland Garros title in 2006 and wished for more at the upcoming Wimbledon. The Spaniard played well in London and set the title clash against a three-time defending champion Roger Federer. Rafa had a chance to become the first player with a “Channel Slam” since Bjorn Borg, giving his everything but experiencing a 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 loss in just under three hours.
Thus, Federer secured his fourth straight Wimbledon crown, following Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras and notching his 48th win in a row on the fastest surface. Speaking about the final, Nadal admitted he did not think about beating Federer.
Reaching the final was already a massive result for the 20-year-old Spaniard, and he knew how tough it would be to pass another step and dethrone the Swiss. However, it boosted him to try even harder in the coming years and challenge Roger for the Wimbledon crown.
The Swiss had better numbers on the first and second serve. Roger got broken two times and grabbed six return games to seal the deal and write the record books.
Rafael Nadal did not believe in his abilities in the 2006 Wimbledon final.
Federer had a clear advantage in the shortest rallies, forcing 50 errors from Nadal and emerging at the top after a tight battle in sets two and three.
The more experienced player made a marvelous start, storming over Nadal to deliver a bagel in the opener in 24 minutes! Rafa recovered his game and served for the second set at 5-4. However, he got broken at 15 and lost the tie break 7-5 to push Roger miles in front.
Nadal made sure to end Federer’s streak of 34 consecutive sets won at Wimbledon. The Spaniard took the third set in the tie break before the Swiss responded in the fourth to wrap up the triumph.”It was a time when reaching a Wimbledon final was an achievement for me.
I fought in the title match and enjoyed it, but perhaps without the mind of believing that I could win. The simple fact of reaching the final was already an achievement for me; playing Roger in the final on grass made it extra tough for me.
I made a slow start, unable to find the rhythm. After that, I felt better on the court, feeling I could compete with Roger. However, I was not entirely convinced that I could beat himAt that time, he was better than me, making me work even harder to reach that level and challenge him in the coming years,” Rafael Nadal said.