Federer & Nadal's First Battle, 15 Years On

Nadal defeated the World No. 1 in straight sets

Who knew that 15 years ago today a straight-sets result in the third round of the Miami Open presented by Itau would be the start of tennis' most legendary rivalry?

Roger Federer was the 22-year-old World No. 1 on 28 March 2004. But 17-year-old Rafael Nadal showed no fear of the Swiss superstar, upsetting the top seed 6-3, 6-3 in a tidy 70 minutes.

“I'm very happy because I played one of the best matches in my life. Obviously, he didn't play his best tennis and that's the reason why I could win,” Nadal said. “If he had played his best tennis, I would have had no chance. But that's what happens in tennis. If a player like me plays at a very, very good level and a top player like Roger doesn't play his best tennis, I can win. But sure, I'm really, really happy.”

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It was only Nadal’s second match in Miami, having defeated 32-year-old Goran Ivanisevic in his opener. But the Spaniard did not face break point against Federer. 

“I'm not surprised. I've heard a lot about him and saw some matches of his,” Federer said. “I think this is not a big surprise for everybody.”

Did You Know?
Nadal leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 23-15, but Federer has won five straight.