By Randy Walker
It was on March 28, 2004 when the Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal rivalry began. The most viral rivalry in tennis history began in Key Biscayne when Nadal was just 17-years-old and ranked No. 34 and Federer was 22 and ranked No. 1 in the world. The following is the excerpt from my upcoming compilation The Days of Roger Federer – available for pre-order here: http://www.amazon.com/Days-Roger-Federer-Randy-Walker/dp/1937559378/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396006308&sr=8-1&keywords=Days+of+Roger+Federer - that reviews this historic first meeting between two of the sport’s greatest legends.
2004 – A hard-hitting 17-year-old from Spain named Rafael Nadal, ranked No. 34 in the world, stages a shocking upset of world No. 1 Roger Federer, claiming a 6-3, 6-3 win in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open. Federer, the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, had won 28 of 29 matches dating back to the previous November, but the Swiss struggles with illness from the previous few days while Nadal plays impeccable tennis, never facing a break point, executing 81 percent of his first serves and winning 13 of 14 points at the net. ”I’m very happy because I played one of the best matches in my life,” Nadal says. ”Obviously, he didn’t play his best. If he had played his best tennis, I would have had no chance. I probably never served like this in my life, and that was the key.” Says Federer of the debut match with his future main rival, “I think it’s always difficult to play someone for the first time, first of all, but I think overall he played a very good match. He was the better player today. It was tough for me. I had time to get the rhythm, but he played very aggressive and I couldn’t quite play maybe the way I wanted to.” When asked if he was surprised by the result, Federer says, “No, no, I’m not surprised. I’ve heard a lot about him and saw some matches of him. I think this is not a big surprise for everybody.”
The Days of Roger Federer is an entertaining and illuminating chronicle of Federer’s trophy-laden journey and is unique for its day-by-day format: every day of the calendar year is presented with a corresponding bit of fact, trivia, or an anniversary, including hallmark victories, statistics, quirky happenings, and quotations. Fans of a player widely considered the greatest of all time as well as sports fans in general will get to know the 17-time major champion better in a uniquely engaging way with this book.