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5 Unbelievable Titles Rafael Nadal Won as a Teenager

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read
Rafael Nadal celebrating a win

Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest tennis athletes in the world; many argue he is the greatest behind Roger Federer. If you are new to the sports scene, you would think Rafael Nadal started his winning streak in his early or late 20s. But that was not the case; for 17 consecutive seasons, Rafael Nadal has been winning trophies back to back. 

Rafael Nadal started winning trophies when he was just in his teen years. As early as 18, Rafael Nadal already had a couple of awards to his name. As the all-time leader in Masters 1000 titles (35), Rafael Nadal's winning streak started early enough to put him on the list of the greatest tennis players. With that in mind, we will show you some of the top-rated titles Rafael Nadal won while still in his teens.

Teenage Rafael Nadal holding a trophy he won for a photograph
Rafael Nadal (Source: ATP tour)

2005 Monte Carlo

The first time Rafael Nadal lifted a Masters 1000 title was in 2005 at the Monte Carlo event, and he continued the winning streak every season. Rafael Nadal first made his Masters 1000 debut in 2003 when he won 2 games straight before he was knocked out of the competition. Despite Rafael Nadal's age, he returned in 2005 to put in a show for spectators. He was just 18 years old when he came back in 2005 to compete with heavyweights in the competition. 

Rafael Nadal has to beat prominent athletes like Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Olivier Rochus, and Gaston Gaudio to clinch the 2005 Monte Carlo Masters 1000 title. It was his first, but he won many other Masters 1000 titles. In the final of the 2005 Masters 1000 title, Rafael Nadal was to face the 2004 Roland Garros runner-up Guillermo Coria before beating him to win the prestigious title. 

2005 Roland Garros

At the 2005 Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal faced the person he grew up competing for the number one spot. Although Federer was regarded as the best at that time, Nadal succeeded in beating Federer in four sets to reach his first Grand Slam final. 

In the final, Nadal was to face Argentine Mariano Puerta for the title, and he later won it to make history in the competition. It was the first time since Pete Sampras (1990 US Open), a teenager, won a Grand Slam title. Rafael Nadal's Australian Open 2023 would have given him a chance to win his 23rd, but an injury ruined it. 

 2005 Madrid

When Rafael Nadal competed in Madrid in 2005, it was his last tournament of the season, and many thought he would be tired from the many games he had played. Of course, Rafael Nadal beat other prominent figures to win his 11th title that year. But the process was challenging: it showed in his game. After meeting Victor Hansecu, Tommy Robredo, Radek Stepanek, and Robby Ginepri in straight sets, Nadal beat them all to move to the final. 

This is where things got tough for the tennis player. After facing Ivan Ljubicic in the final, people saw the effects of the long season on Rafael Nadal after he had struggled initially against Ivan Ljubicic. However, the Spanish tennis player managed to win his 11th title of a career-best season. 

2005 Coupe Rogers

Obviously, 2005 was a memorable year for Rafael Nadal. Considering Rafael Nadal's age at that time, he was arguably the best teenager. In the 2005 Coupe Rogers, Nadal played only his 5th hardcourt Masters 1000 tournament and beat his fellow Spaniard Carlos Moya. Other opponents, such as Ricardo Mello, Sebastian Grosjean, Mariano Puerta, and Paul-Henri Mathieu,  got beaten in straight sets wins. 

In the final, he met the well-known American legend Andre Agassi for the first time in what was a tough match for the two phenomenal players. In what became a long game, Nadal fought back to win his first hardcourt title. 

2006 Rome 

After a successful season in 2005, Rafael Nadal arrived in Rome to continue from where he had stopped. Before playing in Rome, Nadal already had five Masters 1000 titles despite his young career. As planned, Rafael Nadal was to face the person who grew to become his biggest competitor. At that time, Roger Federer was already regarded as the number one tennis player in the world. 

It was a tough match for both players as they shared the points until the last minute. But in the previous minute of the gameplay, Federer made a mistake that cost him 2 championship points and allowed Nadal to win the game. It was the sixth time the two phenomenal players would meet and the fifth time Nadal took a win in their meetings. Rafael Nadal's win against Federer got him his 16th title as a teenager, which is an ATP record.