Rafael Nadal has only played 30 matches at the Australian Open since 2004, at age 17. Which of these are his top 10?
The list features some of the best matches in history, some truly historic matches that you could watch over and over again. Unique and interesting for not only how Rafa was playing, but also for how great his opponents were playing.
But quite a few of the 30 matches are real duds; at least 10 against journeymen and players outside of the Top 50. Of the 30 matches, Rafa lost six (a couple of these will appear on the list).
Counting forward: 2004, Rafa’s "debut" as a world-class tennis player came not with his win over Roger Federer in Miami, but in December of that year in the Davis Cup final, where he beat world No. 1 Andy Roddick.
So, his performance in the Australian Open of 2004 is not Rafa as we think of him today.
2005: At age 18, he lost to eventual runner-up Lleyton Hewitt (which gives you an idea of how much time has passed!).
2006: He did not play (foot).
2007: Things got interesting.
But we’ll start this countdown with a match from 2011.