The start of the Nadal legend at Roland Garros turns 15

On May 23, 2005, now 15 years ago, the legendary story of Rafa Nadal started at Roland Garros. The Balearic Islands, who had 10 days to turn 19, played his first game in the French Grand Slam, on clay. Surely, he did not dream that he would lift the Musketeers Cup 12 times.

The draw was benevolent with the fourth favorite of the tournament, for many and the highest contender for the title, who had not been able to debut in 2004 because of the injuries that haunted him from the beginning. It came from succeeding in Costa do Sauipe, Acapulco, Montecarlo, Barcelona and Rome. His first rival was the German Lars Burgsmüller, at that time number 96 in the world, now become a doctor in radiology and totally separated from tennis. Rafa, with his youthful appearance, ribbon in his long hair, tank top and pirate pants, It destroyed him in an hour and 45 minutes (6-1, 7-6 (4) and 6-1). “Nadal has the presence to dominate Roland Garros and it is exactly what this sport and Federer need. Nadal can make Roger stop looking over his shoulder. He has never played well in Paris and I know he has that in his head” , Becker had written earlier, some words that he collected in his chronicle the special envoy of AS to Paris, Alejandro Delmás. “I accept the pressure, but what I am getting tired of is that at each press conference they tell me that I am a favorite. Has Becker written that? Why do you tell me? But hey, I appreciate it, “replied the Spaniard.

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Rafa, a whirlwind of movements, intensity and gestures of rage, debuted on the intimate track 1, the recently demolished 'Plaza de Toros' of the tennis complex of the Bosque de Bolonia -That same day, his current coach, Carlos Moyá, beat Beto Martín. “Nadal does not impose on me, the problem is that you have to earn the point two or three times more than any other. You think you have won it, it appears from somewhere … and it happens to you,” Burgsmüller explained. “I was nervous,” admitted Nadal. “I was a little fair, maybe because I had the nerves of the debut, although my teammates and friends wanted to calm them down. Let's say it was a rather commercial rather than spectacular match, “he continued. That was the beginning of Nadal's first great success at Roland Garros. Then he got rid of Malisse, Gasquet, Grosjean, Ferrer, Federer in the semifinals and the Argentinean Mariano Puerta in the end.

Toni Nadal, who was training his nephew at that time, remembers for AS that they arrived at the appointment with confidence: “Rafael had won very good people before he started playing there, like Ferrero and Coria, who was the best on land at the time. Burgsmüller was not too dangerous because he was not a specialist, but it's always difficult to debut in big tournaments. There are always nerves. In the end it was a more or less affordable game. “

This Monday, the YouTube page of Roland Garros will broadcast the video of that first historic game of Nadal in the tournament, the one that marked the future of the record man of the Grand Slam of clay. Nadal nostalgically recalls that he should already be in Paris to play the championship for the 16th time where he has triumphed the most and in which he has a stratospheric balance of victories and defeats: 93-2.