The 17-year-old Rafael Nadal was one of the players to watch at the beginning of 2004, looking good to improve his results from the previous season and reaching the first ATP final in Auckland. The young Spaniard scored two Australian Open triumphs and made a notable Davis Cup debut against Radek Stepanek on an indoor court. Rafa beat world no. 1 Roger Federer in Miami, hoping for a similar run on his beloved clay in April and May but skipping the clay swing following after injuring his ankle in Estoril. Nadal returned to action in July and became an ATP champion in August in Sopot for a massive boost. Nadal had to pass the Netherlands Davis Cup tie but was back for the semi-final encounter against France. A teenager defeated Arnaud Clement in straight sets and earned a chance to play against the USA in Seville in the final in December.
Rafael Nadal won the Davis Cup title for Spain in 2004.
In front of 25,000 partisan fans, Rafa replaced Juan Carlos Ferrero in the second rubber. He became the youngest player with a live rubber victory in the Davis Cup final after ousting world no. 2 Andy Roddick 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 in three hours and 38 minutes of a grueling battle. Bob and Mike Bryan kept the USA in contention following their doubles triumph over Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo. Still, Carlos Moya beat Andy Roddick 6-2, 7-6, 7-6 to deliver Spain’s third point and deliver his country’s second Davis Cup trophy in four years. After the win, Nadal was thrilled with how he and his teammates performed, calling it the most significant title of his career and praising his colleagues who all gave their best in front of Seville’s partisan crowd.
“I feel thrilled with the victory; it was a historical one. Carlos Moya didn’t have to ask me how to beat Andy Roddick; he already played against him three times and watched my match as well. This is my first Davis Cup season, and I’m happy to go all the way and win the title; I feel lucky to be a part of this incredible team. We have had tough moments during the season and managed to overcome them. I like to play these kinds of events, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. For me, this is the most significant trophy of my career so far,” Rafael Nadal said.