On March 28, 2004, no. 1, Roger Federer, and the next youngster, Rafael Nadal, met at the Miami Masters, writing the first chapter of one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport. At 17 years and nine months, Nadal pulled off a magnificent 6-3, 6-3 win in 70 minutes to become the youngest player to win over the No. 1 since the formation of the ATP Tour 14 years earlier. Only a few could have predicted this outcome, even after knowing that Roger was not in his prime. The Swiss won the title at Indian Wells a week earlier and struggled in the previous game against Nikolay Davydenko in Florida. Other than that it was an amazing performance from the youngster, he served 81% and never faced a deuce or break point! Federer was miles away from those numbers, playing seven break opportunities and suffering three breaks to propel Rafa to the last 16. Roger had 16 serve winners, but that wasn’t enough to keep him safe, with Nadal taking advantage of rallies and pushing the opponent’s backhand to the limit. Rafa held a 14-11 winners advantage from the court, hitting with more range than his opponent, who had just two winners off his right. The Swiss made 17 unforced errors, 12 from his most reliable wing, while Nadal stayed at 14. The Spaniard forged the most significant difference in the forced errors segment, hitting just three on his backhand.
Cahill discusses Federer’s situation
Multiple Grand Slam-winning coach Darren Cahill has said he is “pretty sure” Roger Federer will make a comeback at next year’s Australian Open. “There’s so many great stories coming into the Australian Open,” Cahill said on Sportsday. “Roger (Federer) is apparently playing, I know he’s doing a lot of work on the court at the moment and we’re pretty sure he’s going to come down to play the Australian Open.” Simona Halep’s former coach lauded Federer’s resilience and declared that the Swiss is hungry to win a 21st Major title. “At 40 years of age, the fact that he’s even doing what he’s doing is quite remarkable,” Cahill added. “He’s trying to get 21 (major titles).” While the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been vaccinated, Novak Djokovic has remained tight-lipped about his status throughout the pandemic. As such, many believe the Serb is yet to get jabbed, which could spell doom for his Australian Open title defense.