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Fifteen years ago, in what used to be the Hamburg Master Series tournament, 16-year old Rafa walked into a tennis court to face countryman Carlos Moya for the very first time. Moya was coming into the match with two clay titles (Buenos Aires against Coria and Barcelona besting Safin), a RU plate in Miami against Agassi plus straight sets victories in DC against the belgian team (Rochus and Malisse).

However a crushing performance by the young Rafa saw him upseting the 2nd seed in straight sets, letting the world know how much of a threat to anyone he could be. Amongst other superb displays, his 2HBH hammer was already winning CC exchanges against the powerful Moya FH. The Clay Warrior would find success that year in the Challenger Tour but wouldn't see his first ATP title until the next year, in the now extinct tournament of Sopot.



Fun fact: this edition of Hamburg saw all argentine SF matches, including a preview of next year's French Open final between Coria and Gaudio. Coria would then go on to win the title with a victory against Calleri who had bested Nalbandian in his way to the finals.

Highlights for the match:

 

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We may never see that again, a 16 yr old crush a top five veteran like that.

Also remember Safin vs Kuerten five set final 2000 which ended up being the difference for no. 1 that year. Kuerten had been 0-3 vs Safin but that five set win turned the rivalry in Guga's favor and he never lost to Safin again. Kuerten revealed the tactical change that overcame Safin in the book Facing Marat Safin.
 

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didn't a 17 year old Nadal took a two set lead against peak Federer at the Miami F?

He ended up losing in five but that performance showed what a threat he'd be to Federer, even on hardcourts.
 

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didn't a 17 year old Nadal took a two set lead against peak Federer at the Miami F?

He ended up losing in five but that performance showed what a threat he'd be to Federer, even on hardcourts.
A 17 y.o. Nadal actually beat Federer at Miami, then at 18 he took the 2 set lead in the final.
 

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The most memorable match at the Hamburg tournament for me was the 1990 final, when the elegant sliding "slice-bot" Juan Aguilera destroyed Boris Becker (6/1, 6/0, 7/6).

Becker was ATP 2 or 3 back then, and all the Germans expected him to win that final. Becker had reached to French Open semifinal the year before, so he wasn't bad on clay. Becker-mania was still alive that year, the match was shown in full on the german public TV channel ZDF.

 

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The only memories from Hamburg i have are the 2000 final where Kuerten and Safin had a 5 set battle, and the following year when Ferrero couldn't put away Portas (who got his only singles title with the victory) - he had such a good run that year on clay defeating Kuerten in the Rome final and I believe a couple other clay titles prior. Was unfortunate he never completed the clay masters trifecta.
 

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The most memorable match at the Hamburg tournament for me was the 1990 final, when the elegant sliding "slice-bot" Juan Aguilera destroyed Boris Becker (6/1, 6/0, 7/6).

Becker was ATP 2 or 3 back then, and all the Germans expected him to win that final. Becker had reached to French Open semifinal the year before, so he wasn't bad on clay. Becker-mania was still alive that year, the match was shown in full on the german public TV channel ZDF.
Incredibly enough he went on to never win a single clay title in his career, despite his consistency on the surface and several finals (one of which he had a MP) >:)
 

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Can OP forward fast so we can get 2007 Hamburg?

MTF is so transparent
Man, I get the feeling you are quite the jaded one, aren't you?

As for the topic, it's fascinating to see the contrast between a 16 y.o. Nadal and his twice older counterpart. Much less topspin on his forehand and almost no celebrations. I'm feeling almost weird.
 
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