Andy Roddick was back at the Flushing Meadows in 2004 to defend the title he won before his home crowd the previous year and elevate him as world no.1. Before him in the second round stood an 18-year rookie from Spain – Rafael Nadal, who was yet to become the Nadal that the world took note off.
Just like every champion treats a rookie, Roddick steamrolled Nadal in the first set, winning it 6-0. Nadal managed to open his account in the second set, winning the first game. Just as his nerves were beginning to ease, Roddick decided to give Nadal some more bully treatment.
The world already knew of Andy Roddick and his fast forward serves. He fired one in typical fashion, at 141 miles per hour. Usually, the best of the players would sway out of the way against such a serve. But Nadal chose to attempt a return. Some awkward bounce on the court resulted in the ball bouncing a tad higher than what the Spaniard anticipated. Instead of the ball smashing Nadal’s racquet, it rammed into his nose, which replays suggest was a nasty blow.
Nadal took the blow into his stride, helped himself to a towel and decided to get along with the game. He managed to win only six more games, losing the next two sets 6-3, 6-4. This was Roddick’s only win over Nadal in over four years, with the next one coming only in 2008.