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Rafael Nadal Beijing 2008 Men's Tennis singles


Rafael Nadal


Victory at the Olympic Games in Beijing proved the crowning glory of an unforgettable 2008 for Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal. Nadal had already enjoyed a career-defining season, having secured his fourth French Open title in Paris and edged Roger Federer in the fading light at the Wimbledon final in a match widely regarded as the greatest of the modern era.

It was his first triumph at the All England Club in his third consecutive final against the elegant Swiss.

Now the seemingly unstoppable Spaniard not only had a first Olympic title in his sights, but also the chance to knock Federer off his pedestal as world number one, a position he had held for the previous four and a half years.

Nadal opened his campaign a matter of weeks after claiming the Wimbledon title in London and when he lost a set in his opening match against Italy’s Potito Starace it seemed the effects of long season might be taking its toll.

However he came through that tight opener and then lost just 13 games as he ripped through the bottom half of the draw and reach the final at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre. Meanwhile the seeds were being cast asunder elsewhere in the drawer.

Britain’s Andy Murray, seeded sixth,  was sent packing in the opening round by Taiwan’s Yen-hsun Lu, fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko lost in round two, and even Federer suffered a first career defeat at the hands of American James Blake in the quarter-final.

Nadal would face Chile’s dashing Fernando Gonzalez in the final after he came through a controversial three-set semi-final against Blake, winning 11-9 in the decider.

The omens, if not the form, favoured Gonzalez. He had won their two previous encounters on hardcourts while Chile boasted an excellent record in the event with Nicolas Massu winning gold in Athens four years earlier before partnering Gonzalez to win the doubles.

Yet Nadal’s swashbuckling style was too much for Gonzalez, who did well to carve out a set point in the second set tiebreak, and the Spaniard ran out a 6-3 7-6 6-3 victory, falling onto his back and punching his fists at the moment of triumph.

Novak Djokovic, beaten by Nadal in the semi-final, beat Blake in the bronze medal play-off.


43 Highlights

  • Opening Ceremony
  • Katerina Emmons - women’s 10m air rifle
  • Salukvadze, Pederina praised for gesture
  • Dutch end long wait for relay gold
  • Korean archery domination continues
  • Aussies edge Americans in scintillating relay
  • India's first individual gold medal
  • Coughlin again thwarts fast-finishing Coventry
  • Benjamin Boukpeti
  • Rice hits golden hat-trick in 4x200m relay
  • Phelps rewrites Olympic record books
  • China wins maiden team gymnastics gold
  • Steffen completes comeback with golden double
  • Andrunache emerges from Ignat’s shadow
  • The oldest winner of the women’s table tennis singles
  • Lightning Bolt electrifies Bird’s Nest
  • Roger Federer
  • British foursome continue Redgrave’s legacy
  • Zagunis leads U.S. clean sweep in sabre
  • Guo glitters in Water Cube
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Fraser leads unique Jamaican treble
  • Rebecca Romero
  • Reborn Taylor takes second hurdles title
  • Incredible Lezak puts Phelps on road to eight golds
  • Hoy joins cycling greats
  • Liukin follows in father’s footsteps
  • Jones heartbreak evokes Devers as Harper takes gold
  • IOC’s helping hand guides Nikpai to bronze
  • Bolt overcomes Johnson’s legendary 200m mark
  • Japan rock U.S. with softball win
  • Chausson, Strombergs grab first BMX golds
  • Campbell-Brown retains 200m crown
  • Steve Hooker
  • Jamaican foursome break world record
  • Perfect Walsh, May-Treanor star on the sand
  • Hellebaut raises the bar in battle with Vlasic
  • Korea ends baseball’s Olympic era with Cuban upset
  • Hungary secure stunning water polo hat-trick
  • Party atmosphere as curtain drawn on Beijing
  • Kanayeva waltzes to rhythmic gold
  • Mighty France thwart giantkillers Iceland
  • US restores basketball pride