Rafael Nadal

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Rafael Nadal

NameRafael Nadal Parera
Nick NameRafa
DOB03 June 1986
(Age 37 Yr. )

Personal Life

Education Doctoral Degree
Religion Catholic
Nationality Spanish
Profession Tennis Player
Birth Place Manacor, Mallorca, Spain,

Physical Appearance

Height 6.1 (In feet)
Weight 85 (In kg)
Eye Color Dark Brown
Hair Color Dark Brown

Family Status

Marital Status Married
Spouse

Maria Francisca Perello

Siblings

Sister- María Isabel Nadal

Rafael Nadal Parera (born 3 June 1986) is a Spanish professional tennis player. He is currently ranked world No. 13 in singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He has been ranked world No. 1 for 209 weeks, and has finished as the year-end No. 1 five times. He also holds the record for most consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, having never left the Top 10 from April 2005 to March 2023, a total of 912 weeks. Nadal has won a joint-record 22 Grand Slam men's singles titles, including a record 14 French Open titles. He has won 92 ATP singles titles, including 36 Masters titles, with 63 of these on clay courts. Nadal is one of only two men to complete the Career Golden Slam in singles.[b] His 81 consecutive wins on clay is the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era.

For over a decade, Nadal has dominated men's tennis along with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the Big Three, collectively considered by many to be the three greatest male tennis players of all time. At the start of his professional career, Nadal became one of the most successful teenagers in ATP Tour history, reaching the world No. 2 ranking and winning 16 titles before turning 20, including his first French Open and six Masters events. Nadal became the world No. 1 for the first time in 2008 after defeating Federer in a historic Wimbledon final, his first major victory off clay. He followed up his win with an Olympic singles gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After defeating Djokovic in the 2010 US Open final, then-24-year-old Nadal became the youngest man in the Open Era to achieve the Career Grand Slam, and the first man to win majors on three different surfaces (hard, grass, and clay) in the same year (Surface Slam).

After two injury-plagued seasons, Nadal made a stellar return in one of the greatest comeback seasons of all time in 2013; reaching 14 finals, winning two majors and five Masters events including the US Open Series sweep (Summer Slam). He continued his dominance at the French Open, securing six titles, two US Open titles, an Australian Open title, and an Olympic doubles gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics with Marc López. Nadal surpassed his joint-record with Djokovic and Federer for the most major men's singles titles at the 2022 Australian Open, and became one of four men in history to complete the double Career Grand Slam in singles. He appeared in the Top 10 of the ATP rankings continuously from April 2005 to March 2023 – a record spanning 18 years.

As a vigorous left-handed player, one of Nadal's main strengths is his forehand, which he hits with extremely heavy topspin at difficult angles. He is one of the best at breaking serve, regularly appearing among the tour leaders in percentage of return games, return points, and break points won. Nadal has won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award five times, and was the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in 2011 and 2021. He is also a recipient of the Grand Cross of the Order of Dos De Mayo, the Grand Cross of Naval Merit, and the Medal of the City of Paris. Representing Spain, he has won two Olympic gold medals, and led the nation to four Davis Cup titles. Nadal has also opened a tennis academy in Mallorca, and is an active philanthropist.

 

Early life

Rafael Nadal Parera was born on 3 June 1986 in Manacor, a town on the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain, to parents Ana María Parera Femenías and Sebastián Nadal Homar. His father is a businessman, owner of an insurance company, glass and window company Vidres Mallorca, and the restaurant, Sa Punta. Rafael has a younger sister, María Isabel. His uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a retired professional footballer, who played for RCD Mallorca, FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team. He idolized Barcelona striker Ronaldo as a child, and via his uncle got access to the Barcelona dressing room to have a photo with the Brazilian. Recognizing a natural talent in Nadal, another uncle and tennis coach, Toni Nadal, introduced him to the game when he was three years old and coached him from 2005 to 2017.

At age 8, Nadal won an under-12 regional tennis championship at a time when he was also a promising football player. This made Toni Nadal intensify training, and it was at that time that his uncle encouraged Nadal to play left-handed for a natural advantage on the tennis court, after studying Nadal's then two-handed forehand stroke.

At age 12, Nadal won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group, while he was also playing football. Nadal's father made him choose between football and tennis so that his schoolwork would not deteriorate entirely. Nadal said: “I chose tennis. Football had to stop straight away.”

When he was 14, the Spanish tennis federation requested that Nadal leave Mallorca and move to Barcelona to continue his tennis training. His family turned down this request, partly because they feared his education would suffer, but also because Toni said that “I don't want to believe that you have to go to America, or other places to be a good athlete. You can do it from your home.” The decision to stay home meant less financial support from the federation; instead, Nadal's father covered the costs. In May 2001, he defeated former Grand Slam tournament champion Pat Cash in a clay-court exhibition match.

Professional tennis career

2001–2004: Early career and Davis Cup title

Nadal turned professional at age 15, and participated in two events on the ITF junior circuit. He finished 2001 with a Challenger series record of 1–1 in singles with no titles or finals appearances. He did not participate in any doubles Challengers events. At ITF Futures, Nadal's record was 7–5 in singles and 1–2 in doubles, with no titles or finals appearances.

In 2002, Nadal reached the semifinals of the junior singles event at Wimbledon, in his first ITF junior event. In the same year, he helped Spain defeat the US in the final of the Junior Davis Cup in his second and final appearance on the ITF junior circuit. Nadal's Challenger level record in 2002 was 4–2 in singles with no titles. He did not participate in any doubles Challengers events. Nadal finished the year with a Futures record of 40–9 in singles and 10–9 in doubles. He won 6 singles tournaments at this level, including 5 on clay and 1 on hard courts. He did not reach any doubles finals.

2005: First major title

At the 2005 Australian Open, Nadal lost in the fourth round to eventual runner-up Lleyton Hewitt. Two months later, he reached the final of the 2005 Miami Masters, and despite being two points from a straight-sets victory, he was defeated in five sets by No. 1 Roger Federer. Both performances were considered breakthroughs for Nadal.

2008: Two majors, Olympic singles gold, Davis Cup, and world No. 1

Nadal began the year in India, where he was comprehensively beaten by Mikhail Youzhny in the final of the Chennai Open. Nadal then reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated him in the semifinals in straight sets. Nadal also reached the final of the Miami Masters for the second time.

2010: Majors on all three surfaces, year-end No. 1, and Career Golden Slam

Nadal has called 2010 his best year as a professional tennis player. The 2010 tennis season Nadal became the first male player in tennis history to win Grand Slam tournaments on three different surfaces (clay, grass and hard court) in the same calendar year.

Nadal began the year by participating in the Capitala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. In the final, Nadal defeated Robin Söderling in straight sets. Nadal participated in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open ATP 250 event in Doha, where he lost in the finals to Nikolay Davydenko. In the Australian Open, Nadal reached the quarterfinals, where he had to pull out at 3–0 down in the third set against Andy Murray. After examining Nadal's knees, doctors told him that he should take two weeks of rest, and then two weeks of rehabilitation.

2016: Olympic doubles gold medal

Nadal started the year winning the Mubadala Title defeating Milos Raonic in straight sets. After that, he entered the Doha, Qatar, where he reached the finals, losing to Djokovic in straight sets. This was their 47th match, after which Djokovic led their head-to-head rivalry with 24 matches won. At the Australian Open, Nadal was defeated in five sets by compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the first round. The defeat marked his first opening round exit at the Australian Open.

In April he won his 28th Masters title in Monte Carlo. He went on to win his 17th ATP 500 in Barcelona, winning the trophy for the ninth time in his career. He continued the clay court season in Madrid, falling to Murray in the semifinal.

Rivalries

Freezing cold water. I do this before every match. It's the point before the point of no return. Under the cold shower I enter a new space in which I feel my power and resilience grow. I'm a different man when I emerge. I'm activated. I'm in "the flow"... Nothing else exists but the battle ahead.

–Nadal, on his pre-match rituals.

Nadal vs. Federer

Roger Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004, and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers. They held the top two rankings on the ATP Tour from July 2005 to 14 August 2009, and again from 11 September 2017 to 15 October 2018. They are the only pair of men to be consistently ranked in the Top 2 for four years continuously (from July 2005 to August 2009). Nadal ascended to No. 2 in July 2005 and held this spot for a record 160 consecutive weeks before surpassing Federer in August 2008.

Nadal vs. Djokovic

Novak Djokovic and Nadal have met 59 times (more than any other pair in the Open Era). Nadal leads 11–7 at Grand Slam events but trails 29–30 overall. They have played a joint-record 18 Grand Slam matches and a joint-record nine Grand Slam tournament finals (tied with Nadal–Federer). Nadal leads on clay 20–8, while Djokovic leads on hard courts 20–7, and they are tied on grass 2–2. In 2009, this rivalry was listed as the third greatest of the previous 10 years by ATPworldtour.com. Djokovic is one of only two players to have at least ten match wins against Nadal (the other being Federer) and the only person to defeat Nadal seven consecutive times, doing so twice, and two times consecutively on clay. The two earlier shared the record for the longest match played in a best of three sets (4 hours and 3 minutes) at the 2009 Mutua Madrid Open semifinals until the match between Roger Federer and Juan Martín del Potro in the London 2012 Olympics Semifinal, which lasted 4 hours and 26 minutes. They have also played in a record 14 ATP Masters finals.

Legacy

Nadal is, without a doubt, the best athlete in the history of Spain. Spain has to pay him a tribute for many, many years. Nadal is the king of Roland Garros and of world tennis. He has achieved a record that is very difficult to beat.

— Felipe VI, on Nadal's legacy after he won his 22nd Grand Slam at the French Open in 2022.

Nadal holds the joint-record for the most major men's singles titles in tennis history with Novak Djokovic, winning 22 titles. He stands alone in the Open Era as the player with the most clay court titles (63), consisting of an all-time record 14 French Open titles, 12 Barcelona Open titles, 11 Monte-Carlo Masters titles, and 10 Italian Open titles. His 14 French Open titles are a record at any single tournament, and he is the sole title leader in three key tiers of the ATP Tour; Grand Slam, ATP Masters 1000, and ATP 500. Nadal holds the record for the longest single-surface win streak in matches (81 on clay) and in sets (50 on clay) in the history of the Open Era. Nadal's dominance on clay is reflected by his honorific title as the "King of Clay", and he is widely regarded as the greatest clay-court player in history. Nadal's records and evolution into an all-court champion have established him as one of the greatest players in tennis history, with some former tennis players and analysts considering him to be the greatest tennis player of all time.

Former tennis player and eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi picked Nadal as the greatest of all time because of the way the Spaniard "had to deal with Federer, Djokovic, and Murray in the golden age of tennis". Nadal leads the head-to-head record at majors against the other members of the Big Three and holds the record for the most majors won beating a Big Three member en-route (13).

Playing style and coaching

It is important to have true inner humility, not false humility, accepting that it's not always good, bad moments are better tolerated. People sometimes exaggerate this business of humility. It's simply a question of knowing who you are, where you are, and that the world will continue exactly as it is without you.

Nadal, speaking to the press at the 2008 US Open

Nadal's playing style and personality has been described by Jimmy Connors: "He's built out of a mold that I think I came from also, that you walk out there, you give everything you have from the first point to the end no matter what the score. And you're willing to lay it all out on the line and you're not afraid to let the people see that."

Nadal generally plays an aggressive, behind-the-baseline game founded on heavy topspin groundstrokes, consistency, speedy footwork and tenacious court coverage, thus making him an aggressive counterpuncher. Known for his athleticism and speed around the court, Nadal is an excellent defender who hits well on the run, constructing winning plays from seemingly defensive positions. He also plays very fine dropshots, which work especially well because his heavy topspin often forces opponents to the back of the court.

Nadal employs a semi-western grip forehand, often with a "lasso-whip" follow-through, where his left arm hits through the ball and finishes above his left shoulder – as opposed to a more traditional finish across the body or around his opposite shoulder. Nadal's forehand groundstroke form allows him to hit shots with heavy topspin – more so than many of his contemporaries.

Public image

Equipment and endorsements

Nadal has been sponsored by Kia Motors since 2006. He has appeared in advertising campaigns for Kia as a global ambassador for the company. In May 2008, Kia released a claymation viral ad featuring Nadal in a tennis match with an alien. In May 2015, Nadal extended his partnership with Kia for another five years.

Nike serves as Nadal's clothing and shoe sponsor. Nadal's signature on-court attire entailed a variety of sleeveless shirts paired with 3/4 length capri pants. For the 2009 season, Nadal adopted more-traditional on-court apparel. Nike encouraged Nadal to update his look in order to reflect his new status as the sport's top player at that time and associate Nadal with a style that, while less distinctive than his "pirate" look, would be more widely emulated by consumers. At warmup tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Doha, Nadal played matches in a polo shirt specifically designed for him by Nike, paired with shorts cut above the knee. Nadal's new, more conventional style carried over to the 2009 Australian Open, where he was outfitted with Nike's Bold Crew Men's Tee and Nadal Long Check Shorts. Nadal wears Nike's Air CourtBallistec 2.3 tennis shoes, bearing various customizations throughout the season, including his nickname "Rafa" on the right shoe and a stylized bull logo on the left.

He became the face of Lanvin's L'Homme Sport cologne in April 2009. Nadal uses an AeroPro Drive racquet with a 4+1⁄4-inch L2 grip. As of the 2010 season, Nadal's racquets are painted to resemble the new Babolat AeroPro Drive with Cortex GT racquet in order to market a current model which Babolat sells. Nadal uses no replacement grip, and instead wraps two overgrips around the handle. He used Duralast 15L strings until the 2010 season, when he switched to Babolat's new, black-colored, RPM Blast string. Nadal's rackets are always strung at 55 lb (25 kg), regardless of which surface or conditions he is playing on.

Court name and tributes

In April 2017, the centre court of the Barcelona Open was named Pista Rafa Nadal. In 2021, prior to the start of tournament, the French Open paid tribute to Nadal with the installation of a 3-meters tall steel statue at Stade Roland Garros. It was created by Jordi Díez Fernández, one of Spain's most renowned sculptors.

In popular culture

Nadal's autobiography, Rafa (Hyperion, 2012, ISBN 1-4013-1092-3), written with assistance from John Carlin, was published in August 2011.[376] In February 2010, Rafael Nadal was featured in the music video of Shakira's "Gypsy". and part of her album release She Wolf. In explaining why she chose Nadal for the video, Shakira was quoted as saying in an interview with the Latin American Herald Tribune: “I thought that maybe I needed someone I could in some way identify with. And Rafael Nadal is a person who has been totally committed to his career since he was very young. Since he was 17, I believe.”

Asteroid

128036 Rafaelnadal is a main belt asteroid discovered in 2003 at the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca and named after Nadal. The decision to name the asteroid after Nadal was made by the International Astronomical Union in response to a request by the observatory. The asteroid is four kilometers in diameter and travels through space at a speed of 20 km per second.

Off the court

Rafa Nadal Sports Centre

Nadal owns and trains at the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre (40,000 m2, 430,000 sq ft) in his hometown of Manacor, Mallorca. The centre houses the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy, where the American International School of Mallorca is located. Also located in the centre is a sports residence, a Rafael Nadal museum, a health clinic, a fitness centre with spa and a café. The facility has 26 tennis courts among its sporting areas.

Greece, Kuwait, and Mexico branches

Nadal also owns and operates three other similar Rafa Nadal Academy/Centre facilities in Al Zahra, Kuwait (called the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait),[383] Cancún, Mexico (called the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre Mexico), and Chalkidiki, Greece (called the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre Greece).[385] The Mexico and Greece Centres started operations in 2019 while the Kuwait Academy opened in 2020.

Philanthropy

Nadal took part in Thailand's "A Million Trees for the King" project, planting a tree in honour of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on a visit to Hua Hin during his Thailand Open 2010. "For me it's an honour to be part of this project", said Nadal. "It's a very good project. I want to congratulate the Thai people and congratulate the King for this unbelievable day. I wish all the best for this idea. It's very, very nice.

Personal life

Nadal lived with his parents and younger sister María Isabel in a five-storey apartment building in their hometown of Manacor, Mallorca. In June 2009, Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, and then The New York Times, reported that his parents, Ana María and Sebastián, had separated. This news came after weeks of speculation in Internet posts and message boards over Nadal's personal issues as the cause of his setback. Nadal has been in a relationship with María Francisca (Mery) Perelló Pascual (often mistakenly referred to as Xisca in the press) since 2005, and their engagement was reported in January 2019. The couple married in October 2019. On 8 October 2022, they welcomed their first child, a son named Rafael.

Nadal is an agnostic atheist. Nadal speaks Spanish, Balearic Catalan and English.

In addition to tennis and football, Nadal enjoys playing golf and poker. In April 2014, he played the world's No. 1 female poker player, Vanessa Selbst, in a poker game in Monaco. In October 2020, Nadal competed in the professional-level Balearic Golf Championship, obtaining a World Amateur Golf Ranking in the process.

As a young boy, he would run home from school to watch Goku in his favorite Japanese anime, Dragon Ball. CNN released an article about Nadal's childhood inspiration, and called him "the Dragon Ball of tennis" owing to his unorthodox style "from another planet".

Despite playing tennis left-handed, Nadal is known for being right-handed while doing things in everyday life such as writing and playing golf.

Health

In 2021, Nadal announced that he had a rare chronic disorder of his left ankle, Mueller-Weiss syndrome. He was diagnosed at the age of 19 and held off surgery as long as he could. After surgery in 2021, he returned to tennis in early 2022, winning the Australian Open. He later received two numbing injections and anti-inflammatories before each of his seven matches en route to winning the 2022 French Open. Nadal stated that he is not willing to do this again. In an open statement regarding his injury, he said, "I am not injured, I am a player living with an injury."

Records

Open Era records

  • These records were attained in the Open Era of tennis.
  • Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
  • Records in italics are currently active streaks.
  • ^ Denotes consecutive streak.

Professional awards

  • ITF World Champion (5): 2008, 2010, 2017, 2019, 2022
  • ATP Player of the Year (5): 2008, 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019
  • Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year: 2006
  • Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year (2): 2011, 2021
  • Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year: 2014
  • BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year: 2010
  • ATP Newcomer of the Year: 2003
  • ATP Most Improved Player of the Year: 2005
  • Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (5): 2010, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year: 2011
  • ATP Comeback Player of the Year: 2013
  • ATP Fan's Favourite Award: 2022