Rafael Nadal is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 2 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
Spanish tennis player who emerged in the early 21st century as one of the game’s leading competitors, especially noted for his performance on clay.
He won a record 12 career French Open championships, has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles and has been involved in five Davis Cup titles with Spain.
- Full name: Rafael Nadal Parera, also known as “Rafa Nadal”
- Profession: Spanish Tennis Player
- Born: 3 June 1986, Manacor, Spain
- Grand slams won (singles): 19
- Height: 1.85 m
- French Open: W (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019)
- Spouse: Xisca Perelló (m. 2019)
- Tour Finals: F (2010, 2013)
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About Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal was born on 3 June 1986 in Manacor, a town on the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain. He is the son of Ana María Parera 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 in Rafael a natural talent, another uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, introduced him to tennis when he was three years old.
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 also playing football.
Nadal’s father made him choose between football and tennis so that his school work 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.
Nadal has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, the second-most in history for a male player, as well as a record 35 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, 21 ATP Tour 500 titles and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles. In addition, Nadal has held the world No. 1 ranking for a total of 209 weeks, including being the year-end No. 1 five times.
In majors, Nadal has won a record twelve French Open titles, four US Open titles, two Wimbledon titles and one Australian Open title, and won at least one Grand Slam every year for a record ten consecutive years (2005–2014).
Nadal has won 85 career titles overall, including the most outdoor titles in the Open Era (83) and a record 59 titles on clay. With 81 consecutive wins on clay, Nadal holds the record for the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era.
Nadal has been involved in five Davis Cup titles with Spain, and currently has a 29-win streak and 29–1 record in singles matches at the event. In 2010, at the age of 24, he became the seventh male player and the youngest of five in the Open Era to achieve the singles Career Grand Slam.
Nadal is the second male player after Andre Agassi to complete the singles Career Golden Slam, as well as the second male player after Mats Wilander to have won at least two Grand Slams on all three surfaces (grass, hard court and clay).
He has received the tour Sportsmanship Award three times and has been named the ATP Player of the Year five times and the ITF World Champion four times. In 2011, Nadal was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.