Rafael Nadal is notably a Spanish professional tennis player. He is the “King of Clay”, dominating it in almost every game, proving his worth as one of the very best in the beautiful sports of tennis. Having won numerous titles, including several grand slams, Nadal has captivated the minds and hearts of tennis lovers in every part of the world with his skilful antics. We examine the life of this great and noble sportsman in our Rafael Nadal biography facts, childhood and personal life.

Rafael Nadal Biography Facts

Full Name:Rafael Nadal Parera
Nicknames:King of clay, El Nino, Rafa, Rafi
Born:June 3, 1986 (age 32)
Place of Birth:Manacor, Mallorca, Spain
Zodiac Sign:Gemini
Nationality:Spanish
Height:6 feet 1 inch
Shoe Size:10
Weight:188 Ibs (85 kg)
Education:European University of Madrid (doctoral degree)
Parents:Sebastian Nadal (father), Ana Maria Parera (mother)
Siblings:Maria Isabel (Younger Sister)
Spouse:Xisca Perelló (partner/girlfriend)
Children:N/A
Net Worth:$160 million
Occupation:Tennis Player
Playing Career:2002–present

Rafael Nadal Childhood and Early Life

Rafael Nadal was born in the Balearic Island in spain. His father was abusiness man who named companies and a restaurant. Nadal was introduced to Tennis at the age of 3 by his uncle, Toni Nadal.  Nadal began winning Tennis championship at the age of 8. Nadal family turned down an invitation by the Spanish Federation to move to Barcelona to continue his training. Following his refusal, his father sponsored his expenses as a result of reduced sponsorship from the Federation.

Rafael Nadal Childhood photo
Rafael Nadal playing Tennis during his childhood/early years

Rafael Nadal Tennis Career

Young Nadal went professional at the age of 15, after turning pro he competed in two tournaments in the ITF junior circuit. Nadal recorded his first ATP match win in April 2002, when he was ranked No.762. At 16 years of age, Nadal got to the Wimbledon Boy’s Singles tournament semifinals, in what was his first ITF junior event. Nadal also went on to lead Spain in a triumphant win over rivals, the US in the Davies Cup in the same year.

ATP Newcomer of the Year

Nadal improvement in the game of tennis came to the fore when he clinched two Challenger title in 2003. At the close of the season, Nadal was ranked 49. Nadal also won the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award. In the same year, Nadal also debuted at the Wimbledon where he was eliminated in the third round. Nadal also won his first ATP title in 2003.

Nadal began his 2004 on a wonderful note winning a double championship with Tommy Robredo at the Maharashtra Open. He went on to compete in the Australian Open but was knocked out in the third round. He then went on to face Roger Federer who was ranked no.1 at the Miami Open which he won but was later defeated in the fourth round. Nadal’s season was cut short after sustaining a fracture in his left ankle, as a result, he missed the French Open as well as the clay court season. Nadal, however, went on to claim his first ATP singles title in August.

ATP Most Improved Player of the Year

Nadal continued to make significant improvements, in 2005 he was defeated in the fourth round of the Australian Open, Nadal came back strong to advance to the final of the Miami Masters where he was defeated by Roger Federer. The defeat made Nadal even more determined as he went on to dominate the clay court season, winning 24 consecutive games as well as claiming the Torneo Conde de Godo title as well as the Monte Carlo Masters and Rome Masters in 2005. Nadal successes at these various events catapulted his rankings to the no.5 spot. Nadal seemed to be unstoppable as he went on to be the first teenager to win a Grand slam title since Pete Sampras after he (Nadal) won the French Open. His win moved his ranking up by two places to no. 3.  In the 2005 Wimbledon, Nadal was knocked out in the second round, following his failure at Wimbledon, Nadal went on to win 16 consecutive games as well as three tournaments. This pushed up his ranking to no. 2. In September 2005, Nadal won the China Open, the next month, October saw him win his fourth ATP Masters series, the 2005 Madrid Masters. Nadal could not compete in the Tennis Masters Cup after sustaining a foot injury. At the end of the 2005 season, Nadal won eleven singles title and four ATP Masters series. He also had the highest ranking by a Spaniard and was named ATP Most Improved Player of the Year.

Rafael Nadal Maintains World No. 2 for two consecutive years

As a result of his foot injury, Nadal didn’t compete in the 2006 Australian Open. After returning from injury, Nadal lost out in the semifinal of the Open 13 tournament. He went on to defeat Roger Federer In the Dubai Duty-Free Men’s Open final. He was then defeated in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open and the second round of the 2006 Miami Masters. Nadal was triumphant in all four clay court tournaments he competed in and went on 24 consecutive wins. Nadal also defeated Roger Federer in the final of the French Open. Nadal suffered a shoulder injury in his quarterfinal match at the Artois Championship, which prevented him from completing the game.  At the Wimbledon, Nadal progressed to the final, where he was defeated by rival Roger Federer. After losing out at the Roger cup and Financial Group Masters, Nadal went on to compete in the US open where he was eliminated in the quarterfinal. Nadal didn’t win any title in the season after that but finished the year ranked no. 2 for the second year in a row.

3rd French Open Title

Nadal lost out in the 2007 Australian Open quarterfinals and the Dubai Tennis Championship quarterfinals, but went on to win the 2007 Indian Well Master, before sustaining a defeat in the hands Novak Djokovic at the 2007 Miami Masters. Nadal also won the Master series, Monte Carlo, the Open Sabadell  Atlantico and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. He lost to Roger Federer in the final of the Masters series Hamburg, but got a perfect payback after defeating him in the French Open final, winning the tournament for the third time. Nadal also won the Artois Championships for the second time.  Federer then went on to defeat Nadal in the Wimbledon final. Nadal was also successful at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, his last title for the 2007 season. At the year ending Tennis Cup, Nadal was defeated in the semifinal by Federer.

Nadal ended Rival Federer’s Reign as No. 1

Nadal’s 2008 campaign began with his defeat at the Chennai Open final in India, he then proceeded to compete in the Australian Open where he advanced to the semifinal for the first time. Nadal also made it to the final of the Miami Masters. Nadal also recorded numerous success in the clay court season in the spring of 2008, defeating Federer in three of those finals.  Nadal went on compete in the French Open which he won. Nadal then went on to face rival Federer in the Wimbledon final for the third time in a row. Before the final, Nadal was on a 23-match streak and was picked as the favourite to win. Nadal went on to win the Wimbledon to become the third man to win the Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year, in the Open era. Nadal also went on to win his second Rogers Cup and ended Federer reign in the no. 1 spot.

2008 Beijing Olympics Gold

He went on to win Olympic gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At the US Open, he progressed to the semifinals where he was beaten by Andy Murray. He also helped Spain defeat the US in the Davies Cup semifinals. Nadal withdrew from the Tennis Masters Cup and the Davis Cup final.

2009: Drop to No. 2 Spot

Nadal earned his first win in 2009 after he defeated rival Federer to win his first Australian Open title. He also lost to Andy Murray in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. He defeated Murray to win his 13th Masters 1000 series. In his clay court season, Nadal defeated Djokovic to win the Monte Carlo Masters as well as winning titles in Barcelona and the Rome Masters. In the Madrid Open, he lost to Federer in the quarterfinals. Nadal failed to defend his French Open title and also lost in the at the Roland Garros. Nadal, however, withdrew from the AEGON Championship as well as the Wimbledon as a result of a knee injury.  Nadal ranking suffered a drawback after rival claimed the Wimbledon. Nadal competed in the Rogers Cup but lost in the quarterfinals to Del Proto. Nadal ranking continued to suffer as Andy Murray advanced to no. 2. He also lost out in the semifinals of the US Open. At the end of the year, Nadal was ranked no. 2.

2010: French and US Open, Wimbledon and No. 1

Nadal began 2010 by winning the Capitala World Tennis Championship. In the Australian Open, Nadal was ousted in the quarterfinals. Nadal also was successful in the French Open, US Open as well as the Wimbledon. He ended the year in the no. 1 spot.

In 2011, Nadal could not defend his Australian Open title after suffering a hamstring injury in the quarterfinals. He lost to Nova Djokovic in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open and the Sony Ericsson Open. He won the 2011 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the Barcelona Open. He suffered defeat in the hands of Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Rome Masters, Madrid Open and Wimbledon. At the 2011 US Open, Nadal collapsed in his post-match conference after suffering from cramps, before losing to Djokovic in the final.

2012: Nadal wins his seventh French Open Title

In 2012, Nadal suffered defeat in the final of the Australian Open in the longest grand slam final of all time. In the French Open, Nadal proved victorious to claim his seventh French Open title. He lost out in the second round of the Wimbledon and withdrew from the Olympics. As a result of tendinitis in his knee. Nadal withdrew from the 2013 Australian Open title citing stomach virus as the reason.

Brasil, Barcelona and Madrid Open and World No. 1 Spot

Nadal won the Brasil Open as well as the Barcelona Open and the Mutua Madrid Open and the 2013 Rome Masters. Nadal also added the French Open title to his plethora of title. In October, after reaching the China Open, he got up to the no. 1 spot.

Nadal won the Qatar Open in 2014, at the Australian Open, he lost out in the final and went on to win the Rio Open, but lost in the finals of the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Masters. Nadal also was successful in the Madrid Open as well as the French Open.

2015: Nadal’s Decline in Rankings

2015 proved to be a year of struggles for Nadal as he failed to win any title.

In 2016, he began his season by winning the Mubadala title but lost out in the first round of the Australian Open. Nadal withdrew from the Roland Garros after sustaining a left wrist injury. He also withdrew from the French Open and the Wimbledon. At the 2016 Olympics, Nadal won gold.

2017: Grand Slam Title and return to No. 1 in ATP Rankings

In 2017, after losing out in the quarterfinal of the Brisbane International, Nadal progressed to the Australian Open final, losing to Federer. Nadal also recorded his first Grand slam win since 2014 after winning the French Open title. At Wimbledon, he lost out in the round of 16 of the Wimbledon. Nadal also returned to the no. 1 spot in the ATP rankings. He also progressed to win his third US Open title. At the end of the year, Nadal finished no. 1.

Rafael Nadal vs Paire, French Open 2017
Rafael Nadal destroying every rival in Paris during the French Open in 2017

In the 2018 Australian Open, Nadal lost out in the quarterfinals but dropped to the no. 2 spot in the rankings. Nadal sustained an injury which forced him to withdraw from the Mexican Open, Indian Well Masters and Miam Open. He also won his 11th Barcelona Open. He also won the Rome Masters. He earned his 17th Grand slam title by winning the French Open. He was defeated by Djokovic in the Wimbledon. In the US Open, he retired in the semifinal as a result of knee pain. He also withdrew from the Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury. This meant Nadal will be replaced by Djokovic in the no. 1 spot.

Rafael Nadal Personal life

Rafael Nadal with girlfriend Maria Perello
Rafael Nadal with his girlfriend, Maria Xisca Perelló
  • Nadal has been in a relationship with his girlfriend, Maria Perello, since 2005.
  • Nadal also has interest in other sports such as football, golf and poker.
  • He is a fan of Real Madrid football club and also a vigorous supporter of the Spanish national team side.
  • Nadal owns the Fundacion Rafa Nadal which is aimed at social works as well development of children and youths. Nadal’s mother chairs his foundation while his father acts as the vice-chairman.
  • He owns a tennis academy in Anantapur Sports village in India.

Rafael Nadal Awards and Achievement

Nadal has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, the second most in history for a male player.

Grand Slam Singles

  • French Open (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018)
  • Australian Open (2009)
  • US Open (2010, 2013, 2017)

Other Tournaments:

  • Olympic games (2008, 2016)
  • Davis Cup (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011)

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