Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera, born 3 June 1986 is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time; his success on clay has earned him the nickname "The King of Clay", and has prompted many experts to regard him as the greatest clay court player of all time.
Nadal has won ten Grand Slam singles titles, including 6 French Open titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 19 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, and also was part of the Spain Davis Cup team that won the finals in 2004, 2008 and 2009. He completed the career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 US Open, being the seventh player in history, and the youngest of four in the open era, to achieve it. He is the second of two male players to complete the Career Golden Slam (winner of the four grand slams and the Olympic Gold medal) after Andre Agassi.
Nadal had a 32-match winning streak in 2008, starting at the 2008 Masters Series Hamburg to the 2008 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open, which included titles at Hamburg, the French Open (where he did not drop a set), Queen's Club, his first ever title at Wimbledon, and the Rogers Cup. In 2011, by winning the Monte Carlo Masters, he became the only player to have won seven editions of a tournament in a row at the ATP level. Nadal was ranked world No. 2, behind Roger Federer, for a record 160 consecutive weeks before earning the top spot, which he held from 18 August 2008 to 5 July 2009. He regained the world No.1 ranking on 7 June 2010, after winning his fifth French Open title.
Rafael Nadal was born in Manacor, Majorca, Spain to Sebastián Nadal, a businessman managing his own restaurant, Sa Punta; a glass and window glass company, Vidres Mallorca; and owns an insurance company as well. His mother is Ana María Parera, a housewife. He has a younger sister named María Isabel. His uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a retired professional footballer, who played for RCD Mallorca, FC Barcelona, and the Spanish national team. Nadal supports football clubs Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca. Recognizing that Nadal had a natural talent for tennis, another uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, introduced him to tennis when he was three years old.
At age eight, 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 at that time he encouraged Nadal to play left-handed for a natural advantage on the tennis court, as he noticed Nadal played forehand shots with two hands. When Nadal was 12, he won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group and was playing tennis and football all the time. 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 he leave Majorca and move to Barcelona to continue his tennis training. Nadal's family turned down this request, partly because they feared it would hurt his education, 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 that Nadal received less financial support from the federation; instead, Nadal's father covered the costs. In May 2001, he defeated former Grand Slam champion Pat Cash in a clay-court exhibition match.
At 15, he turned pro. Nadal participated in two events on the ITF junior circuit. In 2002, at the age of 16, Nadal reached the semifinals of the Boy's Singles tournament at Wimbledon, in his first ITF junior event.
By the age of 17, he beat Roger Federer the first time they played and became the youngest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker. At 18, he helped pace Spain over the US in the junior Davis Cup in his second, and final, appearance on the ITF junior circuit. At 19, Nadal won the French Open the first time he played it, a feat not accomplished in Paris for more than 20 years. He eventually won it the first four times he played at Roland Garros. In 2003, he had won the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award. Early in his career, Nadal picked up the trademark habit of biting the trophies he won.
Rafael Nadal in 2011
Nadal started 2011 by participating in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He defeated Tomáš Berdych 6–4, 6–4 to reach his third final in the exhibition tournament. In the final, he won over his main rival Roger Federer 7–6, 7–6.
At his first tour event of the year in an Australian Open warm-up tournament, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open ATP 250 event in Doha, Qatar, Nadal barely struggled past his first three opponents, Karol Beck 6–3, 6–0, Lukáš Lacko 7–6, 0–6, 6–3, and Ernests Gulbis 7–6, 6–3 citing fever as the primary reason for his poor performance. He fell in straight sets to a resurgent Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals, 6–3, 6–2. He and countryman López won the doubles title by defeating the Italian duo Daniele Bracciali and Andreas Seppi 6–3, 7–6.
In the first round of the Australian Open, Nadal defeated Marcos Daniel of Brazil 6–0, 5–0 ret. In the second round, he beat upcoming qualifier Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6–2, 6–1, 6–1. In the third round, he was tested by emerging player Bernard Tomic of Australia, who previously ousted Nadal's countryman Feliciano López, but Nadal was victorious with a score of 6–2, 7–5, 6–3. He went on to defeat Marin Čilić of Croatia 6–2, 6–4, 6–3 in the fourth round. He suffered an apparent hamstring injury against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer early in the pair's quarterfinal match and ultimately lost in straight sets 4–6, 2–6, 3–6, thus ending his effort to win four major tournaments in a row.
On 7 February 2011, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Nadal won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the first time, ahead of footballer Lionel Messi, Sebastian Vettel, Spain's Andres Iniesta, Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
In March, Nadal helped Spain defeat Belgium in a 2011 Davis Cup World Group first-round tie on hard indoor in Spiroudome, Charleroi, Belgium. Nadal defeated Ruben Bemelmans 6–2, 6–4, 6–2. After Spain's victory in three matches, Nadal played a second unnecessary match against Olivier Rochus and won 6–4, 6–2.
At the 2011 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Nadal defeated upcoming qualifier Rik de Voest of South Africa 6–0, 6–2 in the first match. In the Third round, he beat upcoming qualifier Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6–3, 6–1. He then defeated upcoming Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman 7–5, 6–4 in the Fourth round. In the quarterfinals Nadal had a hard time against Croatian Ivo Karlovic but won 5–7, 6–1, 7–6, and in the semi-finals he met Argentine player Juan Martin del Potro, back from a long injury. The last three confrontations between the players was in favor of Del Potro, and despite some difficulties Nadal won 6–4, 6–4. He reached his third final at Indian Wells, and in the final lost against Novak Djokovic. The Serbian player won 6–4, 3–6, 2–6. The next day Nadal and Djokovic played a friendly match in Bogota, Colombia which Nadal won.
Nadal started the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open win over Japanese player Kei Nishikori 6–4, 6–4, then met his compatriot Feliciano Lopez in the third round, whom he defeated 6–3, 6–3, and in the fourth round defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6–1, 6–2. In the quarterfinals Nadal had the first real test of the tournament where he met the world No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych. After a good first set, Nadal's level of play fell significantly due to an injured right shoulder, and he lost the second set. He eventually triumphed 6–2, 3–6, 6–3. in the semi-finals Nadal met main rival Roger Federer, their first meeting in a semi-final since the 2007 Masters Cup. Nadal was swiftly victorious at 6–3, 6–2; this match was one of the fastest matches played on hard courts. For the second time in two weeks, Nadal faced Novak Djokovic in the final. As in the Indian Wells tournament, Nadal won the first set, and Djokovic the second. The third set ended in a tiebreak with Djokovic winning the match 4–6, 6–3, 7–6. This is the first time Nadal reached the finals of Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.
Nadal began his clay-court season in style, winning the 2011 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters with the loss of just one set. Nadal defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6–2, 6–2, Richard Gasquet 6–2, 6–4, Ivan Ljubicic 6–1, 6–3 and Andy Murray 6–4, 2–6, 6–1 in the semi-final to reach his seventh consecutive final in Monte Carlo. In the final, Nadal avenged his defeat by David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Australian Open and won the match 6–4, 7–5. He is the first man to have won the same tournament seven times in a row at the ATP level in the open era. Nadal chalked up his 37th straight win at the clay-court event, where he has not lost since the 2003 Monte Carlo Masters. It was his 44th career title and 19th at a Masters event. Nadal lost his three previous finals, twice to world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and once to No. 3 Roger Federer. It was his first title since winning the Japan Open. Guillermo Coria was the last player to beat Nadal at Monte Carlo, in the third round in 2003. Nadal missed the 2004 tournament because of an injury. Nadal shares third place with Björn Borg and Manuel Orantes in the list of players with the most titles on clay.
Just a week later won his sixth Barcelona Open crown, winning the 2011 Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell in straight sets. He won the final over Ferrer again (3rd Barcelona final and 5th clay court final), 6–2, 6–4. In doing so Nadal became the first man in the open era to have won two specific tournaments at least six times each. Nadal is now the leader in terms of matches won this year, with 29. He did not gain any points for this victory, however, as only four ATP 500 tournaments can be counted towards a players ranking at one time, but they will go into effect 08.08.2011 when the result of the 2010 Legg Mason Tennis Classic ATP 500 tournament of Washington expires.
At the Madrid in May, he defeated Marcos Baghdatis, had a walkover against Juan Martin del Potro, and defeated Michaël Llodra and Roger Federer, before losing the final to Novak Djokovic, 7–5, 6–4. Nadal lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the Rome Masters final, 6–4, 6–4. This marked the first time that Nadal has lost twice on clay, to the same player, in a single season. However, Nadal retained his number one ranking during the clay court season and won his sixth French Open title by defeating Roger Federer 7–5, 7–6, 5–7, 6–1.
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. As one of the most intense players in men's tennis he is 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 is primarily a baseliner, although he has been noted by several commentators (including John McEnroe) as an excellent volleyer, which has contributed to his reaching four Wimbledon finals on grass, winning two of them, and has been observed approaching the net more often since 2009.
In recent years, Nadal employs a full 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. San Francisco tennis researcher John Yandell used a high-speed video camera and special software to count the average number of revolutions of a tennis ball hit full force by Nadal. "The first guys we did were Sampras and Agassi. They were hitting forehands that in general were spinning about 1,800 to 1,900 revolutions per minute. Federer is hitting with an amazing amount of spin, too, right? 2,700 revolutions per minute. Well, we measured one forehand Nadal hit at 4,900. His average was 3,200." While Nadal's shots tend to land short of the baseline, the characteristically high bounces his forehands achieve tend to mitigate the advantage an opponent would normally gain from capitalizing on a short ball. Although his forehand is based on heavy topspin, he can hit the ball deep and flat with a more orthodox follow through for clean winners.
Nadal has appeared in advertising campaigns for Kia Motors 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. Nadal also has an endorsement agreement with Universal DVDs.
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.
Becomes the face of Lanvin's L’Homme Sport cologne, launched 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.
As of January 2010, Rafa is the international ambassador for Quely, a company from his native Majorca that manufactures biscuits, bakery and chocolate coated products; he has consumed their products ever since he was a young child.
In 2010, luxury watchmaker Richard Mille announced that he had developed an ultra-light wristwatch in collaboration with Nadal called the Richard Mille RM027 Tourbillon watch. The watch is made of titanium and lithium and is valued at US$525,000; Nadal was involved in the design and testing of the watch on the tennis court. During the 2010 French Open, Men's Fitness reported that Nadal wore the Richard Mille watch on the court as part of a sponsorship deal with the Swiss watchmaker.
Nadal owns an Aston Martin DBS. Nadal lived with his parents and younger sister Maria Isabel, at an age when many tennis stars have long moved out, in a five-story apartment building in their hometown of Manacor, Mallorca. In June 2009, Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia and then The New York Times reported that Nadal's parents, Ana Maria and Sebastian, had separated. This news came after weeks of heated speculation in Internet posts and message boards over Nadal's personal issues as the cause of his setback. Nadal has revealed himself to be Agnostic.
The Rafa Nadal Foundation
The creation of the organization took place in November 2007 and its official presentation was in February 2008 at the Manacor Tennis Club in Mallorca, Spain. The foundation will focus on social work and development aid particularly on childhood and youth. On deciding why to start a foundation, "This can be the beginning of my future, when I retire and have more time, I am doing very well and I owe society, A month-and-a-half ago I was in Chennai, in India. The truth is we live great here....I can contribute something with my image..." Nadal was inspired by the Red Cross benefit match against malaria with Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, recalling, "We raised an amount of money that we would never have imagined. I have to thank Iker, my project partner, who went all out for it, That is why the time has come to set up my own foundation and determine the destination of the money." Ana Maria Parera, Rafa's mom, will chair the organization and father Sebastian will be vice-chairman. Coach and uncle Toni Nadal and his agent, former tennis player Carlos Costa, are also involved. Roger Federer has been giving Rafa advice on getting involved in philanthropy. Despite the fact that poverty in India struck him particularly hard, Nadal wants to start by helping "people close by, in the Balearic Islands, in Spain, and then, if possible, abroad.
On 16 October 2010, Rafa traveled to India for the first time to assist in the transformation of one of the poorest and most needy areas of India, Andhra Pradesh. He has an academy in the south of the country, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. His foundation has also worked in the Anantapur Educational Center project, in collaboration with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation.