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Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera (Catalan pronunciation: Spanish pronunciation: born 3 June 1986) is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked No. 1 in the world. He is 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 nine Grand Slam singles titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 18 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 7th player in history, and the youngest in the open era, to achieve it. He is the second male player to complete the Career Golden Slam (winner of the four grand slams and the Olympic Gold medal) after Andre Agassi.

Nadal was ranked World No. 2, behind Roger Federer for a record 160 consecutive weeks before earning the top spot, which he then held from 18 August 2008 to 5 July 2009.[8] He regained the World No.1 ranking on 7 June 2010 after winning his fifth French Open title.[9] In 2008, Nadal was given the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, in recognition of his achievements in tennis. 128036 Rafaelnadal is a Main belt asteroid discovered in 2003 at the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca, Spain and named after Rafael Nadal.

* 1 Biography
* 2 Tennis career
o 2.1 2002–2004
o 2.2 2005
o 2.3 2006
o 2.4 2007
o 2.5 2008
o 2.6 2009
o 2.7 2010
* 3 Rivalry with Roger Federer
* 4 Playing style
* 5 Grand Slams
o 5.1 Grand Slam performance timeline
o 5.2 Grand Slam Finals
+ 5.2.1 Singles: 11 (9 titles, 2 runner-ups)
* 6 Equipment and endorsements
* 7 Career statistics
* 8 ITF Grand Slams records
* 9 ATP Masters records
* 10 Other significant records
o 10.1 Grand slam records
o 10.2 Miscellaneous
o 10.3 Winning streaks
* 11 Rafael Nadal in popular culture
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 External links

[edit] Biography

Rafael Nadal was born in Manacor, Majorca to Sebastián Nadal and Ana María Parera. He has a younger sister named María Isabel. His uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a retired professional football player who played for RCD Mallorca, FC Barcelona, and the Spanish national team.[12] Nadal supports football clubs Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca.[13] Recognizing that Rafael 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. Toni Nadal has been coaching him ever since. Toni Nadal has not received a single penny for his coaching to Nadal all these years.[14]

At age eight, Nadal won an under-12 year regional tennis championship at a time when he was also a promising football player.[15] 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.[15] 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.[15] 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."[15]

When he was 14, the Spanish tennis federation requested that he leave Mallorca and move to Barcelona to continue his tennis progression and training. Nadal's family turned down this request, partly because they feared it would hurt his education,[15] but also because Toni Nadal 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."[14] 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.[12]

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.[16] Later that year, Nadal won all of his matches en-route to a winning campaign with Spain, over the US, in the junior Davis Cup in his second, and final, appearance on the ITF junior circuit.

By the age of 17, Nadal was ranked in the world's top 50 players. In 2003, he had won the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award. Early on in his career, Nadal picked up the trademark habit of biting the trophies he won.[17]

Nadal has revealed himself to be Agnostic.[18]
[edit] Tennis career
[edit] 2002–2004

In April 2002, at 15 years and 10 months, the World No. 762 Nadal won his first ATP match, defeating Ramón Delgado, and became the ninth player in the open era to do so before the age of 16.[19] The following year, Nadal won two Challenger titles and finished the year in the top 50. At his Wimbledon debut in 2003, Nadal became the youngest man to reach the third round since Boris Becker in 1984.[20] During 2004, Nadal played his first match against World No. 1 Roger Federer at the 2004 Miami Masters, and won in straight sets. He is one of the six players that defeated Federer that year (along with Tim Henman, Albert Costa, Gustavo Kuerten, Dominik Hrbatý and Tomáš Berdych). He missed most of the clay court season, including the French Open, because of a stress fracture in his left ankle.[12] Nadal at 18 years and six months became the youngest player to register a singles victory in a Davis Cup final for a winning nation.[21] By beating World No. 2 Andy Roddick, he helped Spain clinch the 2004 title over the United States in a 3–2 win. He finished the year ranked World No. 51.
[edit] 2005

At the 2005 Australian Open, Nadal lost in the fourth round to eventual runner-up Lleyton Hewitt. Two months later, Nadal 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 World No. 1 Roger Federer. Both performances were considered to be breakthroughs for Nadal.[22][23]

He then dominated the spring clay court season. He won 24 consecutive singles matches, which broke Andre Agassi's open era record of consecutive match wins for a male teenager.[24] Nadal won Torneo Conde de Godó in Barcelona, Spain and beat 2004 French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria in the finals of 2005 Monte Carlo Masters and 2005 Rome Masters. These victories raised his ranking to World No. 5[25] and made him one of the favorites at his career-first French Open. On his 19th birthday, Nadal defeated Federer in the 2005 French Open semifinals, being one of only four players who defeated the top seeded that year (along with Marat Safin, Richard Gasquet and David Nalbandian). Two days later, he defeated Mariano Puerta in the final, becoming the second male player to win the French Open on his first attempt since Mats Wilander in 1982: He also became the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Pete Sampras won the 1990 US Open at age 19.[12] Winning the French Open improved Nadal's ranking to World No. 3.[25]

Three days after his victory in Paris, Nadal's 24-match winning streak was snapped in the first round of the grass court Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, losing to the German Alexander Waske.[26] He then lost in the second round of 2005 Wimbledon to Gilles Müller of Luxembourg.

Immediately after Wimbledon, Nadal won 16 consecutive matches and three consecutive tournaments, bringing his ranking to World No. 2 on 25 July 2005.

Nadal started his North American summer hard court season by defeating Agassi in the final of the 2005 Canada Masters but lost in the first round of the 2005 Cincinnati Masters. Nadal was seeded second at the 2005 US Open, where he was upset in the third round by World No. 49 James Blake in four sets.

In September, he defeated Coria in the final of the China Open in Beijing and won both of his Davis Cup matches against Italy. In October, he won his fourth ATP Masters Series title of the year, defeating Ivan Ljubičić in the final of the 2005 Madrid Masters. He then suffered a foot injury that prevented him from competing in the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup.[27]

Both Nadal and Federer won eleven singles titles and four ATP Masters Series titles in 2005. Nadal broke Mats Wilander's previous teenage record of nine in 1983.[28] Eight of Nadal's titles were on clay and the remainder were on hard courts. Nadal won 79 matches, second only to Federer's 81. Nadal won the Golden Bagel Award for 2005 with eleven 6–0 sets during the year.[29] Also, he earned the highest year-end ranking ever by a Spaniard and the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year award
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rafael nadal