Full Name: Rafael Nadal Parera
Date of Birth: June 3rd, 1986
Place of Birth: Manacor, Majorca
Height: 6ft 1in
Turned Professional: 2001
Photo of Rafael Nadal by Carine06
Rafael Nadal is the top rated Spanish player and a former World number one. He is regarded by many as the greatest clay court player of all time. He has eleven Grand Slam titles including seven French Open and two Wimbledon titles. He has fifty career victories and an Olympic Gold medal from 2008. He withdrew from the 2013 Australian Open through ill health and subsequently dropped out of the top four in the world rankings for the first time since 2005.
Nadal won his first ATP match in 2002 when only fifteen years of age, winning two Challenger titles the following year and becoming the youngest player to reach the third round of Wimbledon since Boris Becker. He also reached the third round of the 2004 Australian Open and later that year beat world no. 1 Roger Federer at the 2004 Miami Masters, finishing the year just outside the top 50.
In 2005, Nadal won 24 consecutive matches with victories in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Rome. These victories saw him rise to number five in the world rankings and made him one of the favourites for the French Open. He defeated Federer in the semi-finals and Mariano Puerta in the final, becoming the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Pete Sampras in 1990. Following a shock second round exit from Wimbledon, Nadal won 16 consecutive matches and three consecutive tournaments to move to world number two. Nadal won the 2005 Canada Masters, the China Open and the Madrid Masters. Both he and Federer won eleven singles titles and four ATP Masters Series titles in 2005.
Nadal missed the Australian Open in 2006 due to a foot injury. On European clay, Nadal won 24 consecutive matches and all four tournaments that he contested. When he won the Masters Series Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, he equalled Björn Borg's record of 16 ATP titles won as a teenager. Nadal then broke Guillermo Vilas's 29-year old record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories on his way to winning the French Open. He also became the first player to defeat Federer in a Grand Slam final. Federer gained his revenge at Wimbledon, beating Nadal in four sets in the final.
Nadal recorded his first tournament win of 2007 at the Indian Wells Masters before adding further titles at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome before losing his first match on clay in 81 starts to Roger Federer in Hamburg. He won the French Open for the third straight year, again beating Federer in the final.
Federer again gained his revenge on his favoured surface at Wimbledon, this time in a five-set final. Nadal’s last title victory of the year came in Stuttgart, after which he struggled with a knee injury suffered during his epic Wimbledon final.
In 2008, Nadal then reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time, losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal won four singles titles during the clay-court season and retained his French Open title without dropping a set. Nadal then met Federer in the final of Wimbledon for the third consecutive year, eventually winning 9-7 in the final set. He ended Federer's run of five successive Wimbledon titles and 65 straight wins on grass. Nadal extended his winning streak to a career-best 32 matches and achieved the world number 1 ranking, ending Federer's record four-and-a-half-year reign. He won Olympic gold before losing to Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the US Open.
At the 2009 Australian Open, Nadal had to overcome his compatriot Fernando Verdasco in a match lasting 5 hours and 14 minutes to secure a place in the final against Federer. He defeated Federer in five sets before going on to victory at Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. Records continued to tumble as he went on to the French Open but his winning-streak was finally broken by Robin Söderling in the 4th round. Continuing knee problems caused Nadal to pull out of the 2009 Wimbledon Championship, recovering in time to reach the semi-finals of the US Open. Nadal finished the year as world number two for the fourth time in five years.
Nadal was forced to pull out of his quarter-final match with Andy Murray in the Australian Open due to his on-going knee problems. He returned to chalk up a remarkable sixth straight win in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in Monaco although he missed Barcelona, despite having also won that event for the previous five years. At the Madrid Open he recorded his 18th Masters title and became the first player to win all three clay-court Masters titles in a single year. Nadal won the French Open with victory over Söderling 6–4, 6–2, 6–4 and reclaimed the number one spot from Federer. Nadal won his second Wimbledon title with a straight sets win over Tomáš Berdych 6–3, 7–5, 6–4. He went on to reach his first US Open final, beating Novak Djokovic 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–2 to complete a Career Grand Slam.
Nadal suffered a hamstring injury against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Australian Open, thwarting his attempt to win four consecutive Grand Slams. He was the first man to win the same tournament seven times in a row at Monte Carlo, winning his 37th straight match at the clay-court event. He then won his sixth Barcelona title, again beating Ferrer in the final. The Spaniard won his sixth French Open title by defeating Roger Federer, 7–5, 7–6, 5–7, 6–1. At Wimbledon, Nadal lost in a four-set final to Novak Djokovic, who had beaten Nadal in all four of their matches in 2011 (all in Masters finals). The Serb also claimed the world number one spot from Nadal. It was a similar story at the US Open, Djokovic again winning in four sets.
Nadal was beaten by the Serb yet again in the final of the Australian Open in 2012, this time in five sets, the longest ever match for a Grand Slam title lasting 5 hours and 53 minutes. He would secure his 8th consecutive Monte Carlo trophy by finally beating Djokovic in the final, 6–3, 6–1. He then racked up a seventh title in Barcelona and beat Djokovic in a second final in Rome (his sixth). The two would meet again in the 2012 French Open final, the first time that the same two players had faced each other in four consecutive Grand Slam finals. Nadal defeated Djokovic 6–4 6–3 2–6 7–5 to win a record 7th Roland Garros title. At Wimbledon, Nadal was stunned by Lukáš Rosol in the second round, a player who was then ranked 100th in the world. He withdrew from the 2012 Olympics due to tendinitis in his knee and was also forced to pull out of the US Open in New York. Nadal hopes to start his 2013 season at the VTR Open in Chile followed by the Brasil Open at Sao Paulo.