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Spanish-born Rafael Nadal is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional tennis players of all time, completing the career Grand Slam by age 24—becoming the youngest in history to achieve the feat.
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The following year, a No. 1-ranked Nadal lost his top ranking as well as Wimbledon 2011 to Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic. In June 2012, however, Nadal defeated top-ranked Novak Djokovic to win his record seventh French Open title—a feat never accomplished before in men's tennis. That same month, a No. 3-ranked Nadal lost to Czech player Lukas Rosol in the Wimbledon semfinals—Rosol's fifth Grand Slam win,
and a match that some commentators labeled one the biggest upsets in tennis history.
In June 2013, Nadal won his eighth French Open title against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3—marking his eight French Open victory in nine attempts. "I never like to compare years, but it's true that this year means something very special for me," Nadal said after the match, in an interview with ESPN. "Five months ago nobody of my team dreamed about one comeback like this because we thought that [was] going to be impossible. But here we are today, and that's really fantastic and incredible."
Later that same month, Nadal lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Belgian player Steve Darcis. A shock to tennis fans who expected a strong performance from the Spanish player, Nadal lost the match in three sets, by 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4.
Nadal is only the second male player in tennis history to complete the Career Golden Slam—winning the French, Australian and U.S. Opens; Wimbledon; and the Olympic Gold medal. Additionally, by 2011, he had taken the Spanish Davis Cup team to victory four times (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
In 2013, the future of Nadal's career became the subject of much speculation. He won the French Open that year, but he made a poor showing at Wimbledon. At Wimbledon, Nadal was eliminated in the first round of competition. He seemed to be back on the upswing, however, at the U.S. Open. He defeated Novak Djokovic to win the men's singles title.
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