Rafael Nadal biography
Born on June 3, 1986, Rafael Nadal is a Spanish professional tennis player who has been ranked among the world's Top 5 since 2003. Nadal is only the second male player to achieve the Career Golden Slam and the first to win seven French Open titles. He won the Roland Garros for four consecutive years, from 2005 to 2008, and went on to win Wimbledon 2008 against tennis star Roger Federer. In 2009, Nadal won the Australian Open, and came back to win his second Wimbledon in 2010, as well as his first U.S. Open and fifth Roland Garros tournament. The following year, a No. 1-ranked Nadal lost his top ranking as well as Wimbledon 2011 to Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic. Also in 2011, he won his sixth Roland Garros, followed by a seventh Rolland Garros win in 2012. In the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals, a No. 3-ranked Nadal lost to Czech player Lukas Rosol—a match that some commentators labeled one the biggest upsets in tennis history.
Rafael Nadal was born in Majorca, Spain on June 3, 1986. When he was 3 years old, his uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, started working with him, seeing an aptitude for the sport in young Rafael.
At the age of 8, Nadal won an under-12 regional tennis championship, giving Toni Nadal the incentive to step up his training. Toni noticed at the time that Rafael played his forehand shots with two hands, so he encouraged him to play left-handed, thinking it could give Rafael an edge on the court.
When Nadal was just 12 years old, he won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group, and at age 15, he turned pro and started playing on the junior circuit.
A Young Professional
At the age of 16, in his first ITF junior event, Nadal made it to the semifinals of the Boys' Singles tournament at Wimbledon. By age 17, he became the youngest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker.
At the age of 19, in 2005, Nadal won the French Open the first time he played it, and his world ranking went to No. 3. Nadal won 11 singles titles that year, eight of which were on clay, and he was soon dubbed the "King of Clay."
Hitting His Stride
Nadal went on to win the next three French Opens. After winning the French Open in 2006— despite both shoulder and foot injuries—he won four other titles. The following year, he won again at Roland Garros, and took home five other titles. Nadal poured it on in 2008, winning the French Open again, in addition to winning Wimbledon—where he beat longtime rival Roger Federer in the longest final in Wimbledon history—gold at the Beijing Olympics, and five other titles. After Wimbledon, Nadal's winning streak stood at a career-best 32 matches.
Since 2008, despite being occasionally hampered by injuries, Nadal has been one of the superstars of the tennis world, winning 15 titles and hitting No. 1 in the world-ranking twice (in August 2008 and again in June 2010). In 2009, he won the Australian Open, and came back to win his second Wimbledon in 2010, as well as his first U.S. Open and fifth Roland Garros tournament.
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.
A No. 3-ranked Nadal lost to Czech player Lukas Rosol in the Wimbledon semfinals in June 2012—Rosol's fifth Grand Slam win, and a match that some commentators labeled one the biggest upsets in tennis history.
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. Nadal has taken the Spanish Davis Cup team to victory four times (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011), and, by 2012, he had won the Roland Garros seven times.