Rafael Nadal is a professional Spanish tennis player. He is known for his exceptional performance on clay and known for his signature one-handed forehand. As of February 2020, he is ranked as No. 2 for men's singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Nadal was ranked No. 1 for the first time on August 18, 2008, and has been on the list for a total of 209 weeks. He has won a total of 19 Grand Slam titles which is the second-highest in history for a male tennis player. One of Nadal's greatest competitors is Roger Federer and the two have been playing against one another since 2004. The 2008 Wimbledon final with the both of them is considered one of the greatest tennis matches as it was the longest match in the history of the tournament. It was a total of 4 hours and 48 minutes and ended with Nadal taking the trophy home. Nadal is an exceptional player who has become an important figure in tennis.
Nadal officially turned professional in 2001. In 2002, he reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and in 2004 helped Spain win the Davis Cup against the United States during the finals. Nadal quickly became a top player on the ATP tour with his heavy topspin and forehand strike. In 2005, he registered 11 tournament victories including his French Open debut, and set a record. In 2006, Nadal continued his victories by winning five more titles on the ATP tour. Nadal had a record of 81 consecutive victories on clay surfaces in 2007 until losing to Federer during the final of the ATP Master Series. Finally, in 2009, he won his first Australian Open title where he beat Federer. As Nadal's career progressed with victories and losses, so did his fierce competition with Roger Federer. By 2020, Nadal had secured 12 French titles, 4 U.S. titles, 2 Wimbledon, and 1 Australian Open.
Nadal has won multiple awards during his professional career. He won the French Open title during the years of '05, '06, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, '17, '18 and '19. The 12 French Open titles are a record-breaking number. Next, he has won 4 U.S. Open titles during the years of 2010, 2013, 2017, and 2019. He has 1 title for the Australian Open which he won in 2009 and 2 Wimbledon titles which he won in 2008 and 2013. Not only that but Nadal also won 35 ATP Masters 100 titles. He also won two gold medals, once during the 2008 Olympics for singles and once during the 2016 Olympics for doubles. Lastly, Nadal won the Davis cup in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2019 for Spain.
Nadal grew up in sports in his family and was constantly around it. His uncle Miguel Angel Nadal was a professional soccer player and played in the World Cup in 2002. Rafael got introduced to tennis at the age of 3 and his other uncle Toni Nadal helped guide and train him. He played left-handed tennis with a two-handed backhand and forehand. Around the age of 12, his uncle suggested he should adopt a conventional style. This led Nadal to continue with his two-handed backhand and changed to his one-handed forehand which is his signature style.
Nadal has been in a relationship with Maria Francisca Perello Pascual since 2005. They got engaged in January 2019 and officially got married in October 2019.
Nadal's techniques are what sets him apart from his competitors. He is known for his one-handed forehand and topspin. He puts power into his topspin and shots. Nadal is usually known to play aggressively with his consistency, court coverage, and speedy footwork. He is also known for his speed and stamina which helps him when hitting back shots while on the run. Nadal's unique style of play has helped drive his success in tennis courts.
One of Nadal's biggest competitors is Roger Federer who he has been playing against since 2004. They have played 40 times against one another and Nadal leads with 24 victories while Federer has 16. Out of the 40, 20 matches have been on hard courts, 16 on clay courts, and 4 on the grass. They have met one another at all tournaments except the U.S. Open. Despite Nadal leading in victories, Federer still has one more Grand Slam title than Nadal. Although they are fierce competitors, both of them have been a career part of one another's careers.
Many consider Rafael Nadal the "King of Clay" due to his achievements on the clay court. His speed and stamina help him on the clay, alongside his remarkable footwork. He's very fast on the clay courts giving him an advantage. Playing on clay requires a lot of focus as momentum can change quickly, and Nadal pushes through every time. Playing on clay courts helps emphasize his tennis playing skills.
During the 2014 season, Nadal had suffered through multiple injuries and was struggling to get back into form during 2015. He was suffering from appendicitis and after suffering from a few losses, he decided to take the remainder of the 2014 season off to receive surgery and recover. Although, this did take him longer than he anticipated. He lost his 10-year streak of winning a Grand Slam title in 2015. Although he did encounter setbacks, he eventually gained his form and strength when he finally won the French Open in 2017.