Rafael Nadal won the US Open for the fourth time recently, taking his tally of Grand Slam wins to 19. This is just one short of Roger Federer’s record of 20.
This win also proved why Nadal is counted as one of the greatest of all time in tennis. His grit, resilience, and determination are par excellence. At 33, this legend is still playing his best tennis ever!
Here are a few interesting facts about this ace tennis player.
- Born on 3rd June 1986 in Mallorca, Spain to Sebastian Nadal and Ana Maria Parera, Rafael Nadal began playing tennis at the young age of 3.
- He was introduced to the sport of tennis by his uncle, Toni Nadal, who also served as his coach for a long time.
- Nadal entered the world of professional tennis at the age of 15.
- At 17, he was the youngest player to ever reach the third round of the Wimbledon Championships.
- At the young age of 19, Nadal played his first French Open in 2005 and won it, a feat that was not achieved in the previous 20 years.
- Nadal has been known as ‘The King of Clay’ for his mastery over clay court surfaces. He has won the French Open, which is played on clay, a record 12 times till date – the highest by any player ever. He also holds the record for winning the most consecutive French Open titles ever – 5.
- By winning 12 French Open titles, he is the only player in the history of the sport to win 12 titles at a single major.
- The finals of the Wimbledon Championships held in 2018, widely considered as the best tennis match in history, was between the two greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal won the match that lasted for 4 hours and 48 minutes, lifting the Wimbledon trophy for the first time ever and becoming the first person from Spain to do so in the Open Era.
- He is the youngest player ever to complete a career Grand Slam (winning all four Grand Slams) and a career Golden Slam (winning all four Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold).
- He is the founder of the Rafa Nadal Foundation, which leverages sports and education to empower children and teenagers to make the most of their abilities.
- Nadal has started a school called the Nadal Educational and Tennis School in the town of Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, a state in the southern part of India. The school seeks to “utilise Tennis as a tool for the holistic development of underprivileged and rural youth in Anantapur, by focusing on improving their health and well-being, supporting their education and teaching the sport of Tennis.”
- There is an asteroid named after Nadal! Previously called 128036, the Rafael Nadal asteroid is four kilometres in diameter and is between Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered in 2003 and was named after the tennis player in 2008.
- Among his many awards and accolades are the Laureus World Sports Award for ‘Sportsman of the Year’ in 2011 and the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 2010.
- Nadal has the peculiar habit of biting his trophies after he is presented with them!
Wishing that this legend continue to delight tennis fans across the world with his prowess!0