rafael nadal 1 300x300 photoRafael Nadal has become known across the world as the King of Clay after becoming the most successful ever player on the surface. He has long-held his station as being one of the top four players in the world, only dropping down to world number five after missing seven months of action in the 2012 season. A record holder of the French Open Grand Slam, the Spaniard is one of the most recognisable figures who has transformed the level of the modern game. Nadal has been able to rely upon an incredible sense of anticipation which helps him produce one of the strongest defensive games on the ATP. But the left handed also has a venomous array of winning strokes in his arsenal, from what appear to be defensive situations, along with a never-say-die attitude.



Rafael Nadal was born in Mallorca, Spain in 1986 to Sebastian Nadal and Ana Maria Parera. It was his uncle Toni though that spotted the talent that he had for tennis, and first stuck a racquet in Rafael’s hands at the age of three. By the time he was eight, he was ready an under 12 regional champion, although he was forced to decide between pursuing a promising tennis or football career. The former option was chosen for him by his father. interestedly Nadal wasn’t a natural left hander, he was trained to play left-handed in order to gain the natural advantage which comes with it, on the court. Nadal turned professional at the age of 15 and first reached the world number one spot in August of 2008.


ATP Tour History

Even before he was sixteen, Nadal has scored his first ever ATP Tour match, even though he was ranked 762nd in the world at the time in 2002. Within a year he was inside the top fifty in the world and it was in 2004 that he first met Roger Federer on the ATP Tour, and beat the Swiss star in straight sets at the Miami Masters. Nadal became the youngest ever player to win a singles match in a Davis Cup final in 2004 as he helped Spain beat the USA. Nadal reached his first ATP World Tour finals in 2004, reaching the final two in Auckland and in Sopot. While he lost in New Zealand on the hard court, interestly his win in Sopot, Poland was on clay, starting a remarkable career haul of clay court titles. After his title breakthrough in 2004, Nadal ramped things up taking a staggering eleven titles in 2005, including four Masters titles, winning a then record-breaking 24 consecutive matches in a row.


Grand Slam History

Remarkably, in the 2005 season, Rafael Nadal got his hands on his first ever Grand Slam title, coming on the clay at the French Open. It sparked a run of four straight French Open titles in a row, and in claiming the title for the seventh time in 2012, Nadal became the most successful man ever to play at the tournament. Up to and including 2012, Nadal had posted a remarkable 52-1 match record at the French Open. In his third consecutive Wimbledon final, Nadal finally got his hands on the title in London in 2008, the only other Grand Slam which he has won more than once to date. Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 and the US Open in 2010.