Who Is Rafael Nadal?
Rafael Nadal is among the most successful and popular tennis stars of all time. Currently ranked #2 in the world, the Spaniard has spent some time at #1 in the past, although generally playing second fiddle to first Roger Federer and more recently Novak Djokovic. Nadal’s amazing career has seen him win a total of 13 titles in Grand Slam singles events: eight in the French Open, two each at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and one at the Australian Open. Since his first victory in Paris in 2005, he has only been defeated once, in 2009. This astonishing performance has led him to be dubbed “The King of Clay” by many fans and tennis journalists.
After turning professional in 2003, Nadal was usually most at home on clay courts, and for the early part of his career he was often seen as a clay court specialist. It took him a while to come to terms with other surfaces, and in an era containing players like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and later Andy Murray, anything below total ability was not good enough to win at other slams. However, he worked extremely hard at his game, and at his peak in 2010 he recorded a 25-1 win record in major tournaments, picking up the French, Wimbledon and U.S. titles.
As well as his superb performances in majors, Nadal has also excelled in other tournaments. He was the Olympic champion at the 2008 Beijing Games, and has four times been a member of a Spanish team which has triumphed at the Davis Cup. Away from tennis, Nadal is known for his commitment to charitable work. He set up the Rafa Nadal Foundation to encourage child and youth development, and has also traveled to India in order to assist in some of that country’s poorest areas. He is a keen golfer and soccer player, and in his childhood was a fan of the Dragon Ball anime series.