Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal Parera “Rafa” was born June 3rd 1986 in Manacor, Mallorca to Sebastián, a businessman and a restaurant owner, and Ana María. He is a left handed tennis player with a height of 6.1 feet and 189 pounds. He was born in the family with a great sporting heritage as his two uncles, Miguel Angel Nadal and Tony Nadal, were a former F.C. Barcelona footballer and tennis player and coach respectively (Horn, 2006). Rafael Nadal had his first experience with tennis in 1990 when he was barely four years old. His uncle, Tony recognized his passion and natural talent in tennis and decided to coach him into professionalism.
At the age of eight, he won his first title in the under twelve regional tennis championship motivating his uncle to intensify his training. Interestingly, he used to play both forehand and backhand but Tony encouraged him to change to one-handed forehand in order to have a natural advantage on the tennis court and that’s how he ended up a left hand player but right handed off court (Horn, 2006). At this point, Nadal was passionate with both tennis and football and he could play both. However, this became detrimental to his school work as his class work was drastically deteriorating. When he was twelve, he won his age group tennis title in the Spanish and European championship and it is at this point that he made up his mind to specialize in tennis and drop football.
The Spanish federation wanted to sponsor Nadal’s progression and training in tennis and therefore requested him to move from Mallorca to Barcelona. Nadal’s family turned down the offer because they believed it would jeopardize Nadal’s education. His uncle and coach also believed that Nadal did not have to be in America to excel; under his training he could be successful even from home. Rejecting the offer on the other hand meant limited financial support from Spanish tennis federation and therefore, his father had to cover most of the costs.
Nadal ventured fully into tennis profession in 2001 when he was fifteen years. He defeated Pat Cash, the former grand slam champion in a play court exhibition match in May 2001. Nadal won his first ATP (Association of Tennis Professions) match after defeating Delgado becoming the ninth player to do so in the open era before the 16th birthday. In 2002, he participated in his first ITF (International Tennis Federation), the ITF junior circuit, where he reached semifinals of the Boy’s Singles tournament at Wimbledon. Later in the same year, he also won all his matches while travelling to a winning campaign in Spain. This was his second and final appearance on the ITF junior circuit. At 16, he was ranked among the best top 100 singles players. His first appearance at the Wimbledon at the age of 17, crowned him the title of being the youngest male participant to have reached 3rd round since 1984.
He won two other challenger titles and was ranked in the world’s top 50 players. Nadal was also ranked the world’s second youngest player to win the ATP new comer of the year and the youngest player to reach the third round since 1984. Rafael Nadal reached the Spanish championship in July 2003 but lost to Lopez. However, Nadal continued to improve. In 2004, he challenged and won with straight sets the world’s No. 1 Roger Federer at the 2004 Miami Master joining the six players who defeated Federer that year. At eighteen years, he defeated again the world’s No.2 Andy Roddick securing 2004 title for Spain over the US in a 3-2 win. Nadal was ranked the year World’s No. 51.
2005 was an exclusive year for Nadal as he won both the Monte Carlo and Rome ATP Master Series events and also broke the Andre Agassi record of consecutive matches win for male teenager after winning 24 consecutive matches in the season. His ranking was elevated to the world’s No.5 becoming the youngest top ten players since 1993. Two days after his birthday, Nadal won the 2005 French Open after defeating Mariano Puerta making him the third male to win the French open on his first attempt since Gustavo Kuerten 1997. His World ranking improved to No.3. Nadal won three other consecutive tournaments and sixteen matches improving his rank to World’s No. 2.
In 2006, Nadal became the first Spanish man since 1966 to reach the Wimbledon final but lost to the three year defending champion Federer. He was more determined and visionary to reach the unlimited sky and in the following year Nadal he won different titles such as the Master series Monte Carlo, the Master series internazionali BNL d’ltalia held in Rome and Open Sabadel Atlantico that was held in Brazil. Although he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Indian wells semifinals in 2008, Nadal achieved his goal of securing the Wimbledon title by beating Federer in the finals. He also won the Olympic gold medal held in Beijing, the Monte Carlo, Toronto and Hamburg titles as well as the hard and grass courts.
In 2009, Nadal entered and won the double event tournament with his partner Lopez Mark against the world’s No.1 double team, Daniel Nestor and Nened Zimonjic. He also won the first five matches at the Australian Open semi finals before beating his counterpart Fernando Verdasco. This opened an opportunity to meet for the first time in a Hard court, Roger Federer whom he defeated in five sets. He secured his first title for the grand slam singles. Later in the same year, he won the thirteenth Master 1000 series tournament at the 2009 Indian wells Master.
Nadal has exclusive unworkable skills of playing defensive baseliner on the grass making his way in the profession to the current the second in the world. In the 2010 internazionali BNL d’italia, Nadal beats all his three opponents all in straight sets registering 57 straight matches by April. His success in the final earned him the 17th Masters title attaining Andre Agassi’s record. At the US open, Nadal becomes the top seed again after defeating eight opponents without dropping even a single set reaching the finals. He became the eighth man to reach the finals of all four majors in the Open Era. He won the finals completing the Career Grand Slam hence becoming the second male at complete a career Golden Slam after Andre Agassi. Currently, he is ranked the second best player with a sixty consecutive win matches (Horn, 2006).
Work cited:
Horn, Geoffrey M. Rafael Nadal. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Pub, 2006. Print.
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