About Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is widely considered the best clay-court player tennis has ever seen. Nadal had an 81-match clay court winning streak, an Open-Era record, that ended in 2006, but most impressive was the dominance with which he won the biggest clay-court tournament of all, Roland Garros (the French Open), four years in a row, 2005-2008.
In 2006, Nadal proved that, unlike most clay-court players, he had become quite comfortable on other surfaces as well, making the final at Wimbledon, where even the slower grass is as opposite to clay as outdoor courts get. Rafa made the Wimbledon final again in 2007 and lost for the second time to Roger Federer, but in 2008 he defeated Federer for his first major title not on clay, and he started 2009 with an Australian Open title, confirming his comfort on hard courts as well. Knee trouble and a brilliant performance by Robin Soderling ended Nadal’s Roland Garros streak in 2009, and Rafa skipped Wimbledon to rest his knees. Nadal made the semifinals of the 2009 US Open, as he had in 2008, but he needed another year to win it and complete his career Grand Slam in 2010.
Rafael began playing tennis at age three under the guidance of his uncle Toni. Nadal played two-handed on both sides as a small child and then with a one-handed forehand with his natural right arm until, at age 9 or 10, his uncle switched him to a left-handed forehand and serve. Rafa was also an avid and excellent soccer player until age 12, when his father made him choose between soccer and tennis. In junior tennis, Rafael regularly beat older opponents, and he won several tournaments in Spain and nearby parts of Europe, but he didn’t play as globally as most rising stars do. The only major he played as a junior was the 2002 Wimbledon, where he reached the semifinal.
Nadal entered professional tennis early and strong, winning his first ATP match in 2001 while still 15. He won several Futures titles in 2001 and a couple of Challengers in 2003, when, at age 17, he also made decent showings at Wimbledon, where he reached the third round, and the US Open, where he reached the second round. In 2004, Rafa helped Spain win the Davis Cup by beating then #2 Andy Roddick, and he won his first ATP singles title in Sopot. 2005 was Nadal’s breakthrough year, as he won 11 ATP titles, 8 of which were on clay, including Roland Garros.
Since 2005, Rafael Nadal has stood as the one real rival to Roger Federer, who most consider the greatest tennis player of all time. Nadal still has a winning record against Federer, whom he defeated on his way to each of his first 6 Grand Slam titles, most notably at Roland Garros, where he dismissed Roger in one semifinal (2005) and three finals (2006-8). Whether Rafa will eventually accumulate a record to rival Roger’s 16 Grand Slam titles will depend in large part on how well his knees withstand the combination of his incredibly aggressive running and the weight of all the upper-body muscle those knees have to carry. Other factors that may stand in the way of Rafa winning enough majors to catch Roger are Roger himself, who probably has a few years of prime playing left, and the emergence of talents like Novak Djokovic.
- Date of Birth: 6/3/86
- Nation: Spain
- Height: 6′ 1″
- Weight: 188
- Turned Pro: 2001
- Best Singles Grand Slams: Won Roland Garros in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014; Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010; the Australian Open in 2009; and the US Open in 2010 and 2013.
- Plays: Left-handed, with two-handed backhand.
- Basic Style: Power and heavy topspin baseliner.
- Greatest Strengths: Heavy topspin on groundstrokes, especially forehand, with excellent power, consistency, and placement. Aggressive game backed up by exceptional defensive abilities that utilize great speed, athleticism, and determination. Mentally tough and confident.
- Room for Improvement: Second serve can be attackable, but decreasingly so.
This Rafael Nadal Net Worth profile originated at WealthyGenius.com