Currently, Rafael Nadal is in all newspapers because of his dream-wedding with Mery Perelló in Mallorca, Spain. But he is more than a handsome bridegroom, he is the most famous tennis player of Spain and one of the game’s leading competitors worldwide, especially noted for his performance on clay.
Rafael and tennis
If you have a look at his family history, you can imagine where Rafael got his ambition from. Born in Mallorca as the son from an entrepreneur, he already developed the interest in ball sports as a child. One of the main reasons for his passion are his uncles, who were professional athletes at this time. One of them, Miguel Ángel Nadal, kicked for the famous club FC Barcelona. Another uncle was “Toni” Nadal Homar, a tennis coach and former professional tennis player. He brought Rafael in touch with the sport, which would define his future career. At the age of only three years, “Rafa” hit his first tennis balls across the net. An all-round talent who always win no matter if in a tennis match or on the soccer field. When he had to decide which sport he wanted to do professionally, he chose tennis.
It all started with the Junior Championships but very soon Rafael changed to the professional league and played his first ATP- tournaments at the age of 15. At the age of 16, Nadal made it to the semi-finals of the Boys' Singles tournament at Wimbledon. At 17, he became the youngest male to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker. In 2005, when he was just 19 years old, Nadal won the French Open the first time he competed in the tournament, and his world ranking shot to No. 3. Nadal, known for his power on the clay court, has long been the undisputed number one and still holds the record for the longest winning streak on the red ground. Between April 2005 and May 2007, he won 81 games in a row on clay court – until he got the second place in the Hamburg Master tournament after Roger Federer. But shortly thereafter, he could triumph over Federer in the French Opening.
In the middle of 2008 Rafael had to cancel all following tournaments because of a heavy knee injury. Just one year later he already continued to hit the tennis balls over the net and won his first Australian Open championship after he again bested Federer in a dramatic five-set final match. In 2010, he was triumphant at the French Open and Wimbledon, and his subsequent win at the U.S. Open made him just the second men's player to achieve the career Golden Slam. In 2011 Nadal captured his sixth career French Open title, besting Federer once more in the final. After losing the next three Grand Slam finals to Novak Djokovic, Rafael reversed course and defeated Djokovic in the 2012 French Open final to break the record for the men’s French Open singles championships. He added another French title in 2013, becoming the first man to win the same Grand Slam singles event eight times.
Followed by years of ups and downs, victories and defeats, Rafael Nadal has won all in all 19 Grand Slam single titles (which is the second-most in male tennis history!), twelve French Open titles, four US Open titles and two Wimbledon titles. He is called “King of the Clay” thanks to his masterstrokes on the clay court and was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in 2011.
In 2016, in his hometown of Mallorca, Nadal established the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, where he aims to share everything he has learnt over his career with young students. Nadal’s Sport centre offers a lot of facilities: 26 tennis courts of different surfaces (clay, greenset), outdoor as well as indoor, seven padel courts and two squash courts. An on-site clinic, which is specialised in sports medicine, physiotherapy and nutrition can be used by all players. Of course a fitness centre with the latest equipment is also part of the offer.
To make sure that the holiday aspect does not draw the short straw, the accommodation for Academy guest is on the same ground and offer spacious rooms with modern furniture. After a training session guests can relax in the Spa, equipped with massage cabins, sauna and Turkish baths and and a beauty salon. But not just tennis fans will love this sport centre, two large pools, one indoor the other outside, as well as a bicycle rental and repair service let every athlete’s heart beat faster!
We at Across Spain have created a tennis training camp package at Rafael’s Academy for everyone who wants to feel the spirit of this outstanding athlete. Write us a message today for more information or read our new blog entry.