Full Name – Rafael Nadal Parera
Age – 34 (03-June-1986)
Nationality – Spanish
Role – Left-handed, Two-handed backhand (Aggressive counterpuncher)
Coach – Toni Nadal, Francisco Roig, Carlos Moyá
Current Ranking – No. 3
Highest Ranking – No. 1 (18-August-2008)
Career Earnings – US$124,480,032
Win/Loss – 1022/207 (best in Open era)
ATP Titles – 88
Grand Slams – 20
Winner of 20 Grand Slams and 88 ATP titles, Rafael Nadal has been one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Since turning pro in 2001, Rafa has been one of the most successful teenagers in the history of the ATP tour. He became World No. 2 by the age of 19, winning 16 titles, including his first Roland Garros and six Masters titles.
Nadal became World No. 1 for the first time in 2008 after beating top-ranked Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. By 2010, he completed the career Grand Slam at the 2010 US Open and with his gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, Nadal became only the second male player to win a career Golden Slam.
In the next decade, Novak Djokovic emerged as his primary rival. The two have locked horns 57 times (including 9 Grand Slam finals), which is a record in tennis Open Era history. Though Nadal has struggled to replicate his performances in the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the last decade, his 13th Roland Garros title in 2020 equalled him with Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles (20).
Best Finishes at each Grand Slam
Australian Open: Champion (2009)
Roland Garros: Champion (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Wimbledon: Champion (2008, 2010)
US Open: Champion (2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)
Style of Play
Nadal has an aggressive, behind-the-baseline playing style built on heavy topspin groundstrokes, sharp footwork, consistency, and total court coverage. His stronghold is his forehand; he generates more topspin than any other player on tour. Being a southpaw, he manages to convert most of his Ad-court points, as a lefty capitalises more points from that area. Although he manages to bully almost every other guy on tour, his in-game baselining strategy gets found out by Djokovic, who is an offensive counter puncher himself.
Rivalry and Legacy
Former tennis player and eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi hailed Nadal as the greatest of all time because of the way the Spaniard had to carve his way alongside Federer, Djokovic and Andy Murray during tennis’ golden age.
Nadal leads his head-to-head battles against most of the top-seeded players that played during his career, with Djokovic being the only one to hold an upper hand against the Spaniard with a slender lead of 29-28.
The only player to win 13 men’s singles titles at one major.
- Has the record of winning at least one major title for most consecutive years (2005-2014).
- Has the record of winning Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces in a calendar year (2010).
- The only player to win four Grand Slam titles without dropping a set.
- Has the record of winning the most men’s singles Elite titles at a single event (Monte-Carlo Masters), with 11 titles to his name.
- Has the record for most consecutive quarter-final appearances with 21(2008-2010).
- Has won 12 Barcelona Open titles.
- Has won a record number of 10 Rome Masters titles.