Rafael NadalTennis Player
Born: 3 June 1986
Birthplace: Manacor, Mallorca, Spain
Best known as:
The winner of four straight French Opens and the tennis career Grand Slam
Name at birth: Rafael Nadal-Parera
Rafael Nadal was 19 years and two days old when he won the 2005 French Open in his very first appearance at the event. A nimble left-hander with a booming forehand, Rafael Nadal had been known as a clay-court specialist since playing his first pro tournaments in 2001. His aggressive style, flowing hair and muscular build made him a consistent favorite with female fans as well. Rafael Nadal won his first singles title in 2004, and had a breakout season in 2005, winning at Monte Carlo, Rome, Barcelona and Stuttgart as well as at Roland Garros. He won the French Open again in 2006, 2007 and 2008, defeating Roger Federer in the final each time. In 2008 he broke through at Wimbledon, beating Federer to win the men's singles title there. No longer just a master of clay, he beat Federer at the hard-court Australian Open in 2009, confirming his #1 ranking in the world. Nadal won again at Wimbledon in 2010, beating Tomas Berdych in straight sets. Then he completed the career Grand Slam by winning his first U.S. Open title in 2010, beating Novak Djokovic in four sets.
Though his full name is Rafael Nadal-Parera, he is generally known simply as Rafael Nadal... According to the ATP Tour site, his name is pronounced "ra-FAY-el nay-DAHL." The ATP also says he is nicknamed "Rafa"... Nadal beat Mariano Puerta in the 2005 French Open finals; he beat Federer in the semifinals that year... Mallorca is one of the Balearic Islands, which stand in the Mediterranean Ocean off the coast of Spain.
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