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 was 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. (He won the U.S. Open again in 2013, again defeating Djokovic in the final.) Rafael Nadal has been the French Open champion nine times in all, winning from 2005-08 and again from 2010-14.
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”… Rafael Nadal is the only man in the modern era to win the French Open nine times. Bjorn Borg is next, with six titles. Max Decugis of France won the tournament eight times in the amateur era of the early 1900s… Rafael Nadal beat Mariano Puerta in the 2005 French Open finals for his first win in the tournament; 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.