Name at birth: Rafael Nadal-PareraRafael Nadal was 19 years and two days old when he won the 2005 French Open in his very first appearance at the event. He has since gone on to become one of the game's dominant players and the longtime rival of fellow great Roger Federer. A nimble left-hander with a booming forehand, Rafael Nadal played his first pro tournaments in 2001, and at first he gained a reputation as a clay-court specialist. His aggressive style, flowing hair and muscular good looks made him a consistent favorite with female fans as well. 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, and then in 2017 with a straight-sets win over surprise finalist Kevin Anderson.) Rafael Nadal has been the French Open champion 10 times in all, winning from 2005-08, from 2010-14, and again in 2017.
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.
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