Rafael Nadal

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Career Overview

Rafael Nadal

Rafael ‘Rafa’ Nadal was born on Manacor in the Balearic Islands of Spain on June 3, 1986. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of tennis and the bad news for his opponents is that he looks as good as ever. Nadal currently has 13 Grand Slam titles to his name – eight French Opens, one Australian Open, two Wimbledon crowns, and two U.S. Open triumphs; not to mention, he has 61 career tournament victories to his name. His dominance on clay courts means that few oppose the opinion that he is the all-time number one clay court player.

Early Career

Nadal made his ATP debut at the tender age of 15 years and 10 months in June of 2002 and celebrated with a victory over Ramon Delgado. He quickly showed glimpses of his talent by winning two ATP Challenger titles in 2003 and rapidly gained access to the top 50 rankings. He reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2003, at his first attempt, and was the youngest player to achieve this feat since Boris Becker in 1984.

If tennis fans were not already aware of Nadal’s quality, he showed it in spectacular fashion during the Miami Masters in 2004 during the first round where he dispatched the world number one player at the time, Roger Federer, in straight sets. He reached the quarterfinals, but lost to Fernando Gonzalez; yet he was one of only six men to defeat Federer that season.

Rise to Prominence

In the 2004 Davis Cup Final, Nadal helped Spain clinch the title with his singles win over the world number two ranked player Andy Roddick and he ended that season ranked just outside of the top 50 and number 51. Little did the world know what was to come. 2005 was Nadal’s breakthrough year, as he reached the final of the Miami Masters and won 24 straight matches on clay. He dominated the French Open and defeated Mariano Puerta in the finals to claim his first ever Grand Slam title at the age of 19. After a surprise setback at Wimbledon, Nadal won two more tournaments and ended 2005 as the world’s number two best player.

Domination

Nadal was to win four consecutive French Open titles before he finally won a different Grand Slam tournament. 2008 was a memorable year for the Spaniard, as he added the Wimbledon title and an Olympic gold medal to his by now customary French Open crown. Indeed, 2008 was to see Nadal set a personal record for most consecutive wins with 32 in a row and he ended the season as the world’s number one male player for the first time in his career.

In 2009, he finally claimed a hard court crown at the Australian Open; however, his remarkable 31-game winning streak at the French Open was halted by Robin Soderling. Soderling has the distinction of being the only man to ever beat Nadal in the French Open, as the Spaniard has won the title at Roland Garros every year since. 2010 was possibly the year that gained Nadal immortality, as he completed a Career Grand Slam and became only the second man, Andre Agassi was the first, to win the Golden Grand Slam – all 4 Grand Slams plus an Olympic gold medal. He ended the year with victories at Wimbledon, in the French Open, and at the U.S. Open.

Nadal continued to win throughout 2011 and 2012, but injuries and illness plagued him to the point where he fell out of the top five in early 2013, the first time this had happened since 2005. He came back with another French Open win and recovered from an embarrassing first round loss at Wimbledon to win the U.S. Open and reclaim his number one spot. He began 2014 well; however, the superstar was shocked in the Australian Open final by Stanislas Wawrinka, his first loss to this opponent in 13 matches. However, the brilliant Spaniard looks certain to add more Grand Slams to his collection and many tennis aficionados believe Nadal will win the French Open title in 2014.

Rafael Nadal Tennis News & Updates

The World of Tennis February 2014 Update

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Australian Open, Blog, News & Events, Professional Players, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, World Tennis Tournaments | 0 comments

The World of Tennis February 2014 Update

The 2014 tennis season has already started in earnest and fans are really looking forward to seeing if anyone can halt the runs of Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. Although it is early in the season, we have already had a Grand Slam as the Australian Open reached its conclusion at the end of January. In this tennis update we review that tournament and look forward to the next big events on the calendar. 2014 Australian Open Review The first Grand Slam of the year took place at Melbourne Park from January 13th through 26th and both the men’s and women’s tournaments ended with surprise winners. Men’s tennis has been dominated by Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic for some time, but Stanislas Wawrinka upset the form book by being the first non ‘big four’ member to win a Grand Slam since the 2009 U.S. Open. He defeated Djokovic and Nadal en route to a memorable win. In the women’s event, Serena Williams broke the all-time record for most wins at the Australian Open; however the superstar was surprisingly beaten in the fourth round of the event. The tourney was to be won by Li Na who became the first ever Asian Australian Open winner, after defeating Dominica Cibulkova in the finals. Li Na recovered from match point down in the third round against Lucie Safarova. Preview of Upcoming Events On the men’s ATP Tour, the next big event is the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. It is the first of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events to be held in 2014 and with total prize money of over $4.7 million and huge rankings points on offer, you can rest assured that the world’s top players will all be ready for his hard court bonanza. On the ATP tour, there is a big tournament happening as we speak in the form of the Qatar Total Open. It features 15 of the world’s top 20 players, including Australian Open winner Li Na who is currently ranked the world’s third best woman player and the number one seed for the event. The top eight seeds all received byes into the second round and all, barring Caroline Wozniacki, have made it safely through to the third round. In the News of Tennis While Rafael Nadal is an all-time great, not everyone enjoys his habit of taking extra time during breaks. Roger Federer has criticized Nadal for this tactic and has complained about the Spaniard not being penalized. According to a poll on Tennis Tonic, 76 percent of fans agreed with the Swiss master and believe that Nadal gets away with lengthy breaks and should be punished for this indiscretion. Speaking of Nadal, the Spaniard has opened up and admitted that battling injuries and playing with pain are issues he will need to learn to live with for the rest of his career. He is known for having chronic knee problems and came back in February 2013 after a seven-month layoff to have one of his best seasons to date. He pulled out of a tournament in Buenos Aires, but is expected to return to action in Rio de Janeiro. That’s it for the latest tennis update; however, we’ll be back with results from important upcoming tournaments, such as the BNP Paribas...

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2013 Topshelf Open

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Blog, Professional Players, Rafael Nadal, The Game of Tennis, World Tennis Tournaments | 0 comments

2013 Topshelf Open

The 2013 Topshelf Open was played in Rosmalen, Netherlands from 16-22 June and took place on outdoor grass courts. It is currently part of the ATP’s 250 Series and the WTA International Tournaments. While only 2 of the world’s top 20 men were here, #1 seed and world ranked #4 David Ferrer added a bit of star power. In the women’s section, world #11 Roberta Vinci was the top seed, as most of the tour’s elite were focusing on the Wimbledon Championships. Men’s Singles Ferrer didn’t get much of an opportunity to stamp his quality on the event, as he was knocked out in round 1 by Xavier Malisse, a former top 20 player. The straight sets defeat was something of a shock and Malisse made it all the way to the semi-finals. Steve Darcis gave little indication that he was going to knock out Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, as he also crashed out in round 1. In fact, 6 of the top 8 seeds fell at the first hurdle! This meant that unheralded players had a shot at glory and Nicolas Mahut, ranked outside the top 100 in the world, grasped his opportunity with both hands. He was in fine form and cruised through to the final without dropping a set. A tough challenge was anticipated against #2 seed Stanislas Wawrinka, but Mahut defeated him with relative ease 6-3, 6-4. Women’s Singles Roberta Vinci was expected to take advantage of the fact that defending champion Nadia Petrova was competing in Eastbourne, but the Italian top seed was eliminated in round 2 by Simona Halep. Although Halep is ranked outside the top 200 in the world, she has been playing incredibly as of late, having captured her first ever WTA title just a week earlier in Germany. Kirsten Flipkens was #4 seed and looked most likely to take the title after she survived a first round scare to win her next three matches without dropping a set. It turned out that Halep was waiting for her in the final, after the Romanian also defeated #3 seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the semis. If Flipkens thought she would have it easy, she was very much mistaken, as the up and coming Halep enjoyed a 6-4, 6-2 win, becoming the first Romanian to ever win back-to-back tournaments on different surfaces. Men’s & Women’s Doubles None of the world’s top 20 was involved in the men’s doubles and #1 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer even got a bye in the second round, but no team could stop #2 seeds Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau, as they defeated Martin Emmrich and Andre Begemann 6-3, 7-6 in the final. In the women’s event, none of the top 50 were in action and #1 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Daniela Hantuchova withdrew in the quarter-finals. This opened the door for #2 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Irina-Camelia Begu who defeated Arantxa Parra Santonja and Dominika Cibulkova in thrilling fashion by a score of 4-6, 7-6, 11-9. While the world’s top players did not step out in Rosmalen, it was a great opportunity for new stars to shine and experienced players to get back into the spotlight; it was a well-run and thoroughly enjoyable event. Image license #1: Creative Commons (view source) Image license #2: Creative Commons (view...

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Wimbledon 2013 Wrap-Up

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Blog, Novak Djokovic, Professional Players, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, The Game of Tennis, World Tennis Tournaments | 0 comments

Wimbledon 2013 Wrap-Up

The 2013 edition of Wimbledon, one of the four Grand Slam events on the calendar, took place in London, England from June 24th through July 7th. Roger Federer was the defending men’s champion, while Serena Williams was the red hot favorite to retain the women’s title. Meanwhile, Andy Murray of Scotland was the British hopeful and carried the burden of a nation on his shoulders. It was to be two weeks of drama, action, and plenty of surprises along the way. Men’s Singles Although Rafael Nadal is arguably the greatest clay court player of all time, he is less invincible on grass, but no one expected his extraordinary first round defeat at the hands of Steve Darcis. Unfortunately, Darcis was one of an unusually large number of players that was forced to later withdraw due to injury. The second round held another massive upset with Federer knocked out by #116 ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky. For the first time in 11 years, neither Nadal nor Federer would be in the final. This opened the way for Andy Murray to become the first British male player to win the tournament since Fred Perry in 1936. In the quarter-finals, he came from two sets down to defeat Fernando Verdasco in one of the tournament’s best matches. He reached the final and faced an old adversary Novak Djokovic, the world ranked #1. Murray seemed to thrive on the pressure and produced an amazing performance to take the title 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Women’s Singles #5 seeded Sara Errani was the high profile first round casualty, while the rest of the seeds tumbled at an incredible rate. Indeed, half of the top 16 ranked players were eliminated in the first or second round; however, no one saw the biggest shock of the tournament coming. Serena Williams looked unstoppable until she met Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round and was beaten in three sets. On the other side of the draw, #15 seed Marion Bartoli was making good progress and once Williams was defeated, the entire tournament seemed to open up for the rest of the players. Bartoli was simply exceptional as she didn’t drop a set in the entire tournament. In the final, Lisicki seemed overwhelmed by the occasion and was easily beaten 6-1, 6-4 by the jubilant Bartoli. Doubles You will not be surprised to learn that the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, were the immoveable objects in the men’s doubles as they beat Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig in the final. It was their 9th title of the year and 3rd Grand Slam of 2013. They are the first duo ever to be holders of all four Grand Slams and the Olympic title at the same time. Now they are aiming for a calendar year slam to complete a record breaking season. Unheralded Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-Wei won the women’s title and it was the first Grand Slam for either woman. They defeated Australian duo Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty 7-6, 6-1. It was a memorable event with upsets, great tennis, and a national hero being made. Here’s hoping that the 2014 Wimbledon championships are equally exciting! Image license #1: Creative Commons (view source) Image license #2: Creative Commons (view source) Image license #3: Creative Commons (view source) Image license #4: Creative Commons...

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