Spanish Tennis Player
If you don't lose, you cannot enjoy the victories...
The ace Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and is currently ranked number one in the world.
Rafael 'Rafa' Nadal Parera was born on 3 June 1986 in Majorca, Spain to businessman Sebastien and his wife Ana Maria. At the age of three years, his uncle Toni, a former professional tennis player, noticed his nephew's natural talent for the sport and introduced him to it. And this is when, as they say, history began for the talented professional tennis player.
By the time he was eight-years-old, Nadal had won an under-12 regional tennis championship even though he was also a promising football player at the same time. After this win, his uncle intensified Nadal's training and encouraged him to play left-handed to give him an advantage on the court.
When Nadal was 12 years he won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group before turning professional at the age of 15 in 2002. He participated in two events on the ITF junior circuit and reached the semi-finals of the Boy's Singles tournament at Wimbledon in the first of these at the age of 16.
By the age of 17, Nadal had become the youngest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker. He continued playing tennis and his first big win came in 2005 when he was aged 19 years. Nadal won the French Open - the first time he took part in the Grand Slam - and his world ranking rocketed to number three. He won 11 singles titles that year, with eight of these wins taking place on clay. For this, Nadal was dubbed the 'King of Clay'.
Nadal went on to win the French Open in 2006 despite having both foot and shoulder injuries. He went on to win four other titles that year. In 2007, Nadal won the French Grand Slam again and took home another five titles.
He enjoyed one of his best years in 2008 winning the French Open for the third time and playing his long-standing rival Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final for the third consecutive year. This was the most anticipated match of their rivalry as Nadal entered the game with a 23-match winning streak, while Federer had reached the final without losing a single set.
They played the longest in terms of time on court Wimbledon final in history. Because of a rain delay, Nadal won the fifth set 9-7 in near darkness. This match is widely regarded as the greatest Wimbledon final in history, with some even claiming this was the best in tennis history.
Nadal took home his first Wimbledon title and became the third man in the open era to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year. He also became the second Spaniard to win the British tennis tournament. It also ended Federer's record streak of five Wimbledon wins in a row.
Later that year, he won his second Rogers Cup title and won the US Open Series, making him the tennis world number one for the first time. This ended Federer's four-and-a-half year rule at the top. Nadal then went on to win gold at the Beijing Olympics and became the first male player ranked in the top five to do so.
However, in the last few months of the year Nadal had to retire from several matches due to a knee injury. Since then, he has been occasionally hampered by injuries but has still remained one of the greatest tennis players in the world.
He has won 15 titles since 2008 and in 2009, Nadal won the Australian Open and defended his Wimbledon title. He also went on to win his first US Open and fifth French Grand Slam in 2010.
The following year, he lost his world number one ranking as well as Wimbledon to Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic. Nadal bounced back from defeat in June this year to beat Djokovic to win his record seventh French Open title, which has never been accomplished before.
At 2012's Wimbledon, Nadal lost to Czech player Lukas Rosol in the Wimbledon second round, which some commentators have labelled one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. Nadal is only the second male tennis player to complete the Career Golden Slam, which means winning the French, Australian and US Opens, Wimbledon and the Olympics gold medal. He is currently ranked number one in the world, due to an impressive comeback in 2013.
In terms of his personal life, he has been dating Maria Francisca Perello, an insurance company employee, since 2005. He also released his autobiography Rafa in August 2011.