Facts about Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is 38 years old
Born: June 3, 1986
Birthplace: Manacor, Mallorca, Spain
Best known as: The Mallorcan tennis star who has won the French Open 13 times


Rafael Nadal Biography

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. He went on to become one of the game’s dominant players, the winner of 22 Grand Slam titles and the rival of fellow greats Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

A nimble left-hander with a booming forehand, Rafael Nadal played his first pro tournaments in 2001, and he gained an early reputation as a clay-court specialist. His aggressive style, flowing hair and muscular good looks made him a consistent favorite with 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 the French Open 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, in 2017 with a straight-sets win over surprise finalist Kevin Anderson, and in 2019 with a five-set win over Daniil Medvedev.)

With a comeback win in the Australian Open in 2022, Rafael Nadal scored his record-breaking 21st major championship, and then stretched that mark to 22 by winning the French Open the same year. He has been the French Open champion an astonishing 14 times in all, winning from 2005-08, from 2010-14, from 2017-2020, and again in 2022. Nadal also won the Australian Open in 2009 and 2022, the U.S. Open in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019, and Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010.

Extra credit

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 13 times, and it isn’t close. 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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