Rafael “Rafa” Nadal Parera is a Spanish professional tennis player born in Manacor, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain to Sebastián Nadal Homar and Ana María Parera Femenías. Rafa has a younger sister named María Isabel Nadal Parera.
Rafa is 6’1″ tall. He was born right-handed but plays left-handed.
Rafa’s uncle Miguel Ángel Nadal was an FC Barcelona teammate of Brazilian retired footballer Ronaldo. Through Miguel, Rafa got access to the FC Barcelona dressing room to have a photo with Ronaldo.
In 1989, Rafa’s uncle Toni Nadal, who is a tennis coach, introduced him to tennis. Toni served as Rafa’s coach from 2005 to 2017 while Francisco Roig and Carlos Moya started to coach Rafa in 2005 and in 2016, respectively.
As a young boy, Rafa played both tennis and football and eventually chose the former when asked by his father to choose between the two sports. Here are 13 more things about him:
- In 1994, he won an under-12 regional tennis championship.
- In 2001, he made his professional tennis debut.
- In 2002, he reached the semifinals of the Boys’ Singles tournament in Wimbledon, London, England, United Kingdom. It was his first International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior event.
- He finished in the third round when he made his debut in the Wimbledon Championships in its 117th edition, which took place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon from June 23, 2003 to July 6, 2003. When he returned to the tournament in 2005, he finished in the second round. He earned his first win in the tournament in 2008 and won again in 2010.
- He finished in the second round when he made his U.S. Open debut in its 123rd edition, which took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, New York, United States from August 25, 2003 to September 7, 2003. He earned his first win in 2010 and went on to win again in 2013, 2017 and 2019.
- He finished in the third round when he made his Australian Open debut in its 92nd edition, which took place at the Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia from January 19, 2004 to February 1, 2004. He earned his first win in the tournament in 2009. In its 104th edition in 2016, he lost to his fellow Spanish tennis player Fernando Verdasco in the first round, which marked his first ever Grand Slam hard court first round loss.
- He made his French Open debut in its 109th edition, which took place at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France from May 23, 2005 to June 5, 2005. He was the men’s singles champion, which marked his first Grand Slam win. He went to win the tournament again in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022.
- He started dating his fellow Mallorca native María Francisca “Mery” Perelló Pascual in 2015. Their engagement was announced in January 2019 and they got married in October 2019.
- His autobiography titled “Rafa: My Story” was published on August 1, 2011. He co-wrote it with John Carlin.
- On May 4, 2015, he was given an honorary doctoral degree by the Universidad Europea de Madrid in Madrid, Spain.
- Based in Manacor, the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar opened in May 2016. It was a very special project for him.
- He was a 2021 Australian Open quarterfinalist and a 2021 French Open semifinalist.
- He was 35 years old when he won the 2022 Australian Open on January 30, 2022 and 2022 French Open men’s singles on June 5, 2022.