In 2002, the young boy participated in his first 'Association of Tennis Professionals' (ATP) match, and emerged victorious against Ramón Delgado. With this victory, Nadal achieved the feat of becoming the ninth tennis player to win an ‘ATP’ match before the age of 16.
In 2005, the talented player went on to become the youngest player since Boris Becker to qualify for the third round at the 'Miami Masters' championship. In the same championship, he almost defeated Roger Federer.
He participated in 'Davis Cup,' defeating Andy Roddick (3-2) in the final to bring home the 2004 trophy. On the clay court, he was victorious in 24 consecutive games, breaking Andre Agassi’s record for maximum consecutive wins.
Rafael Nadal also won championships like the 'Torneo Conde de Godó' in Barcelona, 'Monte Carlo Masters,' and 'Rome Masters.' His most important triumph came when he beat Argentinian player Mariano Puerta in the 2005 'French Open' finals. The same year, he jumped to the third spot in the world ranking list.
In 2006, he won several championships like ‘Dubai Duty Free Men's Open,’ ‘Masters Series Monte Carlo,’ and ‘Masters Series Internazionali BNL d'Italia,’ defeating Roger Federer in all three finals.
In the ‘French Open,’ Federer and Nadal were once again pitted against each other and the match went down to a tie-breaker. The tie-breaker was won by Nadal, thus becoming the first player in history to have won a 'Grand Slam' final against Federer.
After losing the 2007 'Australian Open' and 'Dubai Tennis Championship,' this famous player won the 'Indian Wells Masters.' He also won tournaments, such as 'Masters Series Monte Carlo,' 'Open Sabadell Atlántico,' and 'Internazionali BNL d'Italia.'
Though Federer defeated him at the 'Masters Series Hamburg,' Rafael defeated the former once again at the 'French Open.'
In 2008, he reached the 'Chennai Open' finals, but was eventually defeated by Russian player Mikhail Youzhny. He was also defeated at the 'Australian Open' finals by French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
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After a few setbacks, the gifted Rafael went on to win titles at the 'Masters Series Monte Carlo,' 'Open Sabadell Atlántico,' 'Masters Series Hamburg,' and 'French Open.'
In 2008, Nadal faced Federer in the 'Wimbledon' final. After playing the match for several hours, owing to rain, Nadal won with a score of 9-7. This victory made him the third man in the history of the game, after Rod Laver and Borg, to win the ‘Wimbledon’ and the ‘French Open’ in the same season.
In the 2009 'Qatar Open,' which was held in Doha, this remarkable player teamed up with Marc López to win the doubles title against Nenad Zimonjić and Daniel Nestor.
His next significant win of the year was at the 'Australian Open' where he defeated Federer once again, becoming the first Spanish player to win the title. He also won the 'Davis Cup,' 'Indian Wells Masters,' and 'Monte Carlo Masters.'
During the 'ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament,' held in Rotterdam, Nadal suffered from a serious knee injury. This affected his games, and caused him to pull out of the 'Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.'
After winning a few matches in 2010, he had to withdraw from the 'Australian Open' because of his knee injury. On recovering, he went on to win other tournaments, including the 'Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters' against Fernando Verdasco, and the 'Internazionali BNL d'Italia' against David Ferrer.
In the 'French Open' finals he defeated Robin Söderling, earning the 'Grand Slam' title for the seventh time. He then emerged victorious at the 'Wimbledon' after beating Tomáš Berdych. This victory gave him a title which is known as the ‘Old World Triple’ (a collective term for the winner of 'Italian Open,' 'Wimbledon,' and 'French Open').
In 2010, he also won the 'US Open' against Novak Djokovic, achieving his 'Career Grand Slam.'
In 2011, Rafael won the ‘Mubadala World Tennis Championship,’ which was hosted in Abu Dhabi, by defeating Roger Federer. He also won the 'Davis Cup' by defeating Olivier Rochus.
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Though he won tournaments like ‘Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters’ and ‘Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell,’ he lost several championships. As a result, he was dropped to the rank of world no. 2.
In the 'Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters' 2012, this splendid tennis player won against Novak Djokovic, winning his eighth trophy in a row. His winning streak continued in tournaments like the 'Barcelona Open' and 'French Open.’
In the 2012 'Wimbledon,’ he lost to Czech player Lukáš Rosol. Due to tendinitis in his knee, he was forced to pull out of the 'US Open,' 'Olympics,' 'Cincinnati Masters,' and 'Rogers Cup,' resulting in his ranking to drop to no. 4.
In 2013, Rafael won the 'Brasil Open,' 'Abierto Mexicano Telcel,' 'Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell,' 'French Open,' 'Mutua Madrid Open,' and 'Rome Masters.' However, he was once again defeated in the 'Wimbledon,' this time by Belgian player Steve Darcis.
2014 was a lean year for Nadal as he suffered from various health problems, including a back injury which he sustained at the ‘Australian Open’ finals. He then lost matches at the ‘Rio Open,’ ‘Indian Well Masters,’ ‘Miami Masters,’ and ‘China Open.’ During the course of these tournaments, he endured wrist injury and also suffered from appendicitis.
In 2015 at the 'Qatar Open,' he lost the singles title to German player Michael Berrer. However, paired with Argentinian Juan Monaco, he won the doubles title. His game suffered due to injuries during the ‘Australian Open,’ where he lost against Tomáš Berdych. In the 'Argentina Open,' Nadal won the clay-court title, defeating Juan Monaco.
Nadal started 2016 by winning the ‘Mubadala Title’ and then faced losses at the ‘Australian Open’ and ‘Rome Masters,’ playing against Djokovic. He bounced back by winning his second ‘Olympics’ gold medal at the men’s doubles, pairing with Marc Lopez and defeating the Romanian duo Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau.
In 2017, Rafael broke and made many records. After losing to Roger Federer at the ‘Australian Open’ and ‘Miami Masters,’ he went on to win the ‘Madrid Open’ and the ‘French Open’ title. His win at the ‘French Open’ was his first ‘Grand Slam’ title victory since 2014. After losing out in ‘Wimbledon,’ he clinched the titles at ‘US Open’ and ‘China Open,’ becoming the oldest person at the age of 31 to achieve the no.1 rank at the year end.
During the 2018 season, Nadal withdrew from ‘Mexican Open,’ ‘Miami Open,’ and ‘Indian Wells Masters’ owing to an injury. However, he defended his title at the ‘Monte Carlo Masters.’ He then went on to win ‘Rome Masters,’ ‘French Open,’ and the ‘Rogers Cup.’
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He started the 2019 season with straight wins at the ‘Australian Open,’ and advanced to the finals where he was defeated by Novak Djokovic. He won his first tournament of the year in Rome against Djokovic and also won his 12th ‘French Open’ title. After losing at the ‘Wimbledon’ against Roger Federer, he won the ‘Rogers Cup’ and the ‘US Open’ title, which served as his 19th ‘Grand Slam’ title.
Awards & Achievements
In 2003, this spectacular tennis player was presented with the ‘ATP Newcomer of the Year Award.’
In 2005, he was given the ‘Golden Bagel Award’ when he won 11 straight sets without conceding a single match. The same year, he won the ‘ATP Most Improved Player of the Year Award.’
In 2006, this Spanish tennis player was felicitated with the ‘Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year.’
Rafael was the recipient of the ‘Prince of Asturias Award for Sports,’ the ‘ITF World Tour Champion’ trophy, and ‘Best International Athlete ESPY Award’ in 2008.
During the 2009-10 season, this popular tennis player won the ‘Golden Bagel Award’ for the second time, ‘Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award,’ and ‘BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.’
During 2011-2014, Nadal received prestigious honors like 'Best Male Tennis Player ESPY Award’ and 'Laureus World Sports Award.' The latter was conferred upon him on two occasions; for 'Sportsman of the Year' and 'Comeback of the Year.'
He has won the ‘ATP Player of the Year’ award on four occasions; 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2017.