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The Career of Rafael Nadal

By Kalyan Mukherjee

About the Author: Former engineer Kalyan Mukherjee counts himself an avid tennis and cricket enthusiast. Mr. Mukherjee currently resides in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Currently ranked as the No. 2 player in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals, Rafael Nadal has been widely recognized as one of the greatest players of all time. Particularly known for his success on clay courts, Nadal has been referred to as “The King of Clay.”

Born in Manacor, Majorca, Spain, Rafael Nadal comes from a long line of athleticism. His uncle Miguel Angel Nadal played professional soccer, while another uncle, Toni Nadal, played professional tennis. Recognizing his nephew’s skill at an early age, Toni Nadal introduced Rafael Nadal to the game when he was only four years old. By the age of eight, Rafael Nadal was already winning tennis championships, while also excelling in other sports. After moving to Barcelona at age 14 to pursue his tennis training, Rafael Nadal began playing professionally at 15. Within two years, he had beaten Roger Federer, becoming the youngest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker. In 2003, the Association of Tennis Professionals recognized his exceptional skill with the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award.

A former world No. 1, Rafael Nadal has won 10 Grand Slam singles titles, including the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, 6 French Open titles, and the 2010 U.S. Open, which completed the career Grand Slam. Rafael Nadal held the world No. 1 ranking from June 7, 2010, until he was replaced by Novak Djokovic on July 3, 2011.

Nadal’s rivalry with Roger Federer has been a strong force in the careers of both men, and dates back to 2004, when they played their first match. Many tennis critics have recognized the 2008 Wimbledon final in which the two faced off as the greatest match in tennis history.

Rafael Nadal has been involved in many philanthropic efforts, including participating in Thailand’s “A Million Trees for the King” project and creating the Rafa Nadal Foundation to support the well-being of children and youth. The foundation has supported a number of academies throughout India as part of this mission.

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