Boyfriend, wife, children, family? Here’s what we know about the Spanish tennis ace

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Rafael Nadal © IMAGO / Fabrizio Corradetti

It is not for nothing that Rafael Nadal is called the clay court king, for no other tennis player has won as often on this surface as the popular Spaniard. With a unique series of 81 wins in a row on clay, he wrote tennis history.

Manacor – When Rafael Nadal plays tennis, Spain stands still. The king of the track is considered to be the most successful athlete in the country and has for a long time led the world rankings several times. To this end, he is involved in a number of different ways on his home island of Mallorca.

Rafael Nadal: origin and youth

Rafael Nadal was born in the city of Manacor in Mallorca in 1986 and still lives with his family on the Spanish island. Having two uncles who played football at a professional level and another uncle who was a professional tennis player triggered his early interest in both sports. At the age of eleven, Rafael Nadal even won the Balearic championship with his football club Manacor. At the same time, he began his career as a tennis player, coached by his uncle Toni Nadal, and twice became Balearic champion in the respective age groups. At the age of 14, Rafael Nadal first attracted attention when he surprisingly defeated Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, in a preparatory match.

Rafael Nadal: A unique career

As a 15-year-old, Rafael Nadal started his professional career as a tennis player in 2001 and only a year later reached the junior semi-finals at Wimbledon. He celebrated his first professional victory on the ATP Tour in 2004, before making his breakthrough a year later: he won the French Open in Paris on his debut at the age of 19 and 2 days. It was the start of an incomparable series, because in the following years he would win the tournament a total of 13 times – more often than any other tennis player. His winning streak on clay also became legendary. Between April 2005 and May 2007, he won 81 matches in a row.

In the years that followed, Rafael Nadal’s career was repeatedly interrupted by injury breaks. Nevertheless, he was able to secure several other titles and was at the top of the world rankings several times over an extended period of time. In early 2022, he crowned his career by winning the Australian Open, his 21st Grand Slam title. No other tennis player has won as many singles titles in Grand Slam tournaments as Nadal.

Rafael Nadal: His greatest achievement

Hardly any other tennis player has been able to set as many records as Rafael Nadal. The biggest successes of his career in an instant:

  • 21 Grand Slam titles in men’s singles
  • at least two wins in all four Grand Slam tournaments
  • two Golden Slam: four Grand Slam victories and Olympic gold the same year
  • 13 victories at the French Open
  • 11 victories in the Masters, of which seven in a row
  • 81 victories in a row on clay

In addition to his sporting victories, Rafael Nadal has repeatedly been awarded prizes. The Spanish newspaper Marca named him Athlete of the Decade in Spain in 2010, and he was named World Sportsman of the Year in 2011 and 2021. The city of Madrid made him an honorary citizen, and the University of the Balearic Islands awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Rafael Nadal: family and privacy

To this day, Rafael Nadal lives in Mallorca, where he runs his own Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy with 26 tennis courts, museum and other facilities. In 2007, he founded the Fundación Rafa Nadal, which aims to help vulnerable children and young people. In 2018, after severe flooding in Mallorca, donated one million euros to the reconstruction of the hard-hit city of Sant Llorenc des Cardassar and is also involved in several other charitable projects.

The tennis player keeps his privacy strictly shielded from the public. All you know is that he married his longtime girlfriend Maria Francisca (Mery) Perelló Pascual in October 2019 in the historic castle La Fortaleza in Mallorca. The two live together in Porto Cristo in the Balearic Islands.

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