Profile Image of Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

1986-06-03

Rafael Nadal, in full Rafael Nadal Parera, byname Rafa Nadal, (born June 3, 1986, Manacor, Mallorca, Spain), Spanish tennis player who emerged in the early 21st century as one of the game’s leading competitors, especially noted for his performance on clay. Nadal grew up in a sports-minded family; his uncle Miguel Angel Nadal was a professional association football (soccer) player who competed in the 2002 World Cup. Rafael began playing tennis at age four, guided by another uncle, Toni Nadal, who remained his coach on the professional tour. In his early years, Nadal (who wrote with his right hand) played left-handed tennis with both a two-handed forehand and backhand. When he was 12, however, his uncle encouraged him to adopt a more conventional left-handed style. Nadal stuck with his two-handed backhand but switched to what became his signature one-handed forehand, the stroke that was credited with lifting him into the sport’s upper echelons.