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Happy Birthday Rafael Nadal: Spaniard’s love affair with tennis
Jun 3, 2022, 5:30:00 AM

Happy Birthday Rafael Nadal: Spaniard’s love affair with tennis

It was a hot day in Paris and things were already heated up between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal of the French Open at Philippe-Chatrier court. In the last moments, the last set and Nadal was one step away from proving his dominance against Novak and on the clay court. The last point was the moment where Nadal’s journey to becoming one of the best tennis players flashes away since the age of 12 when his uncle, Tony Nadal, introduced him to his destiny. During the quietest moment of the whole game, Nadal’s mind was making noises as loud as it could, which makes the Spaniard a legend.

Rafael Nadal has been ruling the Tennis courts for more than two decades and there is no doubt that he is one of the most hard-working and talented tennis players in the world right now. It takes every drop of sweat and blood to defeat Rafael Nadal and even then it is next to impossible to overpower the Spanish giant.

On 3rd June, Rafael turns 36 but looking at his recent achievements, it doesn't look like he is near to his decline. After a certain point in life, every tennis player experiences a decline in his career because of the fitness and injury issues. However, Rafael is not showing any symptoms like this. Defeating the world number, Novak Djokovic, in the quarter-final of the French Open is one the example of the same.

Today, on Rafael’s birthday, we bring to you the journey of a man who refused to give up and continues to overcome new challenges.

Rafael Nadal - How it All Started

At the age of 12, Rafael Nadal was introduced to the game of Tennis by his uncle Tony Nadal. Rafael comes from a business family but his father’s family was involved in sports. His uncles Miguel Ángel and Toni were both professional sportsmen--while Miguel was a soccer player, Toni played tennis. Trained by his uncle Toni, Rafael took Tennis professionally at the age of 12. Despite being a right-hander, Rafael became a left-hander in the game of Tennis. At the age of 12, he excelled in the game and won several tournaments.

Rafael Nadal - The Youngest Player to Win an ATP

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. This achievement was the beginning of something big in Rafael’s career. He showed signs of becoming a champion at a very early stage of his life.

Rafael Nadal - 2005 French Open

When Rafael Nadal was gaining momentum in his career, Tennis legend Roger Federer was at his peak and there was no other tennis player who could defeat Federer during his prime. However, Nadal and Federer came face to face in the 2005 French Open finals and it was one of the best tennis finals ever witnessed by the crowd. The match went down to a tie-breaker and the tie-breaker was won by Nadal, thus becoming the first player in history to have won a 'Grand Slam' final against Federer. Nadal went on to win 4 consecutive French Open titles from 2005 to 2008.

Rafael Nadal - 2008 Wimbledon Tour

For any tennis player, winning the Wimbledon title is a dream. The quality of tennis which is witnessed at the Wimbledon every year is nowhere near any other grand slam. Nadal’s Wimbledon triumph came in 2008 when he faced Roger Federer again. They both liked playing against each other as it helped them to bring the best out of each other. 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.

Rafael Nadal - The Grand Slam Master

In 20 years of his career, Rafael Nadal has won 21 Grand Slams and now he is on his way to achieving another record. After scoring a win against Novak in the French Open on Monday, Nadal has reached the semi-final of the tournament. This will be his 22nd Grand Slam and Nadal will become the only player in Men’s tennis to achieve the big number. Nadal is dealing with injuries and this might his last triumph to break this record. On his Birthday, we wish him all the best and pray for his good health so that he can break the record.

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Words: Shimit Mathur

Image: PA