Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rafael Nadal

Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera (Spanish pronunciation: [rafaˈel naˈðal]) (born 3 June 1986) is a former World No. 1 Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked #2. Nadal has won six Grand Slam singles titles, and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles. Nadal was ranked World Number #1 from 18 August 2008 to 5 July 2009. In 2009, he became the first player to simultaneously hold Grand Slam titles on clay, grass and hardcourt. His success on clay has earned him the nickname "The King of Clay". Nadal was ranked World No. 2, behind Roger Federer for a record 160 weeks before earning the top spot. He has subsequently lost this position again to Federer following the Swiss player's triumph at the 2009 Madrid Masters (where Federer beat him in the final), French Open and Wimbledon, as well as his own withdrawal from Wimbledon due to injury. In 2008, he was given the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, in recognition of his achievements in tennis The decision to stay home meant that Nadal received less financial support from the federation; instead Nadal's father covered the costs. In May 2001, he defeated former Grand Slam champion Pat Cash in a clay-court exhibition match.[6] By the age of 16, Nadal was ranked in the world's top 50 players.

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