The Making of A Champ – Rafael Nadal’s road to the top

Born in Manacor, just off the coast of Spain, 31-year-old Rafael Nadal is one of the most decorated and iconic tennis players of all time. The living legend celebrates his birthday today – and on the occasion here are some of the most poignant moments of his life and career so far.

1. My word is final

At age 14, the Spanish Tennis federation wanted Rafael Nadal to move to Barcelona and train at the national federation’s headquarters. His father stepped in, and prevented his son from going as he felt Rafa’s education was far more important. In retrospect, the decision was a good one as Rafael Nadal went on to fame and stardom anyway.

2. Big Hitter Reputation

As a player, Rafael Nadal has a great all-round game. But, he is particularly known for his aggression and ability to make opponents cover lots of ground during rallies. While the aggression helps him to gain an advantage over opponents, it also means Nadal can injure himself easier than most.
 

3. King Of Clay begins his reign

At age 19, Rafael Nadal was already playing professional tennis for four years when he arrived at Roland Garros. Working his way systematically with a mix of power and a steady head on his shoulders, Rafa would become the first player in two decades to win the French Open on debut. This would begin a reign that has seen him, to date, claim 10 titles and become the King of Clay surfaces in world tennis.

4. The grass is greener

In 2008, Nadal had acquired a reputation for only ruling the Clay courts of Roland Garros. That year, Rafael Nadal set the record straight and claimed his first-ever Wimbledon title – shattering the myth that he can only play on clay.
 

5. Feliz Cumpleanos Rafa!

On the occasion of his birthday, he was presented with a stunning cake and celebrated on center court. Rafael Nadal is a living legend and every day we see him playing is a blessing to all tennis fans!

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