Rafael nadal

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(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. From2005 to 2008 he won four consecutive French Open championships.

Nadal grew up in a sports-minded family; his uncle Miguel Angel Nadal was a professional association football (soccer) player whocompeted 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 withhis 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 withhis 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.

Nadal, who officially turnedprofessional in 2001, had appeared in only one grand slam tournament as a junior competitor when he reached the semifinals at the 2002 Wimbledon championships. He began his professional career inearnest the next year, breaking into the top 50 in the world. In 2004 he played a crucial role in Spain's defeat of the United States in the Davis Cup final. Toppling Andy Roddick—then number two in theworld—in a four-set opening-day singles clash, Nadal became the youngest player (at 18 years 6 months) in the history of the international team competition to win a singles match for a victoriouscountry.

Driving his forehand with a devastatingly potent heavy topspin and covering the court with alacrity, Nadal quickly became one of the top players on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP)tour. He also developed a rivalry with world number one Roger Federer. In 2005 Nadal set a record for a teenage male player by registering 11 tournament victories, including a triumph at his French...
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