Two decades after his first ATP match at the age of 15, Rafael Nadal is one of the most successful tennis players in history. Rafa has been in the top 10 for 800 consecutive weeks and has 21 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 crowns under his belt, aided by five year-end results as No. 1.
Despite the numerous injuries he has sustained over the years, Rafa has never lost his desire and love for the game despite winning almost every notable trophy our sport has to offer. Speaking about the brightest and most endearing moments of his incredible career, Rafa recalled some of his most notable triumphs, starting with the one in 2004 when he won the first ATP title in Sopot.
Nadal got the opportunity to represent Spain in the Davis Cup final in Seville at the end of this season. At 18, he beat Andy Roddick in front of a cheering crowd in a win that highlighted his pre-2005 career. Half a year later, Nadal became a major champion just days after his 19th birthday, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to reign at Roland Garros on his debut.
The Spaniard dominated another surface and a Major three years later, knocking out Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final after an epic fight and adding a fifth Major crown to his 22-year collection. Rafa didn’t have to wait long for more tennis glory.
He overcame all the obstacles at the 2009 Australian Open after battling Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer for more than ten hours in a few days. With that, the Spaniard conquered the third different surface in majors and continued his quest for a career grand slam achieved at the US Open in September 2010.
The 2013 US Open is another event on the exclusive list for Nadal, who returned this year after suffering a nasty knee injury that sidelined him for seven months.
Nadal preferred to skip Montreal
In his autobiography Rafael Nadal: My Story, the former world No. 1 has revealed that his uncle never received paychecks from him for his coaching services.
Speaking about it, he said: “One wouldn’t have happened without the other. Toni has not received any money from me or anyone in my family for the lifetime of attention he has given me, but he was able to do it because he owns half of my father’s business and takes half the profits with him without earning any of it do work”.
He further added: “It was a fair exchange because I would never have had nearly the same coaching hours from Toni if my father had not worked so purposefully throughout his life.”