Previous World Number 1 Rafael Nadal Parera, nicknamed ‘Rafa’ was born on June 3rd, 1986 in Manacor, Mallorca, Spain. His swarthy good looks have earned him millions of female admirers around the world but Rafa is true to only one woman, his girlfriend of three years.
|Height:||6 ft 1 in|
|Plays:||Left-handed with a two-handed backhand|
They met when the pair were at school in Mallorca and Xisca is a friend of Rafa’s sister. She is currently a student at Palma University but travels to as many of her boyfriend’s tournaments as she can.
The left-handed player writes right-handed and began playing tennis at the age of four with his uncle Toni Nadal who is still his coach. He used to be a two-handed forehand and back-handed player until his uncle made him change to a one-handed forehand when he was 10 years old.
His father, Sebastian, is the business partner of two brothers in a restaurant in Sa Punta. Sebastian also owns a glass and windows company, Videos Mallorca and his mother is Ana Maria. He has one younger sister Maria Isabel.
In 2009 Rafa was shocked when he heard his mother and father were getting a divorce and said publicly, “My parents’ divorce made an important change in my life. It affected me very much and I will need time to accept it. For one month I was outside the world. It’s more difficult to accept when you are outside the home and don’t know what is happening.”
Away from the court Rafa is a golf fanatic and likes nothing more than playing a round of golf with his girlfriend. He says that Tiger Wood is his idol and he stuck by him through his troubles telling people Wood’s private life was nothing to do with anyone else.
In July 2010 he joined Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and the Williams’ sisters in a series of television commercials shown on American TV to promote the US Open. In Rafa’s 31 second clip he shared his cooking tips for his favorite recipe Pasta Y Gambas (Pasta and Shrimp).
Heat up some Spanish olive oil, add some pepper – Spanish paprika – then add some gambas. Later you put everything on the pasta, it’s very easy to make.
Fundacion Rafa Nadal
Like his friend and on-court rival Roger Federer, Rafa has set up a Charitable Foundation to promote sport as an integration tool for those who need it most, such as the handicapped, immigrants, and socially excluded people.
In October Rafa, his mother and sister flew secretly to Bangalore in India then drove to Anantapur to inaugurate a Tennis Academy set up in his name and funded by his charity. The Academy is run by the Rural Development Trust, a non-governmental organization in Anantapur. He hit with 100 trainees on the clay courts and has promised to coach therefrom 2011.