Note : At a time when Nadal is celebrating his comeback with a grand Roland Garros title yet again marking his strength from personal setbacks and injury here is a tribute to the legend of clay. Wriiten a year ago for The Guindy Times the article is turning out to be timeless with Rafa's phenomenal achievements! ( The titles that he has in is kitty are bound to be more than that mentioned here).
Imagine a day in the distant future when you would be pointing your finger into the dark sky showing an asteroid whirring past- no ordinary asteroid that – that bears your name. Sounds hypothetical? Well, that could definitely be one of the rare moments in the life of a young man who has single-handedly shown the world what immense self-belief, extraordinary grit and strong will-power can do. That is none other than king of clay - Rafael Nadal.
Born on the 3rd of June, 1986, Nadal started training under his uncle and coach Toni Nadal from the tender age of 3. By the time he was 8, he emerged as a promising striker in a local football team. It was then that an important decision was to be made. Soccer or tennis? Sebastian Nadal, the father of the illustrious Rafael Nadal chose tennis over Nadal’s childhood love for soccer. The decision proved just too right and today Sebastian Nadal is a proud father. Never away from the watchful eyes of his uncle, Nadal’s persona has been well-tempered due to his attachment with the family.
He attended school but he trained for tennis as well. Also he regularly took part in contests and by the age of 16, Nadal was among the top 50 players of the world. Staying with family at an age when most tennis professionals live a hard life at academies has taught Nadal lot of things that has strengthened his mind.
Professionally, 2005 was Nadal’s breakthrough year. Reaching the 4th round at Australian Open and finals in Miami, his power play marked the arrival of a stalwart. He also won the French Open in his very first attempt. But Wimbledon showed him the hard way when exit came in the second round. In July at 19 years, 1 month and 22 days Nadal became the third teen in the history of tennis to reach world no 2. After this phenomenal year, as they say, everything is history.
The Nadal sensation continues, as this year he won back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon finals, playing with a strong two-handed backhand, well-angled top-spin heavy strokes, fast mobility, excellent defense and a preference to play from deep court. Nadal has emerged as one of the best ever players. The extraordinary energy source that Rafael is his astonishing speed, muscular strength, indomitable spirit coupled with a grounded to earth attitude makes him the winner that he is! His is an aggression that is devoid of hostility a power play that is worth celebration. Yet constant bickering and murmurs are not totally absent. Presently the focus has shifted to his lesser-known female friend Maria Francesca Perello, who is also a friend of his sister, Maria Isabel. With all the furore around him, Nadal seems interested about just one thing “To be happy and to be with my family”. Pocketing 5 slam titles and 15 ATP masters titles, Nadal’s game for more. Given past history, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be this way. Hail Nadal!