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Rafa minus his racquet but wearing a big smile
Nadal in characteristic gesture of triumph
A grinning Rafa Nadal & Carlos Moya following Spain's Davis Cup win 2004.

Born in Manacor Mallorca, only twenty-three years old, and with three grand slams to his name, Rafa Nadal was the No. 1 seed until forced to withdraw from the circuit due to injury. Supremely adept on the hard court, he remains the bête noire of Roger Federer. Each encounter of these two great players produces nail-biting suspense.

Nadal is a left-handed player with a two handed backhand although he writes with his right one. He started playing tennis at the age of four, encouraged by his uncle, Toni Nadal, who has coached him ever since. Invariably polite on and off court, he maintains his composure under stress and has never been seen to throw a tantrum or his racquet on the ground.

Rafa’s other uncle, Miguel Angel Nadal, played professional football for RCD Mallorca, RCD Barcelona and Spain, and it wasn’t until he was twelve that Rafa chose tennis over football. The following year, he played an exhibition match with Pat Cash who was supposed to be playing Boris Becker and was not enthused at playing an unknown youth. It was a close match but Cash had to concede defeat. Nadal won his first ATP match in Mallorca in 2002 when he beat Ramon Delgado.