At 36, Rafael Nadal won his fourteenth title at Roland-Garros on Sunday June 5 by dominating the Norwegian Casper Ruud (6-3, 6-3, 6-0). Seventeen years passed between his first and his 22nd Grand Slam title. But do you really know the "Bull of Manacor"? Afraid of the dark, fan of Tiger Woods, featured in a Shakira music video...
Here are ten things you might not know about the Spaniard. He is right-handed on a daily basis. His left arm is feared by all his opponents on the courts. But in everyday life, the Spaniard speaks with his right hand. In his autobiography published in 2012, Nadal explains how he became a left-handed tennis player around the age of 10: "When I was little, as I lacked strength, I played all the shots with both hands and my uncle m said: 'No professional plays like that, we are not going to innovate, you have to change.'
Naturally, the left won." His quirks help him focus. Besides his incredible track record, Nadal, a bit superstitious, is also known for his on-court rituals. Well-aligned bottles, clothing readjustments, cleaning up the service line… "If I don't do that with the bottles, I sit down and can think about something other than the game.
When I'm always doing the same things, it means I'm focused on competitive mode, willing to think only about tennis." He is a Real Madrid supporter. The Mallorcan has never hidden his love for Real Madrid. Invited to the Champions League final at the Stade de France between the Merengues and Liverpool on May 28, the tennis player, honorary member of the club since 2011, explained that he had difficulty arriving in Saint-Denis.
"I had to get out of the car on the highway and finish on foot." One of his uncles played for Barça. If the family is a supporter of Real Madrid, it is in the rival club that evolved for a time Miguel Angel Nadal, one of the two uncles of Rafa.
The player with 62 caps with the national team played for FC Barcelona from 1991 to 1999. An asteroid named after him. Since 2008, there has been not one, but two Rafael Nadals. The name of the tennis player was given to an asteroid, discovered five years earlier, by researchers at the Majorca Astronomical Observatory.
Located between Mars and Jupiter, the star measures 4 kilometers in diameter and moves at the speed of 20 kilometers per second. He was featured in a Shakira music video. In 2010, the Spaniard stepped out of his comfort zone by appearing in the clip of the Colombian singer, Gypsy.
The 24-year-old player at the time played Shakira's boyfriend, in a clip that made the buzz. He has his statue at Roland-Garros. In June 2021, the organizers of the Parisian Grand Slam had decided to pay tribute to the Mallorcan champion, thirteen times winner Porte d'Auteuil at the time, by inaugurating a statue in his likeness.
Designed by the Spanish sculptor Jordi Díez Fernandes, this stainless steel statue measures three meters in height and features the Mallorcan champion performing a forehand, mouth open, feet off the ground.
Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods
He has an excellent level in golf.
Sometimes Rafael Nadal swaps his racquet for a golf club. Accustomed to the greens, he has a handicap of +0.3, a level considered professional. He is a fan of Tiger Woods. Agile with a golf club in hand, the Majorcan closely follows the performance of American golfer Tiger Woods, his sporting idol.
"I've always said I don't have a role model, but if I had one, I would have to say it's him, he said in 2019. He's a big inspiration. accomplished in the sport, struggling so hard,.. He was always an example.
I hope one day we can play golf together." He hesitated between tennis and football. From his 3 to his 13 years, Rafael Nadal played football and tennis, before finally choosing the yellow ball. Ten years of playing the round ball which explains why the man with 22 Grand Slams is so agile on foot on the tennis courts.