Photo of Rafael Nadal


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Player history

2001 - Nadal made a professional debut at Spain F10 Futures at the age of 15, winning a Challenger match in the following week

2002 - His ATP debut came at home in Mallorca in April, still at the age of 15, and he became the 9th player in the Open era who scored an ATP win before 16th birthday. He claimed 6 Futures titles (20 wins in a row), also reaching the semi-final at Barcelona Challenger to finish the season inside the Top 250

2003 - 6 Challenger finals including titles in Barletta (the 6th youngest Challenger champion) and Segovia. First Masters 1000 win in Monte Carlo, as a qualifier, and 3rd round of Wimbledon, as the youngest player in the last 32 since Boris Becker in 1984! First ATP semi-final in Umag and a win on his US Open debut. Finished the season inside the Top 50 for the first time, as the 4th youngest player in that group

2004 - The first full season on the ATP Tour, finishing with 30 wins and just outside the Top 50. He advanced to his first ATP final in Auckland, losing to Dominic Hrbaty, and he won 2 matches on his Australian Open debut before Lleyton Hewitt stopped him in the third round. In Miami, Nadal took down Roger Federer to become the youngest player since the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990 who toppled the world number 1. He suffered a left ankle injury in Estoril and was forced to miss the next 3 months, returning in July and winning his first ATP title in August in Sopot, becoming the youngest ATP champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 1998. Nadal helped his country to win the Davis Cup, beating world number 2 Andy Roddick in 4 sets

2005 - Breakthrough season with 79 wins (50-2 on clay) and 11 ATP titles, in one of the greatest seasons for teenagers in the history of the game. He was the youngest year-end number 2 since Boris Becker in 1986 and also the 7th teenager with a Grand Slam crown, the first since Pete Sampras in 1990. After lifting trophies in Sao Paulo and Acapulco, Nadal lost to Roger Federer in the final of Miami Masters, in 5 sets, and he conquered his first Masters 1000 trophy in Monte Carlo, becoming the second youngest winner at this level after Michael Chang in 1990. He was unstoppable in Barcelona, Rome, and Paris as well, rattling off 24 wins in a row and standing as the youngest player who conquered Roland Garros since Michael Chang in 1989. Nadal played well on the hard courts as well, beating Andre Agassi in Montreal final and also going all the way in Beijing and Madrid, which was his first indoor crown

2006 - Spent the entire season ranked second behind Roger Federer, with a 59-12 record. Rafa won 5 titles (4 over Roger in the final), defending his crowns at Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome (his 16th title as a teenager, the most with Bjorn Borg) and Roland Garros, undefeated in the last 14 ATP finals he played. That changed at Wimbledon, where he advanced to the title match after holding serve in 80 consecutive games, only to get beaten by Federer in 4 sets. He reached the quarter-final at the US Open and also the semis at the Masters Cup, finishing the season as the 2005 ATP Most Improved Player of Year and European ATP Player of Year. He was undefeated on his favorite surface, with a 26-0 record on clay

2007 - Another season when he spent every week ranked 2nd, and he was the only player to finish the year at that position in 3 consecutive years. Notched 70 ATP wins and was the only player on the Tour with at least 30 wins on both clay and hard courts. Rafa beat Novak Djokovic to lift his first Indian Wells trophy and he stayed unbeaten in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros, just like in the previous 2 seasons. Nadal became the first player with 3 back-to-back Roland Garros crowns since Bjorn Borg in 1981, but his amazing streak of 81 wins on clay was ended in Hamburg final where Federer took him down in 3 sets. Advanced to his second Wimbledon final, losing to Federer in 5 sets, and he closed the season with the final in Paris Masters and another semis at Masters Cup

2008 - Tour-leading 82 wins and 8 titles, and he became world number 1 on August 18, after spending 160 weeks as the second best player in the world. For the first time in his career, Rafa was in the semi-final of all 4 Grand Slams, becoming the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1980 who won Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same season! He was in his own league on clay again, winning Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros for the 4th time in a row, conquering the Roland Garros without losing a set, as the first player since Borg in 1980. At Wimbledon, Nadal prevailed against Federer in 4 hours and 48 minutes to lift the first crown at the All England Club, in the longest final ever at this Major. On the wings of that success, Nadal won Toronto Masters and Olympic gold medal in Beijing, becoming world number 1 on the following day. Rafa played only 3 tournaments until the end of the season, losing to Andy Murray in the semi-final of US Open and to Gilles Simon in Madrid, playing his last match in Paris where he retired to Nikolay Davydenko. 

2009 - A year after conquering the top of the ATP rankings, Nadal fell down from the Top 2 for the first time since 2005, but he finished the season inside the Top 2 for the 5th year in a row. He compiled a 66-14 record with 5 titles, including his 6th Major and 3 Masters 1000 crowns, and he helped Spain to win the Davis Cup title. That Grand Slam title came in Melbourne, scoring grueling wins over Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer in the last 2 rounds, becoming the first player since 1988 and Mats Wilander who had to play a 5-setter in both semis and the final, and also the third U22 player with 3 different Majors, behind Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras. He beat Andy Murray to win the title in Indian Wells and he continued in the same style in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome, before losing to Roger Federer in Madrid final, a day after that marathon semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic that lasted more than 4 hours. After 31 consecutive wins at Roland Garros, Nadal was halted by Robin Soderling in the 4th round, which was his first loss in best-of-5 clay matches after 49 triumphs. Knee problems kept him away from the court until Montreal and he had a solid closing run of the season, with the semi-final appearances in Cincinnati, US Open, Beijing, and Paris, also losing the Shanghai final to Davydenko. His win over Tomas Berdych in Davis Cup final was already his 400th on the Tour, still at the age of 23

2010 - Just like in 2008, Nadal was the best player of the season, finishing with 71 ATP wins and 7 titles, including 3 Grand Slam crowns! After clinching the title in New York, Rafa has become the 7th player in history with a Career Grand Slam, the youngest in the Open era who grabbed all 4 Slams and also the first player since Rold Laver in 1969 with 3 consecutive Grand Slam titles in a season. In addition, Nadal was the first player who won all 3 clay Masters 1000 events in a single season and he regained his Roland Garros, title, winning it for the 5th time in 6 years after ousting Robin Soderling in the final. He was above all the rivals in Monte Carlo, lifting the 6th consecutive trophy in the Principality, dropping 14 games in 5 matches for his most impressive title ever, and he claimed a record-breaking 18th Masters 1000 trophy in Madrid. 5th Roland Garros title also came without losing a set and he was only the second player after Bjorn Borg to win 5 titles in Paris. Nadal beat Tomas Berdych in the final of Wimbledon, conquering his second "Channel Slam" before going all the way at the US Open as well, losing 1 set en route to the title to become the second player after Mats Wilander with at least 2 Majors on all 3 different surfaces. An improved serve gave him 90% of the service games won and he was also the best player of the season when it comes to saving break points (69%) 

2011 - Another solid season with 69 wins and 3 titles, but he lost 7 matches to Novak Djokovic, 6 in the finals! He played in the quarter-final in 14 out of 16 tournaments during the season, including 7 consecutive finals between Indian Wells and Roland Garros, winning titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Roland Garros and losing 4 finals to Djokovic. That title in Paris was the 10th Major for Nadal, who became the second player after Bjorn Borg with 6 Roland Garros trophies, and he lost the Wimbledon and US Open finals to Novak. Again, he was the leader of Spanish Davis Cup team in victory over Argentine in Seville, beating Juan Monaco and Juan Martin del Potro to end the season on a high note, ranked in the Top 2 for the 7th consecutive year

2012 - In his worst season since 2004, Nadal won just 42 matches after being forced to end the season at Wimbledon, due to constant knee troubles. Still, he won 11 Top 10 matches and titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros. In Melbourne, Novak Djokovic beat him in that epic 5 hours 53 minutes final but Nadal bounced back on clay, claiming a Grand Slam and Masters 1000 title for the 8th consecutive season. He finished the season ranked 4th, his lowest year-end rank since 2004

2013 - Spaniard came back strong after 7 months off the court, with a 75-7 record and 10 ATP titles, finishing the season atop for the 3rd time. In Indian Wells, Nadal won his first title on the hard court since 2010 and his win over del Potro in the final was his 600th on the Tour. After 46 consecutive wins in Monte Carlo and 81 in the month of April, he was defeated by Novak Djokovic in the final, but he conquered Barcelona, Madrid (40th title on clay), Rome and Roland Garros, where he became the first player with 8 titles at the same Major. His hard court tennis was at the very best in Canada, Cincinnati, and the US Open, losing just 4 sets in total, and the title in New York was his 13th Grand Slam crown, becoming the 3rd best player ever behind Sampras and Federer. He won more than 35 matches on both clay and hard and we saw him in the ATP Finals title match for the first time, losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets

2014 - Injuries halted his progress once again, finishing with 48 wins and 4 titles, which was enough for the 3rd place in the year-end rankings. He won his 9th Roland Garros title, extending his streak of at least one Major won in the season to 10, and he was also the winner in Madrid, his only Masters 1000 title of the season. He failed to win an ATP title in April for the first time since 2004, and he was beaten in an ATP quarter-final match on clay after 46 consecutive wins when David Ferrer ousted him in Monte Carlo. Right wrist injury kept him away from the court after Wimbledon, where Nick Kyrgios stunned him in the 4th round (Nadal was still world number 1) and he played just 3 tournaments before he closed the season after Basel due to appendicitis

2015 - Nadal played the entire season but he was not on the same level as before, winning 61 matches but also losing 20, winning just 3 titles. He was beaten at Roland Garros only for the second time and he failed to win Grand Slam or Masters 1000 titles for the first time since 2004! After the US Open, he won 17 out of 22 matches to finish the year in the Top 5 for the 11th consecutive time

2016 - Another mediocre season for Spaniard's standards, with 39 wins and 4 titles, missing a lot of tournaments due to a wrist injury and finishing the season ranked 9th. He failed to reach Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in 12 years and he won just 2 titles, in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He became the 8th player with 200 Grand Slam wins before being forced to withdraw before the match with Marcel Granollers in Paris, unable to reach the 4th round at Roland Garros for the first time ever

2017 - Like many times before, Nadal bounced back even stronger after 2 poor seasons, winning 67 matches and 6 ATP titles to finish the season as the top-ranked player, for the 4th time in his career. At the age of 31, Rafa is also the oldest year-end number 1 player since the start of the ranking in 1973. He became the 3rd player in tennis history to win Grand Slam title as a teenager and in the  20s and 30s, after Ken Rosewall and Pete Sampras, going all the way at Roland Garros and US Open. Nadal is now the second player with most Grand Slam finals and titles, only behind Federer, who beat him in the epic Australian Open final at the start of the season. Nadal regained his supremacy on clay for the first time in 4 years, winning titles in Monte Carlo (50th ATP crown on clay), Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros (the oldest champion since 1972), with all of those except Rome coming for the 10th time! Wimbledon again failed to live his expectations, losing in the 4th round to Gilles Muller by 15-13 in the 5th, and he also lost early in Canada and Cincinnati as well. Nonetheless, he used a favorable draw to win the US Open for the 3rd time and he was the player to beat in Beijing as well, gathering some valuable points in year-end number 1 battle with Roger Federer. Swiss beat him in the final of Shanghai but Rafa did enough to secure year-end number position in Paris

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