Over the past two decades, Rafael Nadal has become one of the most accomplished tennis players in history, claiming 19 Major titles and 35 masters 1000 crowns, backed by five year-end no. 1 finishes. The 33-year-old Spaniard has been ranked inside the top-15 for almost 15 years now, a unique feat that will take some beating, alongside many other incredible achievements on his tally.
On Wednesday, Nadal opened his second Rafa Nadal Academy in Kuwait, extending his legacy and offering a chance for the youngsters from the Middle East region to embrace the sport and follow their dreams of becoming the future champions of our sport.
Speaking about brightest and dearest moments from his incredible career, Rafa looked back upon some of the most notable triumphs he achieved, starting from 2004 when he claimed the first ATP title in Sopot. Despite reliable and competitive compatriots, Nadal was a part of the Spanish Davis Cup squad in all four rounds at 17 and 18, beating Andy Roddick in the final in Seville for a victory that highlighted his pre-2005 career.
Half a year later, Nadal became a Grand Slam champion just a couple of days after turning 19, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to reign at Roland Garros on debut. Three years later, the Spaniard mastered another surface and Major, toppling Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon after an epic battle, adding the fifth Major crown to his collection at 22 and one of the most cherished ones, already establishing his reign in Paris.
Rafa didn't have to wait too much for more tennis glory, passing all the obstacles at the Australian Open 2009 (battling against Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer for over ten hours within a couple of days) to master the third surface at Majors and continue his quest towards a Career Grand Slam.
The US Open 2013 is another event on Nadal's exclusive list, returning that year after a nasty knee injury that sidelined him for seven months, conquering New York in style and returning to the ATP throne in the closing stages of the season after winning ten titles overall.
Seven years later, Nadal is still among the best players in the world, chasing the 20th Major crown and more records and achievements after what had been an incredible 2019. "The first Davis Cup in Seville against the United States was fascinating.
After that came Roland Garros in 2005, the first Major I won. Wimbledon 2008 is a pivotal moment in my career as well, for various reasons. I have to mention the Australian Open 2009, another colossal success that came unexpectedly after all the struggles.
The US Open 2013 belongs on the exclusive list as well, winning the title following that knee injury that kept me away from the court for seven months."