Unreal facts about ‘The King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal that you probably didn’t know
Rafael Nadal is certainly a household name, but how much do his fans know about The King of Clay? Check out these interesting facts about Nadal that you probably didn’t know.
He was born and raised in Mallorca, an island in Spain. He still visits his hometown during the off-season, making him one of the few players on the ATP Tour who still visits their place of birth.
At 12 years old, Nadal had to decide on his sporting career between football/soccer and tennis. He loved football but ultimately chose the path to his successful tennis career.
He is one of the most famous left-handed tennis players. Despite his hand preference, Nadal uses his right hand for every other daily activity. His uncle Toni Nadal had noticed that his nephew was playing two-handed forehands from both sides. This led the Spaniard to discover that his right-handed backhand would severely threaten his opponents.
Nadal plays with one of the smallest grips on the ATP Tour, which measures four and a half inches.
He beat Grand Slam Champion Pat Cash before turning 15. However, Cash had retired from professional tennis before their match and regularly played events worldwide.
The Spaniard became the ninth player in history to win an ATP match before his 16th birthday. In 2002 he defeated Ramon Delgado in Majorca to claim the record.
He has played for Spain numerous times, winning a gold medal for his country at the 2008 Olympics.
Nadal is highly superstitious, with his most notable superstition being his recurring lining up of the water bottle during/before a match. He always ensures that the brand name faces the court at every change. He also brings two water bottles to his matches, with one being slightly warmer.
The Spaniard has also been seen to adjust his socks to be the same level before every point.
The 36-year-old was given the rightfully earned nickname ‘the King of Clay’ for his consistent performance on the surface, making him virtually unbeatable on clay. He also goes by names such as El Nino, Rafa, Rafi, and Spain’s Raging Bull.
Nadal might be one of the bravest players on the court, but that can’t be said about dogs. He revealed in his 2010 autobiography that he isn’t a big fan of them and that he ” doubts their intentions.”
The world No. 14 has the longest winning streak on the clay court, winning 81 consecutive matches over three years.
The King of Clay also has an asteroid named after him in 2003, despite being an up-and-comer with very few awards.
“If you don’t lose, you can’t enjoy victories. You have to accept both things.” says a motivational Rafael Nadal.
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