Rafael Nadal

On this date in 1986, tennis star Rafael Nadal was born Manacor, Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. Nadal began playing tennis when he was 3 and is consistently ranked as one of the best tennis players in the world. A lefthander, he represented Spain in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and won the gold medal in men’s singles. As of this writing in June 2023, he had won 22 Grand Slam singles events (Australian Open, U.S. Open, Wimbledon, French Open). Only Novak Djokovic, with 23, had more. Nadal earned the nickname “the king of clay” because of his success on clay courts, including 14 French Open titles.

Nadal became the face for Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans in 2011. Shakira also featured Nadal in the music video for her hit song “Gypsy.” Nadal is a soccer fan and his favorite teams are Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca. He married María Francisca (Xisca) Perelló, in October 2019 in Port de Pollença, Mallorca. They had been dating since 2005. He is an active philanthropist. He has helped plant trees in Thailand and has his own nonprofit, Fundación Rafa Nadal, which focuses on helping children in Spain, where he has supported the Special Olympics. The foundation also helped build a school in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

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