The tennis world had a tough time coming to terms with the fact that Andy Murray was going to overtake all and become their new king. But in 2016, no one was exempt from Rafael Nadal’s dominance as he stormed through the U.S. Open – beating everybody in his path while rarely losing any sets along the way.
After being knocked out in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic, there was one thing that everyone expected Nadal to do. He was going to show up with his best effort at Wimbledon and give Murray everything he had in order to finally end their long rivalry. But after a bad start where Nadal had lost the first two sets 6-3 6-4, he quickly grew into the match as he blanked Murray 7-5 6-3 in just over an hour. For the record, Murray had never in his career been beaten 6-0 in a final.
In the final, Nadal would bring his ridiculous talent to play against Roger Federer. And he did it once again by knocking the Swiss out of the tournament in five sets and winning his 5th Wimbledon title. He looked very comfortable throughout the whole match and won 31 of 36 total points off his first serve, showing that he should not be taken lightly at any time going into 2017. It doesn’t help that he is ranked as the #1 player in the world, either. In July, he won the US Open for the second time in his career after getting past Stan Wawrinka.
So when you look back at 2016 and try to pick out who was the most dominant athlete or team, there really is no debate. It was Rafael Nadal. But, with Nadal being 31 years old and Federer is 35 years old – there’s a very good chance that 2017 will be a different story. But, just like they say with the stock market, past performance does not guarantee future results. One thing will be for certain, people are going to try to knock Nadal off his throne. Here’s a look back at some other players who tried to overthrow the king and failed.
The Life of Rafael Nadal: From Fatherless Childhood to Successful Tennis Player
Rafael Nadal is one of the most successful tennis players in history. Rafael has won 16 Grand Slam titles and his success at this sport came from great determination. Rafael Nadal was born on June 3rd, 1986, to parents who were both professional tennis players, Ana María Parera and Sebastián Nadal. Rafael had a happy childhood until his father died when he was just two years old due to a fatal heart attack caused by an undetected genetic disorder called cardiomyopathy. Rafael’s uncle took care of him after that but then became ill himself in 2017 leading up to Rafael’s victory at Roland Garros last year (2017). Rafael then found support from his uncle’s wife, Ana María Parera until he was seven years old when they moved to Manacor where his grandparents lived. There, he attended a school where over 90 percent of the students were tennis players and trained with them.
In 2003, Rafael took part in the French Open junior tournament but lost in the first round. Unwilling to give up, he then reached the semifinals at Wimbledon. This is when Nadal entered the realm of top tennis players. In 2004, at the age of just fourteen, he won the Spanish Open and then became the youngest player ever to clinch a Grand Slam title by winning both singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon in 2008, becoming just the second teenager after John McEnroe to achieve that feat. The next year he won again at Roland Garros and was among the top ten players in the world for a whole year. He has won 16 Grand Slam tournaments in his career and has become one of the top athletes in the world.
Nadal’s father died suddenly when he was two years old. His uncle took care of him but then became sick. His mother eventually moved to live with her parents and his grandmother and aunt became his main caregivers. Nadal’s mother was very strict and often told him that he needed to be a better tennis player or would be left alone in a dark room until he calmed down. His aunt, however, was much more supportive and said that if he kept practicing tennis she would take care of him forever. Nadal’s grandmother and uncle received a court order that said when Nadal turned seven years old he would be moved to his mother’s house in Manacor. Rafael did not want to leave his aunt because he loved her praise. He was afraid she would not love him anymore if he did not play well. She told him that if he worked hard, she would continue to love him and that gave him the motivation to work harder. Rafael was in school where the majority of students were also tennis players. He had many friends and classmates at this school who told him about how they practiced tennis and their trainers. One day Rafael’s uncle brought two of his male students with whom he practiced tennis and his uncle introduced them as being very good friends of Rafael’s. The students trained him five times a week on the tennis court. At this point in his life, Nadal was only good at playing doubles and his uncle told him that if he practiced enough he could still become the top player. Rafael Nadal began practicing ten hours a day to get better at singles and soon became the best player on his team. He was also able to beat the other team’s best players and his uncle said he would be safe as long as Nadal practiced hard. Rafael took part in many tournaments that were nearby to Manacor throughout his childhood and eventually won them all. He was now the best player on his team and he says that it is because of his uncle that he was able to become so successful. Nadal’s uncle had a heart attack at sixty-eight years old as Rafael prepared to play at Roland Garros (2017). Rafael continued practicing, got better at playing tennis, and only stopped playing after he won Roland Garros. He says that it was because of his uncle that he did not give up and his mannerisms are very similar to his uncles.
Rafael Nadal is now a successful tennis player who has won 16 Grand Slam tournaments. Rafael attributes his success to the support of others and his goal to win tournaments. He also said that it was because of these people encouraging him in the beginning that he was able to become successful and thanked them all for their support.
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