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Rafael Nadal, a.k.a “The King of Clay”, is a Spanish professional tennis player who is known as the greatest clay-court player in history owing to his dominance and success on the surface.
See the fact file below for more information on the Rafael Nadal or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Rafael Nadal worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
A PRODIGY IS BORN
- Rafael was born on June 3, 1986 in Manacor, Mallorca, in Spain.
- By three years old, Rafael picked up a tennis racket and his uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, started working with him.
- Nadal won an under-12 regional tennis championship by 8 and had won Spanish and European tennis titles by 12.
- He turned professional at the young age of just 15.
- At the age of 16, Nadal made it to the semifinals of the Boys’ Singles tournament at Wimbledon.
- At 17, he became the youngest male to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker.
- At the age of 19, in 2005, Nadal won the French Open the first time he competed in the tournament, and his world ranking shot to number 3. Nadal won 11 singles titles that year, 8 of which were on clay, and he was soon dubbed the “King of Clay”.
THE KING OF CLAY
- Nadal is the youngest player in the history of the international team competition to win a singles match for a country.
- Nadal’s second French Title was initially riddled with injuries and a series of losses. However, he went toe-to-toe against the number one seed, Roger Federer, and won a few matches before eventually resting with Roland Garros and French Open titles.
- By 2007, he defeated Federer once again, claiming his third French Title. But during the second half of the year, Nadal battled a knee injury suffered during the Wimbledon final.
- His rivalry against Federer intensified by 2008 as both faced each other in various tournaments. Nadal emerged victorious as the world No. 1 on 18 August, officially ending Federer’s record four-and-a-half-year reign at the top.
- In 2010, Nadal became the first man to win majors on clay, grass, and hard courts in the same year, and the first to win the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open in the same year. Nadal’s victory also clinched the year-end number 1.
- He won his sixth French Open title over Federer in 2011, but Novak Djokovic overtook Nadal as world No. 1 due to his Wimbledon victories.
- Nadal began to feel the strain of injuries the following years. By 2014, he skipped the rest of the season to undergo surgery for his appendix.
- Nadal’s record 10-year streak of winning at least one major per year came to an end in 2015.
- In 2016, Nadal became the second man in the open era to have won gold medals in both singles and doubles during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
- 2017 was his best year, returning the number 1 spot, along with the following record breaking feats:
- He was the oldest person to finish as the year end number one at the age of 31.
- Nadal became the first player to hold, lose, and regain the year-end No. 1 on three occasions.
- He was the first player to finish No. 1 four times in non-consecutive years.
- He was the first to finish in the top spot four years since he last achieved the feat.
- The nine-year gap between his first year-end No. 1 season (2008) and his last (2017) was a record as well.
THE PLAYING STYLE
- Rafael Nadal is one of the few players that hit their forehands with a straight arm.
- He has been a classic counter-puncher who pounds across the court to chase down balls. He then turns brick-wall defence into razor-sharp attack with one huge swing of his racket.
- Nadal generally plays a smart tactical game. His game plan is built around using his forehand as much as possible.
- The few matches that he loses are usually the ones where an opponent really attacks his balls with flat powerful shots.
- Nadal generally plays an aggressive, behind-the-baseline game founded on heavy topspin groundstrokes, consistency, speedy footwork, and court coverage, making him an aggressive counter puncher.
Rafael Nadal Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Rafael Nadal across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Rafael Nadal worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Rafael Nadal, a.k.a “The King of Clay”, who is a Spanish professional tennis player who is known as the greatest clay-court player in history owing to his dominance and success on the surface.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Playing Tennis
- Nadal Jargon
- Nadal Stats
- Face of the Brands
- The Tennis Icon
- …and All-Time Icons
- Professional Rivalry
- Sports Enthusiast
- RAFA: My Story
- Nadal and Tennis
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Link will appear as Rafael Nadal Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 3, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.