Rafael Nadal, the only two-time Abu Dhabi champion, is making his fifth Mubadala World Tennis Championship appearance. The Spanish star has competed in every Mubadala World Tennis Champion since its inception. He captured his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo title where he defeated Djokovic in the final, ending a streak of seven straight finals losses to the Serbian. He went on to win his seventh title in eight years on the clay in Barcelona and went on to win his seventh French Open title, and 11th Grand Slam, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in the final.
Regarded by many as the best clay-courter of all time, Nadal had a match record of 23-1 on clay in 2012. Nadal has held the World No. 1 ranking for 102 weeks in his career and is one of only seven male players to hold the career grand slam.
Nadal was forced to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati as well as the US Open with a knee injury.
Rafael Nadal Parera, or “Rafa” as he is called by friends and family began playing tennis at the age of four with his uncle Toni, who is his longtime coach. He works with fitness trainer Rafael Maymo. He plays tennis left-handed, but is naturally right-handed. When he was young Rafa played with a two-handed backhand and forehand, but his uncle made him change to a one-handed forehand at the age of nine or 10. Nadal played his only junior Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in 2005, where he reached the Semifinals.
Nadal’s father, Sebastian, is a business partner with two of his brothers of a restauraunt, Sa Punta, as well as the owner of a glass and window company. His mother is Ana Maria. Rafa has one younger sister, Maria Isabel. His other uncle, Miguel Angel Nadal, is a former professional soccer player with stints at FC Barcelona, Real Mallorca and the Spanish national team, which competed in the 2002 World Cup. Miguel also played on two other World Cup teams in 1994 and 1998. The family comes from Mallorca, the same island as fellow countryman Carlos Moya. The city of Manacor is the second-biggest on the island of Mallorca.
Rafa was named ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2003, ATP Most Improved Player of the Year in 2005 and ATP Player of the Year in 2008 and 2010. He won the Prince of Asturias award in 2008, which is named for Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe. In October 2010, Nadal opened the Rafael Nadal Tennis School in Anantpur, India, which hosts district, state and national-level tournaments. The school puts equal emphasis on children’s education and tennis training. In 2011 Rafa received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award for his contributions through the Rafa Nadal Foundation.