Rafael Nadal, the two-time Mubadala World Tennis Champion (2009 and 2011) and current world number one, is making his fifth tournament appearance in Abu Dhabi this year. The Spanish star is excited to be back in Abu Dhabi and is the only player to have signed up to play every Mubadala World Tennis Championship since the tournament started. After a seven month absence from competitive tennis following a knee injury last season, Nadal came back with a vengeance in February 2013, making the VTR Open final and capturing his 37th clay-court title in Sao Paulo.
Nadal saw a 46-match win streak come to an end at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo, where he lost to Djokovic in the final. Not to be discouraged, Nadal reemerged in April to win his eighth Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title in nine years, becoming the first player to win four titles in 2013.
On June 9th he became the first player to win the same Grand Slam tournament eight times when he beat Ferrer in the Roland Garros final which also saw him surpass Bjorn Borg’s record of most consecutive years with at least one Grand Slam title.
After a surprise first round defeat at this year’s Wimbledon, Nadal bounced back with wins in Montreal and Cincinnati which saw him take the World No. 2 spot from Andy Murray. On September 9th, he became the first player since Roddick in 2003 to clinch the Canada-Cincinnati-US Open trophy, after a four-set win over Djokovic in US Open final.
Nadal remains unbeaten on hard court in a year which has seen him win 60 of 64 matches and lift 10 titles, two of them major.
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 plays tennis left-handed, but is naturally right-handed. Nadal played his only junior Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in 2005, where he reached the semi-finals.
Nadal’s father, Sebastian, is a business partner with two of his brothers of a restaurant, Sa Punta. His athletic skills run in the family as one of his uncles, 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.
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. 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.