Once again the physical problems have prevented the best player in the history of tennis on clay again finish the season 2018 as number 1 in the world. After an extraordinary campaign in the first part of the year, Rafael Nadal had to give his privileged position in the world ranking to Novak Djokovic, concluding the season as world number 2. A knee injury forced him to retire at the semifinals of the US Open, a problem in the abdominals prevented him from playing in the Rolex Paris Masters and could not participate in the Nitto ATP Finals in London and the same day of the draw was operated on his right ankle in Barcelona.
Still, Nadal won five ATP titles in 2018, including one of the big ones (Roland Garros) and three Masters 1,000 (Monte Carlo, Rome and Toronto), established a world record by winning consecutively 50 sets in the clay season (the record holder with 49, was John McEnroe since 1984) and reached 196 weeks as world tennis leader. In Paris, Monte Carlo and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell he achieved 11 victories, another absolute record in the men's circuit.
And not to forget, the admirable gesture of Rafa with a shovel helping in the tasks of clearing up after the tragic floods of Sant Llorenç des Casdassar in October.
2019 was the umpteenth time that Nadal returned after the dark tunnel of injuries. And once again, he reassured everyone by reaching the Australian Open final, in which he fell to Novak Djokovic. He had not played a tournament before and had an 129 day absence on the circuit after his retirement at the US Open.
At 32, Nadal reaches incredible numbers that make him one of the most outstanding tennis players in the history of this sport: 80 ATP titles (17 of them Grand Slam), 918 games won, two Olympic gold medals, in singles (Beijing 2008) and doubles (Rio de Janeiro 2016), and four titles in the Davis Cup with the Spanish team.
In 2016 he opened in Manacor, his hometown, an academy that bears his name and is dedicated to teaching tennis and preserving his enormous legacy. In 2018 hosted the first tournament with the name of Rafael Nadal, tournament belonging to the Challenger circuit that was won by the Australian Bernard Tomic.
Like all the great champions, Rafa started playing as a child, at 4 years old. His uncle Toni has been his only coach throughout his career, although in the 2017 season Carlos Moya, joined his technical "staff", a friend of his and former world No1.
His father Sebastià is a partner with two brothers of the Sa Punta restaurant and owner of a company of crystal and glass, Vidres Mallorca. His mother, Anna Maria, is a housewife and is currently managing the Rafael Nadal Foundation, which organizes annually a circuit for tennis players under 14 years old based on eight tournaments in Spain that aims to attract.