If you don’t know the name Rafael Nadal, no rx we don’t know what you’ve been missing. The tennis player just earned his ninth French Open title yesterday in a repeat of last year’s final versus Novak Djokovic, illness making the 28-year-old clay legend (he’s got a 63-1 record!) our HAM of the Week.
Thanks to all!!!! pic.twitter.com/GZuH6Fng7a
“Rafa”, as he is known to his legion of fans, is the current world #1, and he’s aced his way into our hearts. He’s a sexy and single Spaniard who has won more than 50 titles in his 13 years of turning pro—what more can we love about our HAM of the Week?
For starters, he is only one of two singles players (behind tennis legend Andre Agassi) to complete a Career Golden Slam, meaning he has won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open, in addition to the Olympic gold medal (which he won in 2008) in the span of his career.
He’s also an avid soccer fan, having played the sport when he was young in addition to tennis. Though he chose to focus on the latter, he still supports Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca as well as the Spanish national team, fitting for the World Cup, which begins this week.
Turning pro at 15, Nadal participated in events at the junior and senior circuits, winning his first major senior match on the ATP circuit just before he turned 16. But it wasn’t until the following year that he faced current rival Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
By 19, Nadal won his first French Open title in his first appearance at the event, the first man to win the title since 1982. He went on to win the tournament the next three times.
If Nadal ever reaches a final in a tournament, you can bet he’s either going against Djokovic or Federer, the other two players who seem to be challenging Nadal for the best of the best. Nadal has faced Djokovic more than 40 times, with about half of those matches faced in the final round. Nadal has faced Federer 33 times, with 20 of those matches faced in the final.
According to his autobiography, while he does have a game plan against Federer, he’s still looking for one against Djokovic.
We’re not sure about Rafa’s constant habit of biting his trophies, but wow, it makes him so much sexier…
And it’s not everyday that you have an asteroid named after you. According to ATP World Tour, the asteroid is located between Mars and Jupiter and travels through space at 20 kilometers per second. Talk about star power.
Nadal is also charitable; his organization, Fundacion Rafa Nadal, provides educational programs for deprived children and teenagers through sports.
The one sport he’s not good at? Golf. But we’d rather have a superstar with 15 major Grand Slam titles to his name on the tennis court than anywhere else.
As a spokesman for Nike, Nadal also has a collection with the retailer, and has also emerged as a somewhat fashion icon. At just over 6 feet, he seems to be all muscle and pure heart.
Not to mention, being photographed by famed photographer Bruce Weber for the June 2009 issue of Vogue: