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Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2008
Rafael Nadal Parera (Manacor, Mallorca, Islas Baleares, Spain, 1986) started practising tennis at the age of five. After setting a record of 160 consecutive weeks as second seed, he seized the Number 1 ranking from Roger Federer (Switzerland) in 2008 in a season in which he also successfully defended his titles at the Masters Series Monte Carlo -for the fourth year running- and at the Conde de Godó Championship, as well as winning his first titles at Hamburg and in Canada.
He began his successful career in the lower categories and in 1999 became Spanish junior doubles champion as well as winning the Nike Junior Tour International Masters Tournament in Barcelona, in the under-14 category. A professional player since 2001, he was one of the members of the Spanish team that won the Winter Cup in Montecatini (Italy). He reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in the junior category in 2002 and that same year became Junior Davis Cup champion in a tournament in which he won two of the three points that gave Spain its victory over the USA.
To date, he has won 22 Grand Slam tournaments, which makes him the professional player with the most “major” titles in the history of tennis. He has won the Roland Garros Tournament fourteen times, being the tennis player who has won this title the most times (in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022), the Wimbledon Championship twice (2008 and 2010, coming runner-up in 2006, 2007 and 2011), the Australian Open on two occasions (2009 and 2022, coming runner-up in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019) and the US Open three times (2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019, coming runner-up in 2011). With Spain, he also won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 in singles and a gold medal in doubles, alongside Marc López, at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016. He has likewise formed part of the Spanish Davis Cup Team since 2004, having won the cup four times (2004, 2008, where he could not play the final due to injury, 2009 and 2011, where he won the match point for the Spanish team). On three occasions he has ended the year as the world’s No. 1 tennis player in the ATP ranking (in 2008, 2010 and 2013), in addition to finishing five seasons as No. 2, one as No. 4 and one as No. 3. He is the youngest male tennis player in history to win the ‘Career Golden Slam’ (which includes the four Grand Slams and gold medal at the Olympic Games, though not in the same calendar year) at the age of 24 years and 103 days, an achievement only shared with André Agassi, who did so at the age of 29 years and 38 days. He is the only male tennis player to win three Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces in the same year (2010), the player to have won the most titles since the beginning of the ‘Open Era’ (Roland Garros on nine occasions) and the first to win at least one Grand Slam title ten seasons running. He is one of only three tennis players to have won the Summer Slam, that is to say, to have won the two Masters 1000 on hard court (Montreal and Cincinnati) and the US Open in the same season, along with Patrick Rafter (1998) and Andy Roddick (2003). He is currently ranked No. 2 in the Masters 1000 singles ranking, with 35 titles, in addition to No. 3 in doubles, only surpassed by Novak Djokovic (30 titles) , ahead of other illustrious players like Roger Federer (24), John McEnroe (19) and Andre Agassi (17). In 2010, he became the only tennis player in history to win the ‘Clay Slam’, which consists in winning the three Masters 1000 on clay in the same year: Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid, as well as the Roland Garros Grand Slam, which is also played on clay. He holds the record of consecutive victories on the same surface, 81 (on clay). He is the player to have won both the Montecarlo and Rome Opens the most times (6 times). Nadal has beaten thirteen opponents ten times or more and three opponents twenty times or more. Only 4 active players have a winning record against Nadal.
He is the Spanish tennis player with the highest number of singles titles, 86 (outdoing Manuel Orantes and Conchita Martínez, with 33), the most Grand Slam titles, 20 (outdoing Manolo Santana and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, with 4), the most Masters 1000 titles, 35 (outdoing Conchita Martinez, with 9) and has been the Spaniard who has ranked No. 1 in the ATP World Ranking for the most weeks and the seventh player in history, holding the title for 141 weeks (the first time he held this ranking was from 18th August 2008 to 5th July 2009, the second from 6th June 2010 to 3rd July 2011, and the third from 7th October 2013 ).
In 2008, he created the Rafael Nadal Foundation, a charitable organisation focussing on social work among disadvantaged groups and cooperation for development.
The acknowledgements he has received include the Barón de Güell Cup at the 2004 Spanish National Sports Awards as part of the Spanish Davis Cup team; the 2006 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Prize; and the 2006 National Sports Prize, awarded by the Spanish Council for Sports. In 2008, he received the ESPY Best Male International Athlete Award (USA) and was bestowed with the Gold Medal by Majorca Chamber of Commerce.
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