Although it was also brief, Rafa Nadal’s time on the Challenger Tour was more eventful than that of the Swiss. Over 19 years ago, in March 2003, Nadal lifted the first of his two titles in the category. Rafa had just lost three finals in Hamburg, Cherbourg and Cagliari. However, Barletta would go down in the annals as the city in which Rafael Nadal won his first title, beating Albert Portas in the final. The season was progressing and, despite his ascension through the rankings, his time on the Challenger Tour was still not over. Mariano Puerta will be remembered as the player against whom Rafa won his first Grand Slam, but this opponent also has, among other precedents, a chapter on 4 May 2003, the date on which the Argentine defeated Rafa in the final of the Challenger tournament in Aix en Provence 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. The loss came just a few weeks before Rafa would win his second and final title in the category in the classic Spanish El Espinar event, which takes place every year in Segovia. Interestingly, his final defeat on the tour came a few weeks later at the hands of his contemporary, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who has never beaten the Mallorcan since; the latter leads their head to head on the pro tour with 17 victories and 0 defeats.
Just one year later, a Serbian player would begin his triumphant passage through the Challenger events. On 17 May 2004, Budapest bore witness to the birth of one of the sport’s greatest stars. Novak Djokovic celebrated the first of his three challenger titles after beating Danielle Bracciali 6-1, 6-2. As mentioned, two more triumphs would come on the circuit, one of them on the indoor carpet of Aachen and the other in San
Remo on 9 May 2005 just a few months after playing in his first Australian Open. The Serb would end the year ranked 78 and a few months later would reach his first quarter-final at Roland Garros. He has not played another match on the feeder tour since.
For Andy Murray, it has been a very different story. His long list of injuries have forced him to return to the category. This is one of the Challenger Tour’s greatest virtues; it gives players who have fallen down the rankings a place to restart and find a way back into the ATP tournaments and commence a new assault on the world rankings. Going back to his origins, before he made the leap to professionalism, Andy made his Challenger debut in 2003 in Manchester. His only two titles on the tour would not come until 2005, following a serious knee injury, both came in the US summer swing. There would be a 16 year gap until the Scot’s next appearance in a Challenger final. In 2021, after numerous recoveries from injury, he reached the decider in Biella. Another memorable moment came when Andy enjoyed an unforgettable week here in 2019 at the second edition of the Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s International Realty.
With 66 Grand Slams between them, these legends all began to forge their paths on the courts of the Challenger Tour. So keep an eye on the players at the Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s International Realty. Could we be watching another future Grand Slam champion?
After three successful editions, the Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby´s International Realty will be back at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar from 29 August to 4 September. Fans making the trip to the event will enjoy a genuine tennis fest where entry, once again, will be free of charge.
In the first edition, held in 2018, Australian player Bernard Tomic became the first man in the winners’ circle at a tournament that was won by the Finnish Emil Ruusuvuori in 2019 and Slovakian player Luckas Lacko in 2021. The ATP Challenger Tour tournament has now established itself as one of the events of the summer in Mallorca, attracting 10,000 spectators to every edition, and is now preparing to welcome elite international players as in previous years. Fans that have previously packed the stands of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar have had the opportunity to watch, among others, ex-world number 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, young hopefuls such as Carlos Alcaraz and legends of Spanish tennis in Fernando Verdasco and Pablo Andújar.
Rafa himself, who won two Challenger titles as a teenager in Barletta (Italy) and El Espinar (Segovia) has urged everyone to enjoy the tournament, which he attended as a spectator last year: “It means a lot to us to be able to enjoy a week of very high level tennis in Manacor. I think that in previous years everyone had a very good time, as apart from watching great tennis, they were able to enjoy activities and leisure. I think that for the tennis players that come to the Academy, they know that they are in a fantastic place to play a tournament, as everything they need is readily available at the facilities, which they appreciate and later want to return to. We are confident that the Challenger event will be a success once more this year. At the Academy we continue to commit to growth and organising events. We’ll try to continue progressing in that regard”
The Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby´s International Realty, which kicks off on 29 August, will include a wide range of leisure activities, music and gastronomy to complement everything taking place on the courts.
As with the previous two editions, tickets will be free and fans can download them in the coming weeks on the website www.rafanadalopen.com. Also, any fans who download tickets can visit the Rafa Nadal Museum for just 8 euros.
In an emotional ceremony in Hong Kong, the world’s third “Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre” has been official opened. Located on the premises of the Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy (HKGTA), the sports complex has 7 outdoor tennis courts, one indoor tennis court, two mini tennis courts, a gym zone and a sports store with racket stringer, it will also have an area with décor inspired by some of the trophies and images from Rafa Nadal’s career.
Carlos Costa, Head of Business Development at the Academy, spoke of his satisfaction with the inauguration. “Thanks to its infrastructure, its great location and the great site the facilities form a part of, we hope that this Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre can become one of the most prestigious in the region and it will hopefully produce great players in the future”.
Monday saw the start of the tennis programmes, which have been designed using the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar methodology and with coaches who have moved from Mallorca to the Asian nation. The director of the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre will be Pedro Pissarra, a Portuguese coach with extensive teaching experience. The Italian Giorgia Venzi, one of the directors of the tennis for adults programmes, has also travelled from Manacor to Hong Kong. In addition, the rest of the team that works at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre has been in Mallorca in recent weeks receiving training in the RNA methodology on everything regarding the fundamental aspects of the tennis training system, physical preparation, nutrition, sports psychology, technology and values with the heads of each department.
As well as Giorgia Venzi and Pedro Pissarra, the presentation event was attended by Karen Yeung, Director of Sports and Education at HKGTA, Don So, Director Business at New World Development and Michael Stevens, General Manager of HKGTA.
The Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre (RNTC) complexes were conceived as a new line of sports centres to complement the Rafa Nadal Academies in Mallorca and Kuwait. The tennis complexes are located within first-class holiday resorts at premium international destinations. After the opening of the first Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre in the heart of the Mexican Caribbean (Costa Mujeres), and the RNTC on the peninsula of Halkidiki (one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece), the third centre of this type has now officially opened in Hong Kong.
Rafa Nadal himself talked of his excitement at the implementation of this project, which will be complete in less than three months: “We’re very excited about this new international project in Hong Kong. Since the opening of the Academy in Mallorca 5 years ago, we have always been interested in expanding our methodology to more countries in order to reach as many people as possible. To us, having trusted partners is fundamental and therefore I’m grateful to the HKGTA team for their great confidence in the project. The facilities are spectacular and we’ll have great coaches at the helm of the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre. I’m sure it will be a success and that we will gradually continue our international expansion.”
The goal of the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre in Hong Kong will be to offer first-class tennis coaching that helps promote this sport in the country thanks to the various programmes tailored to the needs of different players. These programmes were developed using an
exclusive training system based on the successful experience of Rafa Nadal and his coaching staff during almost 20 years on the professional tour.
There are now five international sports complexes that bear Rafa Nadal’s name; Mallorca, Kuwait, Mexico, Greece and Hong Kong. Both the 22-time Grand Slam champion and his team aim to continue the international expansion into more countries in the coming years.
Método exclusivode entrenamiento
Entrenamiento mentalalto rendimiento
The facilities of the Academy have been adapted to comply with the safety and hygiene protocols established by health authorities. Thanks to synergy with QuirónSalud (healthcare partner of the Academy) the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar has been considered a success story by the press and international institutions, and an example of safety and trust thanks to its management during the health crisis caused by COVID-19.
It has also obtained the seal "Safe COVID-19 Protocol by Quirónsalud" issued by Applus +. This seal certifies the quality and efficiency of the Academy's work processes to guarantee the safety and well-being of all its players. We are very proud of our human team, which has obtained the experience and knowledge necessary to develop a protocol that guarantees a safe stay and sports practice in our facilities.
To guarantee a safe environment, all players and guests of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar must comply with the health measures approved by the Government of the Balearic Islands, which include restrictions on the entry of passengers to Mallorca.
The preventive measures associated with the current pandemic for our players enrolled in the Junior Programs will be confirmed by the Players Desk team before the arrival of the players and their families, according to the context upon arrival.
Below are some of the safety measures that have been implemented to prevent COVID-19 contagion:
Certified protocol against COVID-19 APPlus+:
Today we are winning the matches that we will play tomorrow.
We want you to know how important you are to us and to remind you that together we will come out on top.
For this reason, and to adapt to your personal circumstances, at Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar we offer you the possibility of modifying or cancelling your new reservations at no cost, booking the FLEXBLE PLUS rate, if you do so at least 48 hours before starting your stay with us. We will play again soon!
Get ready – your best matches are yet to come!