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Rafa Nadal

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Rafa Nadal

This quote from Rafa Nadal symbolises the DNA of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar which, thanks to a demanding tennis training programme and an American academic system, coaches the young players in the values, virtues and aptitudes of Rafa himself. If you want to improve your tennis and continue your studies, this is your Academy! 

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Toni Nadal

The Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar has designed an annual training methodology based on the enriching experience acquired through years of success on the professional tour. The prestigious team of coaches, headed by Toni Nadal himself, is responsible for training young players and preparing them for the tennis of the future. Would you like to form part of that future?

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Toni Nadal

The people that excel in life are those that persevere

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As well as having the modern and comfortable residency at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar for junior players, the complex boasts a tourist sports centre with ideal accommodation.

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The RAFA NADAL MUSEUM XPERIENCE is more than just a museum. Along the 1.500 m2, you will have fun and compete with your friends, while you learn the values of sport.More info
All clients of the Rafa Nadal Sports Center will enjoy a 3000m2 fitness center with the newest Technogym machinery and a wide variety of directed activities, all that in addition to a semi-Olympic pool and a kids pool where they will be able to practice diverse aquafitness activities.More info
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Miami 2004: The first Nadal vs Federer

One of the most legendary rivalries in the history of tennis is that of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. They have crossed paths in competition a total of 40 times, with a balance of 24 victories to the Spaniard and 16 to the Swiss. But, do you remember the first time these two giants of the game clashed on a tennis court in singles? To find it you have to go back to 28 March 2004, when the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami brought them together in the first round.

 

The match only lasted 70 minutes, time during which Rafa strung together two consecutive sets (6-3, 6-3) to bring an abrupt end to a 12-win streak and become the second man that season –along with the then No. 10 Tim Henman- to break through the Swiss wall in the 25 matches he had played until that point. “I was very worried about him beating me 6-1, 6-1 or 6-1, 6-2, but I really wanted to play this match against the world number one”, recognised the Balearic Islander at the time. “I went out onto the court with a positive attitude, not with an attitude of trying to win the match. I’m really happy because I played one of the best matches of my career”.

 

The Spaniard was practically flawless on his serve (81% on first serves) and gave his opponent no chances to break while taking advantage of 3 of the 7 opportunities he enjoyed himself. “I was impressed with what I saw”, confessed Federer realising that in Key Biscayne he had met a player that would cause him plenty more problems in the future. However, the Swiss did not try to hide the fact that the victory was no surprise. “I’ve heard a lot about him and I’ve seen some of his matches”, he said after their first duel. “I don’t think it’s a big surprise to anyone”.

 

It was the twelfth defeat that Federer had suffered in his career at the hands of a Spanish opponent and now eight had beaten him: Joan Balcells, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sergi Bruguera, Álex Corretja, Francisco Clavet, Albert Costa, Félix Mantilla and Nadal himself. “I’m very happy because I played one of the best matches of my life. Obviously he didn’t play his best tennis and that’s why I was able to beat him”, explained a 17-year-old Rafa. “If he’d played his best tennis, I wouldn’t have had a chance. But that’s what happens in tennis. If a player like me plays very, very well and a top player like Roger doesn’t play his best, you can win. I’m very, very happy”.

 

The Manacor native could never have imagined that that match would not just be one of many in his career, but the first in a legendary series. “I’ve only played at Wimbledon, where I reached the third round and in the US Open where I played in the second round. Then, in Australia I lost to Hewitt in three sets. I need to play in Paris, where I’ve never been. There it’s different, because they are clay courts, but I think that physically I’m not such a limited player”, he said in an attempt to define himself after that famous result.

 

At the time, Nadal tried to take importance away from it. Was his telephone overloaded with messages? “I don’t think so because it’s four in the morning in Spain and everyone is sleeping”, came his answer. “Tomorrow, the newspapers won’t include news of it, but maybe online and on Teletext... Then, I’ll start to get calls”.

 

That first singles match (the previous week they had met in a doubles tie at Indian Wells) provided the foundations for a rivalry that is remarkable not only for their talent and passion, but also for their camaraderie, sportsmanship and respect. Twelve years after that match, Roger Federer was the man chosen by Rafa to officially open his Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar.

24-03-2020

Nadal, the youngest player to win his first ATP match

The evolution of tennis often brings with it a barrier that makes it difficult for the young players to break into the ATP elite. The ability of the veterans to extend their careers ever longer is the greatest handicap encountered by young hopefuls when it comes to finding their way on tour. However, there is always space for a star to shine brightly in the darkness. And that was the case of Rafa Nadal, who managed to open his account of professional victories at just 15 years of age, still making him the youngest player to win his first ATP match.

 

It happened on 29 April 2002. Nadal was just 15 years and 330 days old and occupying No. 762 in the world, when he received an invitation to the ATP tournament in Mallorca. The draw presented him with a first-round match against Paraguayan player Ramón Delgado, ranked at No. 81 in the world. In one hour and 23 minutes, the Manacor native took the spoils from his first ATP Tour experience with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. It would be the first of the 990 victories under his belt today.

 

“I’m still waiting for my share of your winnings, because everything started with me and I gave you the confidence to join the tour”, Delgado joked years later on social media as he faced the Spaniard again at Roland Garros, when he had already conquered the Philippe Chatrier. “I’m not at all ashamed about it now. Now, I even use it to my advantage. I don’t know if pride is the word, but at least... I don’t know! I made an impact on his excellent career”, he recognises now, so long after that encounter.

 

On that day, Nadal wrote the first chapter of his brilliant story. And this season, Carlos Alcaraz dusted off the feat of precocity by snapping at the Balearic Islander’s heals. Last February in Rio de Janeiro he claimed his first ATP victory at 16 years of age by beating Albert Ramos Viñolas. He was the youngest Spaniard to do so since that April in 2002, making space for himself on a podium that also includes Tommy Robredo. The Catalan sealed his first victory at 16 in Barcelona in 1999, beating the Italian Davide Sanguinetti.

 

There are others though, besides this trio, that can lay claim to being a young gun. Three names appear on the list of active Spaniards to have won their first ATP match at 18. The first of them is a player from the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar; Jaume Munar. Two months after reaching adulthood, and still at No. 683 in the world, he received an invitation to play in the ATP 500 tournament in Hamburg and managed to open his win account there against the then world No. 28 Guillermo García López.

 

Fernando Verdasco found his first victory in Sopot in 2002 at 18 years and 8 months of age. The Madrid native won his first round match at the Polish tournament against Mariano Puerta in three sets. While an also recently-18 Nicola Kuhn managed to add his name to this select list. He made the most of an invitation to the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami, where he saw off Darian King to seal the first of two victories to his name today.

 

Of the remaining active Spaniards: Feliciano López and Alejandro Davidovich won their first match at 19 years of age; Guillermo García López, Daniel Gimeno Traver and Carlos Taberner at 20; Marcel Granollers, Roberto Carballés and Bernabé Zapata, at 21; Pablo Carreño, Albert Ramos and Pedro Martínez, at 22; Roberto Bautista, at 23; Ricardo Ojeda, at 24; Oriol Roca, at 25; and Adrián Menéndez, at 29.

21-03-2020

Rafa Nadal’s first ATP point

- Who are you playing against?
- A wildcard, Rafael Nadal.
- Ah! That kid’s good, but he’s very young…

 

Monday 17 September 2001. Real Club de Tenis Betis, Seville. An unranked 15-year-old boy, invited by the organisers of the Copa Sevilla, was already starting to turn heads. The name Rafael Nadal was on people’s lips after he had come close to picking up his first ATP point a few days before in a Futures event in Madrid, where he lost a handful of match points. That late-summer day, at that ATP Challenger Tour tournament, he sealed the prize that slipped from his grasp the previous week against Israel Matos.

 

“I’d heard that there was a Spanish kid who was doing really well and who was making a name for himself, but you always heard those kinds of comments. However, I saw him play in his first ITF Futures in Madrid against one of my training partners, Guillermo Platel. Rafa didn’t win, after losing a raft of match points, but he did not lose his attitude or composure on court”, remembers Matos in statements published on the official ATP website.

 

Even then, the Manacor native was showing glimpses of the trademark style that has set him apart throughout a stellar professional career in which he has accumulated enough titles to put him among the best players of all time. “The next day, when we got to the club at eight in the morning, Nadal was already training. It struck me that the player who had lost such a tough game the previous day was the first out training. That made me think that he was a name to follow”.

 

And Matos had the chance to follow him in person, in the opening round of the Challenger in Seville. One game was enough to understand all the praise that had been heaped on him by those that had seen him play. “It was incredible to see his demeanour on court, his look, his character. Seeing how such a young boy was capable of having things so clear on court. How a boy was capable of behaving like an adult, as if he had been coming to tournaments of this type all his life”.

 

Nadal started the match by breaking serve, unafraid of a player four years his elder. “He broke my serve and celebrated it with that characteristic raising of a fist and a knee”, remembers the then world no. 751. “There were moments of intensity, tension, break points, but in those difficult moments he always knew how to react to those tricky situations that I managed to put him in. It was not normal. There were good kids of his age, but he was a different player...” he says, still surprised by the quality and determination of such a young athlete.

 

The Balearic Islander closed out the match in two sets (6-4, 6-4) to guarantee the first 5 ATP points of his career and earn on 24 September 2001 his first appearance in the official ATP Rankings at no. 1002 in the world. “Even when he was little you could see the unusual things in such a young kid in such a demanding sport, which requires a physical, mental, technical and tactical balance. Seeing how he mastered, above all, the mental aspect and how he controlled his emotions was stunning”, maintains his opponent all these years later.

 

If there is one thing that surprised Matos at the time, it was the feeling that he was facing someone special, a player that seemed to have been on tour for much longer, but, above all, a player that knew what he wanted to be. “In terms of his character and image, he was 15 years old and he seemed 20. He gave the impression that he had been on court for more years than he really had. I played, lost and knew that people would talk about it”, he says after one final confession; “I told him that I was surprised about how he played. Obviously I was angry, but it wasn’t anger like normal. I had just seen a very young kid carry himself on court in a very special way. I congratulated him in a way that I rarely do after a defeat”. And he was not wrong.

20-03-2020

''Rafa has shown that he is a very good friend''

(Source: atptour.com)

Shortly after winning the title at the BNP Paribas Open, the first words of thanks from Marc López were for his teammate in the first ATP Masters 1000 victory of his career. It was 20 March 2010, the same day that Rafael Nadal had lost his semi-final in the singles after a difficult third-set tie-break defeat against Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(1). But the man from Manacor reached the doubles final at Indian Wells alongside the Catalan and they would be crowned champions.

Nadal put behind him the bitter taste of his tie-break defeat, where he had been just one point away from reaching the final after two hours and 35 minutes. “Rafa was back in the zone just hours after playing his semi-final match", continued López’s account after they won their second ATP Tour doubles trophy together (also Doha 2009). "I’m very grateful to him.”

The response from the Balearic Islander was immediate: “For me it’s a pleasure to play with Marc. He’s a good friend and we understand each other well. After losing an important match in the singles, this victory in the doubles makes me very happy. It’s always nice to win a tournament, so the title is very important to me and to Marc.”

Ten years after that unforgettable gesture from his doubles partner, Marc López went into the finer details for ATPTour.com. Without a high enough FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking to play in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament — he was the World No. 88 — he received a new proposal from Nadal to play in Indian Wells. It was a risky idea, but a winning one. The gamble lay in the fact that he would be travelling to the United States just to play in the tournament in the California desert, as Nadal was not planning on playing doubles in Miami.

 

 

“My schedule wasn’t very clear, because I was at a time of transition in my career, and I was close to not going. He told me that in Miami he wouldn’t play in the doubles, so I would only go to the U.S. swing to play one tournament. I wasn’t sure, but thankfully I thought about it hard and it’s clear that you can never say no to a chance to play with Rafa,” the Barcelona native now remembers with the peace of mind of knowing that he made the right decision.

After bouncing back in a tough opener against Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy, the third seeds, 6-4, 3-6, 10-6, the Spaniards would not lose another set in the tournament.

“I remember that I was very happy about winning that first match," López says. "In the end, it was a unique feeling for me winning each match, because I had barely played in the Masters 1000 tournaments."

 

It was a special tournament. Not only did Marc have the chance to win alongside a friend, win his first Masters 1000 title and seal a place in Miami, but it also proved to be the final step in believing he was good enough to win big tournaments and establish himself among the elite of the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings.

“I remember that I wasn’t sponsored by any brand: I was wearing Wilson shoes, a Babolat shirt... let’s just say my outfit was not that of a first-class professional tennis player, but I remember it with great affection.”

That Saturday, Marc proved that he had made the right decision and Rafa, as well as a friend, had an excellent doubles player beside him.

“We didn’t plan on winning the tournament here, so we’re very happy. We really enjoy playing together, it’s our second title. It will probably be difficult to repeat, because it’s a very big one”, Nadal said.

 

Read more about Rafa Nadal at atptour.com

 

20-03-2020

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