Rafael Nadal was born in Manacor, a town on the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain.
On 29 April 2002, at 15 years and 10 months, the world No. 762 Nadal won his first ATP match, defeating Ramón Delgado, and became the ninth player in the Open Era to do so before the age of 16.
Nadal won 16 consecutive matches and three consecutive tournaments, bringing his ranking to No. 2 on 25 July 2005.
On 19 June, Nadal withdrew from the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, citing his recurring knee injury.
At the 2009 Australian Open, Nadal won his first five matches without dropping a set, before defeating compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals in the second longest match in Australian Open history at 5 hours and 14 minutes.
By beating Lleyton Hewitt in the third round of French Open, Nadal set a record of 31 consecutive wins at the French Open, beating the previous record of 28 by Björn Borg. This run came to an end on 31 May 2009, when Nadal lost to eventual runner-up, Robin Söderling in the 4th round. This was Nadal's first and, until 2015, only loss at the French Open.
Toni Nadal confirmed that Nadal would return to play at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. There, he lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Martín del Potro. With this loss, he relinquished the No. 2 spot to Andy Murray on 17 August 2009, ranking outside the top two for the first time since 25 July 2005.
On 26 May, he became the eighth male player in tennis history to record 200 Grand Slam match wins, as he defeated Facundo Bagnis in straight sets in the second round of the Slam.
In April 2017, the centre court of the Barcelona Open was named pista Rafa Nadal.
On 31 October, he announced his withdrawal from the Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury and as a result Novak Djokovic replaced him as World #1.