Factbox on Rafa Nadal, who won his eighth French Open tennis title on Sunday
MAKING HIS NAME
Born in Manacor, Mallorca, June 3, 1986.
His uncle Miguel Angel Nadal enjoyed a successful career as a professional footballer, notably for Barcelona and Spain.
The naturally right-handed Nadal switched to being a left-handed player after his coach and mentor Toni Nadal, also his uncle, noted that it would give him a huge advantage on court.
Turned professional in 2001
TWELVE GRAND SLAM TITLES
French Open 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; U.S. Open 2010; Australian Open 2009
Became first man since Swede Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open title on debut with a four-set victory over Argentine Mariano Puerta in June 2005.
A year later won his second French Open title with victory over Roger Federer in the final.
In 2007, became first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win hat-trick of French Open titles.
The following year matched Borg's record of four successive French Open titles (1978 to 1981) to make it 28 wins from 28 at Roland Garros.
Later in 2008 beat then World No 1 and defending champion Federer to win his first Wimbledon title. The final is widely considered by pundits as the greatest tennis match of all time. Nadal became the first Spanish man to triumph at the grasscourt major since Manuel Santana in 1966.
In 2009 beat Federer in the final in Melbourne to become the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open in another classic five-set showdown.
Was beaten in the French Open for the first time when he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009. It was his first defeat after winning 31 successive matches at Roland Garros.
Became only the second man after Borg to win five French Open titles when he regained his Roland Garros crown in 2010, beating Soderling in the final.
His fifth French Open title came without the loss of a set and he became the first man to complete the "clay slam", winning the big four clay tournaments in the same season.
In 2010, he also won Wimbledon for the second time. He finished the year by winning his first U.S. Open title, becoming the seventh man to win all four grand slam titles.
In 2011 he won his sixth French Open title, equalling the record set by Borg.
From 2008 to 2011 he won seven out of seven grand slam finals that he contested but this run came to an end against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2011. The Serbian went on to beat Nadal in the final of the U.S. Open that year and the Australian Open at the start of 2012.
He ended world number one Djokovic's hopes of holding all four grand slam titles at the same time by winning his seventh French Open title at Roland Garros 2012, winning 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5.
He became the first man with eight titles at the same grand slam tournament when he beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in Sunday's French Open final.
Lost to Russian Igor Andreev in the quarter-finals of the Valencia Open in April 2005 but from then on won a record 81 consecutive matches on clay before the streak came to an end in Hamburg in May 2007 at the hands of Federer.
Ended Federer's 4-1/2 year reign as World No 1 in August 2008.
Won gold medal in men's singles at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Has troubles with his knees, suffering from tendinitis. Pulled out of the Queen's Club grasscourt tournament in London in 2009 and was the first man not to defend his Wimbledon title since Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic skipped the grasscourt grand slam in 2002.
The same knee injury forced him to withdraw from the 2010 Australian Open during his quarter-final match with Britain's Andy Murray.
Another knee injury sidelined him for seven months after a second-round defeat at Wimbledon last year.
Image: President of the International Tennis Federation Francesco Bitti Ricci (right), Rafael Nadal, Usain Bolt (centre) and Paul Gasol pose in the locker room with the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy
Photograph: Christophe Saidi/FFT/ Pool/Getty Images