Rafa Nadal Academy: How Rafael mentored Casper Ruud and others
On Sunday, Rafael Nadal kissed his 14th Roland-Garros trophy after beating a trainee from his own Academy, Casper Ruud.
Casper Ruud, the Norwegian player, has played regularly at Roland-Garros and has won eight titles since 2020 on clay. Ruud was previously a trainee at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain and was also mentored by Rafael Nadal himself.
Giving back to the game, Rafael Nadal founded the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor converting his training base into a state-of-the-art facility in 2016. Coach and Rafael’s uncle, Toni Nadal, heads the academy while the Former World No. 1 Carlos Moya is the technical director.
The Rafa Nadal Academy has separate programs for adult and junior players. The academy is home to around 34 tennis courts, including 19 hard courts and seven clay courts and a football pitch in addition to squash courts. The institution also hosts an international school and other facilities to continue the training of trainees during their program at the academy. The academy is also home to the Rafa Nadal Museum where tennis fans can get a glimpse of the tennis icon’s titles.
In 2017, Reuters reported that the average annual fee for “tennis lessons and school” for children was $62,000. The academy opened in 2016.
Like Casper Ruud, the academy has been a finishing center for several rising tennis stars. Casper joined the academy in 2018 when he was ranked over 100 and is now ranked sixth, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals. Iga Świątek, the female world No. 1, also trained at the academy. Jordanian player Abedallah Shelbayh and Hong Kong player Coleman Wong Chak-lam also trained at the academy.
Amazon Prime Video hosted a four-part documentary series about the academy. The academy has training centers in Mexico and Kuwait and will soon inaugurate its third such center in Hong Kong.