June 25 2006

Two-time Roland Garros Champion and world number two tennis player, Rafa Nadal was nominated   this morning for The 2006 ESPY Awards in the Best Male Tennis Player and Best International Athlete category.  

The awards show, scheduled for July 16, will gather top celebrities from the sport's and entertainment industry to commemorate the past year's best sports stories at   the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  

The "Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly" awards is similar in format to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .   Only in this case, it honors those individuals that through wins and losses continue to strive to be the best in their sport .

Rafael is without doubt a worthy recipient of those two nominations after his spectacular run in 2005.

The magnificent story started when he won his first title of the year in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil. Months later, (after leaving his 2004 injuries behind him) his tennis game and determination would make him a serious contender on the clay court circuit where he proclaimed himself the indisputable King of Clay with victories in Acapulco, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Roma, Roland Garros, Bastad, Stuttgart.

His victory over Coria in Rome after battling for 5 hours 14 minutes demonstrated he had the mental strength necessary to be a contender for the number 1 spot in the future.
Then came Paris, his most important moment yet : there on the Philipe Chartiere court he became the youngest player to have won the title since Michael Chang did so at 17 in 1987.

His run of 24 matches without defeat was broken in the first round of the grass court tournament in Halle. Then, during the hard-court season he showed once again that his style of play is readily adaptable to fast surfaces by winning in Montreal and Beijing and, finally, in front of his own public in Madrid.  

Rafa Nadal has shown that the new generation of tennis has arrived. Only time will tell if we have witnessed the birth of the most important star in the modern era of tennis.

In the meantime, Rafa fans are invited to vote for the spanish super champion via the Internet through the link below -starting from this week:


In the past,   winners were chosen both by fans, experts, or ESPN personalities in each particular category. However, beginning with the 2005 ceremonies, fans votes will determine the winner in each of the 34 catergories. Which is why your vote is so important   to see Rafa win.

James Blake, Roger Federer and David Nalbandian will be up against Rafael in the best tennis player of the year category .

Nominees, Fernando Alonzo (Formula 1), Ronaldhino, (football), Albert Pujois, (Baseball), Dirk   Nowitzky (Basketball) and Roger Federer (Tennis) are also up for the Best International Athlete category.

Categories include Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, Best Coach/Manager, Team of the Year, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, Best Sports Movie, Best Moment, and Comeback Athlete of the Year.

It was also announced that Lance Armstrong will be the first athlete to host the Awards. The seven-time champion of the Tour de France and cancer survivor announced he has accepted an invitation from ESPN, and will be raising money   for the V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Congratulations Rafa!

Written by, Nathalia Merino.