Long regarded as an elite sport in Spain, tennis, along with most other racquet sports have taken a little longer to attract Spaniards to jump on the bandwagon. For years tennis lacked in appeal due to a shortage of public tennis courts, in conjunction with high prices for private clubs. Lately, however, Spain has become one of the world’s strongest tennis countries and now produces some of the world’s best players. Growing steadily in popularity, tennis is fast becoming the new “it” sport in Spain. Thanks to Rafael Nadal´s continuous rise to stardom and the increase in tennis courts and clubs across the country, tennis is becoming the new sport of choice for singles, families and those looking to get a little exercise all year round. Due to Spain’s incredibly accommodating climate, tennis lovers can play outside most of the year on the thousands of courts around the country.
Spain has produced a number of tennis champions, excelling in tournaments held on clay courts such as the Roland Garros tournament.
Besides that, Spain has also won the Davis Cup five times (2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011) and the Fed Cup five other times (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998)
Rafael Nadal is considered the greatest Spanish tennis player of all time. He has won the French Open a record nine times, winning four consecutive French Open titles from 2005-2008 along with five consecutive French Open titles from 2010-2014. After defeating then world number #1 Roger Federer in 2008, Nadal claimed the Wimbledon trophy and became only the second Spaniard to do so. He also won the 2009 Australian Open, the first male Spaniard to do so. In 2009, he became the first player ever to simultaneously hold Grand Slam titles on clay, grass, and hardcourt. In addition, Nadal is the Gold Medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. In 2010 and 2013, he won the U.S. Open. He currently has fourteen Grand Slam titles to his name: nine French Open titles, two Wimbledon titles, two US Open titles, and one Australian Open title.
Spain has produced several other world number one players such us Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in 1995 (also a 3 times French Open champion in 1989, 1994 and 1998 and 1994 US Open Champion), Carlos Moyá in 1998 (1998 French Open champion) and Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2003 (2003 French Open Champion).
Other Grand Slam champions include Manuel Santana (1961, 1964 French Opens, 1966 Wimbledon and 1965 US Open), Sergi Bruguera (1993-1994 French Opens), Andrés Gimeno (1972 French Open), Conchita Martínez (1994 Wimbledon) and Albert Costa (2002 French Open).
Tournaments held in Spain on the men's tour every year include Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. The women have events in Madrid, Barcelona, and Marbella.