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A rarely seen enigma: Everything we know about Rafael Nadal’s elusive wife, Xisca Perello.

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Rafael nadal walk with wife

Tennis legend Rafael Nadal is having a stellar run at the 2020 Australian Open.

 

 

Currently undefeated after four matches, the World Number One broke the hearts of Aussie tennis fans when he beat Nick Kyrgios after a gruelling four-set match on Monday night.

Watching him serve, hit and ace his way to victory, is his wife, Xisca Perello. In a post-game interview after his first Australian Open win against Bolivian player, Hugo Dellien, Nadal made a cheeky, but rare reference to Perello when asked for his 2019 highlight.

Rafael Nadal and wife walk

“The wedding – my wife is here today,” he joked. “I need to take care with my answers now!

“No honestly it has been a very special year. All the results have been unforgettable.”

Despite frequently accompanying Nadal to many of his tournaments, we hardly ever hear of or see the 31-year-old other than a quick smile from the player’s box.

Information about Perello is even harder to come by. Many stumble over her age, it’s hard to glean what she does with herself now, and almost all of the photos of her that exist online are ones she has not posed for. Take a scroll through Nadal’s own Instagram account, and Perello’s face is a rare sight.

Rafael Nadal kisses wife

We took a deep dive into the life of Rafael Nadal’s girlfriend, the woman behind one of the world’s greatest athletes.

Who is Xisca Perello?

Perello, born Maria Francisca Perello, is an intensely private person. She isn’t on Twitter or Instagram, at least not publicly.

To the world, Perello isn’t ‘Nadal’s wife’, but a former insurance worker, business graduate, and the current project director for Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

The first time many knew Nadal even had a girlfriend was when tennis commentator Jim Courier mentioned it in conversation with the Spaniard at the Australian Open in 2017.

Rafael Nadal kiss wife

“This is the first time that you brought your girlfriend Xisca [Perello] down to Australia if I’m not mistaken, is that right? How has that been for you to have her with you here?”

After clumsily navigating the sudden interest in his private life, Nadal joked. Yes, it was true. Ten years of Open appearances and his girlfriend “finally gets a wildcard to come here”.

Courier pushed a fraction more, but got little in return. “You know, uhhhh, better we stop here,” Nadal concluded.

It was all in jest, the atmosphere was relaxed and as the camera panned to Perello, she smiled.

Rafael Nadal with team

What became clear, however, was how the innocent fun and the awkward exchange secreted a real sense of embarrassment in Nadal — he simply is not used to, nor interested, in speaking about his long-term girlfriend. And that’s always been the way.

Their love, it seems, is one that is characterised by its refusal to play out in the spotlight. Their love is theirs, her life is hers, and his tennis? Well, that’s ours.

Digging a little deeper into Perello’s time in the public eye, we found so very little. This in itself is notable feat. Their red carpet appearances are sparing, their talk of each other more so.

Rafael Nadal speaking

Perello is widely known for her desire to stay put while Nadal tours the world playing tennis. In our research, we found just the one occasion, in 11 years, where Perello speaks on record to an English source.

It was an interview with The Telegraph back in 2011, and it’s a telling one. When asked about why she does not accompany Nadal on tour, she was clear, if not totally unpretentious.

“The idea of me hanging around waiting on his needs all day wears me out. It would asphyxiate me,” she said.

Even more than that, she touched on the other-worldly kind of bubble so much fame generates.

Rafael Nadal and sister

“It’s not a world I want to be part of, nor do I think Rafa would have chosen to be with a woman who looked for that in life.”

How long have Rafael Nadal and Xisca Perello been together?

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Unos días de relax… Relaxing days #SainteAgnes

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Nadal and Perello are believed to have been together since 2005, despite having known each other for a number of years beforehand.

The couple reportedly met at school in their home town of Palma de Mallorca in Spain. She went on to study Business Administration and English in London, while he went on to become one of tennis’ greatest players.

While Nadal and Perello kept their engagement largely secret, the couple got married on October 19, 2019, in Palma de Mallorca. They said ‘I do’ in front of 350 guests, which included Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman, Hugh Laurie and the former King of Spain Juan Carlos I.

Although they’re yet to have children together, Nadal has expressed his desire to eventually become a dad.

Rafael Nadal

“I would love to have children, boys, girls… I’m a person who loves kids and I’m a family guy,” he said on the Argentine talk show Con Amigos Asi in 2017.

“But also I tell you that the reality is, the years keep passing, I would like to start to do all of this when my sporting life determines it.’

From all reports, or perhaps lack of them, Perello breathes fresh air and meaning into the notion of being an enigma. In a realm where we are so obsessed with money, fame and identity, she seems to buck everything we thought was so.

Rafael Nadal and wife

Her relationship with Nadal, it seems, exists in spite of his tennis fame and fortune and not because of it. And it’s that, perhaps, that’s demanding the most attention of all.