Rafael Nadal has been off the tennis circuit since June 2012 when he lost in the second round at Wimbledon. A significant knee injury was the problem but this week he’s back on court in Chile and his fans will be hoping he can come back from injury to compete against the top players.
Nadal, Rafa to his fans, is one of the world’s greatest tennis players. He won his 1st Grand Slam (aged 19) at the French Open in 2005 and he’s notched up 11 Grand Slams, including an all-time record of 7 French Open titles, earning him the nickname ‘The King of Clay’.
Nadal v. Federer 2008
Spring 2008 – spring 2009 was an incredibly successful year for Rafa, memorably beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2008, adding Olympic Gold to his victory tally and ascending to the world no. 1 position. He was, however, unable to defend his Wimbledon title in 2009, when he suffered a similar knee injury. He came back from injury relatively slowly but in 2010 he won a further 3 Grand Slams
Nadal v. Djokovic 2012
His winning streak only came to a halt in 2011 due to another tennis player in his prime, Novak Djokovic. The Australian Open final in 2012 between the two men was an epic 5 set battle that lasted 5 hours 53 minutes, the longest Grand Slam final ever.
Let’s take a look at Rafa’s chart to see what the astrology can reveal about this amazing tennis player.
Like Djokovic and many tennis players before him, Rafa is a Sun Gemini. His Midheaven (success point) is 1 Virgo, so his career planet is Mercury in Gemini. Mercury rules the hands and is at home in Gemini, where it’s quick and dexterous, perfect for nipping around a tennis court with your racquet in hand. Mercury is in a T-square opposite Uranus and square Jupiter. These three planets working together suggest flashes of brilliance and a ‘bristling energy’.
Rafa’s Ascendant is Scorpio, intense and focused, and his ruling planet is Mars in Capricorn, again strong. Mars, the competitive planet, is exalted in Capricorn and fittingly Nadal is a physical tennis player with an attacking style. A fellow astrologer, Maxi, noted that ‘if Rafa had been born in antiquity he would have been a Roman gladiator’ which is probably true.
The natal potential to be a successful tennis player is there but what about the injuries? Saturn rules bones and the knees and is in the 1st house of physicality and Saturn opposes Rafa’s Sun, the source of vitality, which debilitates the energy of the Sun. The 6th house of health has the Moon exalted in Taurus on its cusp but the Moon is also in a difficult opposition to Pluto, the wipe-out planet. Mars is the natal 6th house ruler so there’s strength in the chart but also potential weakness.
June 2012, when Rafa suffered his latest injury, was marred by a double whammy of astrological toughies. Firstly, Saturn, planet of limitation squared his natal Mars, the planet which rules his health, on June 10th and July 10th, as Saturn turned direct in the heavens on June 25th at 22 Libra 46. Secondly, there was a lunar eclipse on June 4th at 14 Sagittarius 14, opposite Rafa’s natal Sun/Chiron conjunction. Eclipses often pinpoint turnaround moments and signal dramatic change.
Saturn remains dominant in Rafa’s chart in 2013 as there’s another lunar eclipse conjunct Rafa’s natal Saturn on May 25th, plus Saturn has moved in to Scorpio conjunct his natal Pluto. There is a similar pattern to last year as Saturn turns direct on July 8th at 4 Scorpio 49 and conjuncts Rafa’s Pluto on June 23rd and July 22nd.
However, this time around Jupiter, planet of good fortune and prizes, is active in Rafa’s chart. It’s exactly conjunct his Sun in Gemini on April 6th and conjunct his career planet Mercury in Gemini on June 10th. This looks promising and his best chance of winning another Grand Slam must come at the French Open or Wimbledon 2013, but up against the more difficult astrology it’s going to be a huge ask for Rafa to return to his former glory.
The Comeback Kid?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to see Rafael Nadal back competing against the top 3, Djokovic, Murray and Federer and any rising stars. If he is to make a comeback, there’s no doubt he’s going to have to pace himself and grab his moments of glory when he can. How he progresses in the next few months will determine whether he’s going to win another Grand Slam but from an astrological perspective, it looks as if he has a mountain to climb.
In September 2013, Nadal will experience his 1st progressed lunar return, when the progressed Moon comes full circle and returns to the place it was when you were born. He’ll be 27 and as the Moon is on the 6th cusp ruling his health, he could make a decision about his tennis career on or around this time. There’s a lot riding on this next season of Grand Slam tennis and his ability to fight his way back to the top in the competitive world of men’s tennis. I know many of us will be wishing him well.
[photo from flickr.com]