Asteroid named after tennis star Nadal

July 13th, 2008 - 12:04 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Rafael Nadal

Palma de Mallorca (Spain), July 13 (IANS) A recently discovered asteroid has been named after Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who won his first Wimbledon title earlier this month with a stirring victory in the final over five-time defending champion Roger Federer, EFE news agency reported Sunday. The Rafael Nadal asteroid, previously known as 128036, is of four kilometers in diameter and travels through space at a speed of 20 km per second.

It is located between Mars and Jupiter, although much closer to the former, the Astronomical Observatory of Majorca, which discovered the planetoid in 2003, said in a press release.

The decision to name the asteroid after Nadal, a native of the Majorcan town of Manacor, was taken by the International Astronomical Union in response to a request by the Spanish observatory, which said its goal is to pay tribute “to one of the greatest tennis players of all time”.

The 22-year-old Nadal has already been informed of the honour and has been invited by the observatory to visit its installations in the small town of Costitx, the statement said.

Nadal, who also has four French Open titles to his credit, became the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon - tennis’ most prestigious event - in more than 40 years when he defeated Switzerland’s Federer in the final 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7, a match described by many experts as the greatest of all time.

Majorca is the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, located in the western Mediterranean Sea.

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