Rafael Nadal and Kirsten Flipkens' fling couldn't go further than a kiss

  • Rafael Nadal and Kirsten Flipkens had a short affair when they were 14.
  • That was many years before Nadal met Xisca Perello, whom he married in October 2019.
Modified 08 May 2020, 14:22 IST

Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2018
Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2018

Spilling the beans on an early-teenage fling always takes a fair amount of courage, considering it is likely to be an awkward memory. And the confession feels even more daunting when it has been a secret for over 20 years and the concerned person is a certain Rafael Nadal.

But for Belgian tennis player Kirsten Flipkens there wasn't much nervousness, as she revealed how she had "a thing" with Rafael Nadal when they were both 14.

Participating in the De Container Cup, a Dutch TV show, Flipkens had to name one athlete she would want to see in the show. The World No. 77 named Rafael Nadal without any hesitation, while also calling him the most complete player.

Kirsten Flipkens
Kirsten Flipkens

Then in something of a tell-all episode, Flipkens shared the reason why she wanted to see Nadal in the show. She and the Spaniard had a little teenage affair when they were just 14, which she still remembers vividly.

The 19-time men's singles Grand Slam champion was born in the same year as Flipkens, and so the two spent quite a bit of time together in the junior circuit. But their romantic relationship didn't last too long, and according to the Belgian that was due to the language barrier.

"We are the same age, we grew up together. Have we ever had anything? Yeah, that's right. When I was 14 years old, I had a thing with Rafael. But he didn't speak English at the time, so we couldn't go further than hand in hand and a kiss," Flipkens told the TV show.

The Wimbledon 2013 women's singles semifinalist is currently participating in De Container Cup, a reality program in Belgium, where she was adjudged the top tennis athlete on 6 May 2020. Flipkens occupies the 12th position overall in the competition, having been the best performer in the golf category.

The happy domestic life of Rafael Nadal

12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal has never been very open about his private affairs, but from the looks of things he has a very happy private life. Late last year he married his girlfriend of 14 years, Mery 'Xisca' Perello, in his hometown of Mallorca.


Xisca has been one of the pillars behind Rafael Nadal's success, constantly providing the support he needs during rough patches. She heads the Rafa Nadal Foundation, Nadal's organization that promotes the development of children through sports in Spain and India. She is also an active member of his touring team, often supporting Nadal from the stands.

Needless to say, Nadal's short-lived fling with Flipkens happened many years before he met Xisca.

Rafael Nadal and Xisca Perello with the Prince of Monaco
Rafael Nadal and Xisca Perello with the Prince of Monaco

Rafael Nadal had a decent start to the 2020 ATP season, before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all sports across the globe. He lost to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the ATP Cup final, and to Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open quarterfinal, before winning the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico.

Nadal also recently mentioned that he's not hung up on breaking Roger Federer's Grand Slam title record. Meanwhile, Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime believes that Rafael Nadal, along with Federer and Djokovic, are making life difficult for the youngsters on tour.

Published 08 May 2020, 14:22 IST
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