Rafael Nadal is one of the most recognizable tennis players in the world, and his girlfriend Maria “Xisca” Perello is one of the most private significant others in sports. According to the Daily Mail, the couple grew up together in Mallorca, Spain, and started dating in 2005.
Perello is not on social media, and has only given a couple interviews since she began dating Nadal. In a rare interview with The Telegraph, she recounted a story of declining to go to a sponsorship dinner with Nadal.
“He asked me if I wanted to go, but I chose not to,” Perello explained to The Telegraph. “I stayed in our hotel. When Rafael got back he said, ‘Thank God you didn’t come’. The place had been swarming with photographers. For me to have gone would have meant stepping into that celebrity world. 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.”
Learn more about Nadal’s girlfriend.
1. Nadal Enjoys Spending Time With His Girlfriend on His Yacht Called “Beethoven”
Like most athletes, Nadal needs time away from tennis to continue playing at a high level. According to CNN, Nadal has his own yacht called “Beethoven”, named after his grandfather’s nickname since he was a director of an orchestra. Nadal explained to CNN that the sea is his place to unwind with his girlfriend and family.
“It’s difficult to understand the life without having the sea next to me,” Nadal explained to CNN. “…Of course, great news that I have the possibility to have a boat since already years ago, and come back home and have the possibility to go out and spend some time with family, friends, girlfriend, going out, sleeping on the boat.”
According to Boat International, Nadal takes his Monte Carlo yacht 76 back to his home island of Mallorca. Nadal told Boat International he lent the yacht to Andy Murray once, but was not on board.
Andy Murray came and used the boat with his team for a few days, but I wasn’t on board. I have been on board with Feliciano López, Marc López, David Ferrer and Juan Mónaco. A lot of the Spanish players come here to practise and we always go out on the boat. I was with the footballer Fernando Llorente on the boat last week. Everybody who comes on board is always very happy.
2. Perello Does Not Travel to Most of Nadal’s Matches
Many significant others can be seen at all of their partner’s matches, but that is not the case for Perello. In an interview with The Telegraph, Perello admitted she does not enjoy traveling to a lot of Nadal’s matches, and it can tend to make her feel anxious. She explained that it works better for both of them if she is not always on the road.
“Traveling together everywhere, even if I could, would not be good either for him or for me,” Perello explained to The Telegraph. “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around waiting on his needs all day wears me out. It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me … No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there’s a risk we might stop getting along.”
Since that time, Perello has been seen at a few more of Nadal’s matches, including the 2018 French Open. At the time of the interview, Perello was working at an insurance company in Palma, Mallorca. Now that Perello is working with Nadal’s foundation, she has a bit more flexibility to travel.
3. Nadal Wants to Have Kids, But Worries About His Travel Schedule as a Pro Tennis Player
Unlike many of the other veteran ATP players, Nadal does not have children, but he admits he wants a family of his own at some point. Nadal noted he worries about his current travel schedule, and the impact that could have on raising a family.
“I would love to have children, boys, girls… I’m a person who loves kids and I’m a family guy,” Nadal explained on the Argentine talk show Con Amigos Asi (via Metro). “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. I think it’s also above all about looking after the kids. I don’t know if it [traveling] is ideal.”
This falls in line with an earlier 2015 interview with La Nacion where Nadal noted it would have to be something they both agreed on.
“Yes, good. I am a very familiar person [with family], my education has been directed to the family, with which, One never knows what will happen in the future, but I understand that I will form a family,” Nadal told La Nacion (translated). “I will have children, I do not know how much. I love children, but you do not decide unilaterally, that’s a two-person thing. I would like to have several children, but I can not tell you if two, or three, or four.”
4. Perello Was Named the Projects Director for the Rafael Nadal Foundation in 2016
Perello may not be fond of the spotlight that comes with dating one of the top athletes in the world, but she does enjoy helping Nadal give back. According to the Olive Press, Perello was named the Director of Social Integration for the Rafael Nadal Foundation in 2016. Her title has since been simplified on the foundation’s website calling Perello the Projects Director. Perello is one of just three foundation staff members that help carry out the organization’s mission.
The focus of the foundation centers around disadvantaged youth. Here’s how the foundation is described on the organization’s website.
The Rafa Nadal Foundation was launched in 2008 to fulfil the wishes of the tennis star and his family, who wanted to help socially-disadvantaged youngsters who run the risk of exclusion by society. Their contribution give the chance to offer a better life to people all over the world; one in which sport opens the doors to a better future.
The mission of the Rafa Nadal Foundation is to offer educational programs to the deprived, with a common denominator: sport. We in the Foundation are convinced that sport is a basic tool for personal and social integration and therefore, it becomes the focal point upon which we base all our actions.
By means of two of the key elements in the life of Rafael Nadal, i.e. education and sport, we are able to foster some of the values we consider of greatest importance for the personal growth of each one of our beneficiaries: exertion, respect, friendship, equality and confidence.
5. Perello Believes Their Relationship Works Because She Does Not Want to Be a Celebrity
Nadal is not the kind of athlete that likes to flash around his celebrity status, and was looking for a partner that was low-key as well. Perello admits she has no desire to be in the spotlight, and she believes it is why they make such a good couple.
“Even if my family asks me about Rafael,” Perello told The Telegraph. “I prefer not to say much. The fact is that I just don’t feel comfortable talking about these things, even in private. It’s what works for me, and what works for Rafael and me as a couple. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
This reflects Nadal’s public thoughts about his inability to blend in. Nadal essentially admitted to La Nacion he would prefer not to be a celebrity, and does not see why anyone would want to be recognized.
The fame, in itself by fame, I do not think it causes any pleasure. After all, being famous, I do not think it has any value. Overall satisfaction comes from the recognition that people give you for something you have done. Of the fame one feels proud and satisfied if it is that you earned it by doing things well, and not only within the track. I have too many good things. I would be quite arrogant and ungrateful if I complained about the realities that many people in the world are living. I am a lucky person in life with everything that has happened to me, with everything I have. I do things with pleasure and I thank all the people who love me in different places. They are very beautiful things and I can only thank life.