August 12, 2022

Rafael Nadal has announced that his wife Mery Perello is expecting their first child.

The tennis ace, 36, confirmed the news at a press conference in Mallorca on Friday following rumors she was pregnant earlier this week.

Nadal, who is competing at Wimbledon for the first time in three years later this month, told reporters: “If everything goes well, I’m going to be a father.”

Long-term loves: The couple dated for 14 years before marrying in a British fortress in Mallorca in 2019

“I don’t usually talk about my private life. We live calmer with a lower profile. I don’t expect my life to change much with this.

It was reported earlier this week in Spanish tabloids that Mery was pregnant with their first baby, according to Hola!

The beauty sported what appeared to be a baby bump under her swimsuit aboard the yacht where she and Nadal were vacationing.

There has been intense speculation that Rafael’s childhood sweetheart was expecting after she started wearing baggier clothes and donned a face mask during the recent Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Good news: it comes in the middle of reports from the Spanish magazine Hola!  that his wife Mery Perello, 33, would be pregnant with their first child (photo from June 3)

Good news: it comes in the middle of reports from the Spanish magazine Hola! that his wife Mery Perello, 33, would be pregnant with their first child (photo from June 3)

Training: Nadal broke a sweat on Friday as he took part in a training session at the Santa Ponsa Country Club in Mallorca

Training: Nadal broke a sweat on Friday as he took part in a training session at the Santa Ponsa Country Club in Mallorca

They are currently relaxing off Mallorca with a group of friends aboard the ‘Great White’, the 78ft, £4.2million Sunroof Power catamaran that Rafael custom-built two years ago.

Rafael said Hola! in March 2018: ‘Obviously I intend and want to start a family. I love children and I would like them to do what they want in life.

Mery, also known as Xisca, gave up a job in insurance to become a project director for the Rafael Nadal Foundation, the charity he founded more than a decade ago.

She is well known as an incredibly private person. The estate the Spanish couple chose to wed, La Fortaleza overlooking the Bay of Pollensa in northeast Mallorca, was where Real Madrid star Gareth Bale married Emma Rhys-Jones in June 2019 as part of a three-day celebration.

The couple, who were already dating 14 years before getting married, were married by priest Tomeu Catala in front of 350 guests at the magnificent fortress, owned by Conservative party donor Lord Lupton.

Juan Carlos I, King of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was among those present at the wedding as he is a longtime friend of the tennis ace.

At the ceremony, Rafael looked dapper in a navy suit and white shirt, while Mery wore a long-sleeved gown designed by famed bridal wear designer Rosa Clará.

Proving to be a highly sought-after destination, La Fortaleza is also where the acclaimed BBC thriller The Night Manager, starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman, was filmed.

Overlooking Pollensa Bay in northeast Mallorca, La Fortaleza was bought by Lord Lupton in 2011 for £30m, despite the original price of £75m.

The original fort, which is today the most expensive property in Spain, was built in 1628 to defend Mallorca against invaders.

Rafael revealed in January 2019 that he was engaged to his longtime girlfriend Mery after a 14-year courtship.

The sister publication of Hello HOLA! revealed that the Spanish athlete proposed to Mery in May 2018 during a romantic trip to Rome.

However, they reported that the couple decided to keep the happy news private for the first eight months of their engagement.

Mery, born Maria Francisca Perello, is an insurance worker and business graduate.

And Rafael has never made a secret of his desire to have children, saying he is a “family guy” and looks forward to having his own offspring in the not too distant future.

But the dedicated sportsman admitted his tennis career had made it difficult to start a family in the past.

He said: “I would love to have kids, boys, girls… I’m a child-loving person and I’m a family guy.

“But I’m also telling you that the reality is that as the years pass, I would like to start doing all of this when my sporting life determines it.”

He told Essentially Sports at the end of 2018: ‘I also have a girlfriend and I’m not alone in making decisions. (sic)

“You have to adapt to the situations you know. Have family? I don’t know, things are not easy to predict. At that age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.

Mery, who is well known as an incredibly private person, also opened up about her relationship with the tennis champion in 2011.

She told The Telegraph in a rare interview: ‘Travelling everywhere together, even if I could, wouldn’t be good for him or me.’

“He needs his space when he’s competing, and just the thought of me hanging around waiting for his needs all day tires me out.” It would suffocate me.

“And then he would have to worry about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think we might not get along.

During Friday’s press conference, Nadal also confirmed that he plans to play at Wimbledon as he targets a third consecutive Grand Slam victory. “My intention is to play at Wimbledon,” he added.

Tennis star: The 36-year-old tennis ace - fresh off his 22nd Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros - looked in fine form as he returned a serve on the court

Tennis star: The 36-year-old tennis ace – fresh off his 22nd Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros – looked in fine form as he returned a serve on the court

“I trained well this week and my departure for London on Monday is a step in that direction. My foot situation has to be assessed day by day, so at the moment I don’t have that certainty of being able to play.

“I just know that I want to play the tournament, but we also have to be careful. It is now too early to give a definitive answer.

“The first few days I had complicated feelings, day by day I was getting better. Another week of training in London and I hope I can play Wimbledon and be competitive to do so.

The tennis player looked fresh after his 22nd Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros – he looked in fine form as he returned a serve on the court.

Rafael dressed accordingly for the session, donning a tan T-shirt which he paired with navy shorts, green sneakers and a white cap worn backwards.

Sporty: Rafael dressed accordingly for the session, donning a beige T-shirt which he paired with navy shorts, green trainers and a white cap worn backwards

Sporty: Rafael dressed accordingly for the session, donning a beige T-shirt which he paired with navy shorts, green trainers and a white cap worn backwards

The sportsman then changed into a white polo shirt and beige shorts as he gave a press conference at the club.

Rafael’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal said last week he was confident the 36-year-old would play at Wimbledon later this month despite his injury struggles.

The two-time Wimbledon winner is undergoing treatment for Muller-Weiss syndrome, the chronic injury he was diagnosed with in 2005 to his left foot.

He had a numb foot to win his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title earlier this month and hasn’t ruled out retirement if he can’t overcome his injury struggles.

Refreshed: The sportsman then changed into a white polo shirt and beige shorts as he gave a press conference at the club

Refreshed: The sportsman then changed into a white polo shirt and beige shorts as he gave a press conference at the club

Family?  Good news: The beauty sported what appeared to be a baby bump under her swimsuit aboard the yacht where she and the 22-time Grand Slam winner were enjoying a vacation (pictured June 6)

Family? Good news: The beauty sported what appeared to be a baby bump under her swimsuit aboard the yacht where she and the 22-time Grand Slam winner were enjoying a vacation (pictured June 6)