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Is Rafael Nadal balding? Fans react to tennis star's hair loss

Joshua Rogers May 22, 2022
Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images

Is Rafael Nadal balding? Tennis fans reacted to the tennis legend’s apparent hair loss during a match at the 2022 Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal is back doing what he does best, and that’s playing tennis. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has suffered numerous injuries over the past few years, and it was unclear if he’d even play in Melbourne this year. However, the Spaniard has shown impeccable form so far, and is into the final.

Naomi Osaka | Official Trailer | Netflix

Naomi Osaka | Official Trailer | Netflix

Is Rafael Nadal going bald?

During his fourth-round match against Adrian Mannarino, fans on social media were asking if Rafael Nadal is balding. The tennis legend is synonymous with long, flowing hair and his signature sweat band, but in recent years his hair is noticeably thinner.

In the Melbourne sunshine, Nadal’s hair could be seen clearly, and it does seem as if he is going bald. Fans on social media noticed it too and shared their thoughts.

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male pattern baldness, is the most common type of progressive hair loss disorder in men.

According to one source: ‘Half of the men in the world experience hair loss by age 50. About 70% of men will lose hair as they get older. And 25% of bald men see first signs of hair loss before age 21.’

He actually underwent a hair transplant in 2016

Rafael Nadal actually underwent a hair transplant in 2016 in order to correct his thinning hair. According to reports, Nadal went through a ten-hour Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedure at a specialist clinic in Madrid. Nadal reportedly paid £7,700 for the treatment, which involves extracting hair follicles from areas unaffected by balding to areas that are.

Doctors transplanted 4,500 follicles on his scalp, and although it takes around 18 months to see the results, his head was noticeably fuller after six months.

There were rumors Rafael Nadal had another hair transplant in 2018 but these are unconfirmed. Hair or no hair, Nadal is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, and an inspiration to millions. His fans will be hoping he can go all the way Down Under and win his 21st Grand Slam title, putting him one ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He faces no.2 seed Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.