July 15, 2008 / 10:08 AM / 11 years ago

Nadal star power stretches to far reaches of galaxy

Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the trophy after winning his finals match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London July 6, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal’s dazzling career reached new heights this week when an asteroid was named after him following his epic Wimbledon victory.

The request to name the lump of rock after the man who ended Roger Federer’s five-year reign as Wimbledon champion came from an astronomical observatory on Nadal’s home island of Majorca and was approved by the International Astronomical Union.

Star gazers can find Nadal’s asteroid between Mars and Jupiter and the 22-year-old has himself been invited to the Majorcan observatory to view it himself.

According to the website of men’s governing body the ATP, the asteroid was discovered five years ago just before Nadal burst on to the scene. It is four kilometres in diameter and speeds through space at 20km per second.

The Astronomical Observatory of Mallorca said it was a tribute to “one of the greatest tennis players of all time”.

Nadal beat Federer in five sets in one of the greatest matches ever witnessed last Sunday.

The four-times French Open champion is now setting his sights on gold at next month’s Beijing Olympics.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by John O'Brien

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