Who Is Rafael Nadal's Wife, María "Xisca" Perelló? Inside Their 20-Year Romance

The high school sweethearts welcomed their first child in 2022.
Rafael Nadal and Wife Maria 'Xisca' Perelló
Photo: Getty Images | Design: Natalie Romine
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Jun 07, 2024

Sure, tennis matches can be exciting—but one thing we love more than watching the players is watching their families in the stands. Tennis wives and husbands are notorious for having colorful reactions, which sometimes can be more entertaining than the game itself. But one spouse you might not see often is Rafael Nadal's wife, María "Xisca" Perelló. With 22 Grand Slam titles to his name, including a record-breaking 14 wins at the French Open, Nadal is regarded as one of the all-time greatest men's players, alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Despite his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal and his wife tend to keep their relationship private—but we do know that they share a beautiful love story. The longtime couple met as teenagers and dated for 14 years before getting engaged. Following their 2019 wedding in Mallorca, they welcomed a son in 2022. We break down Rafael Nadal and Maria Francisca Perelló's relationship details here, including how she supports him in the spotlight.

  • Rafael Nadal's wife is María Francisca (or Mery Xisxa) Perelló Pascua. The couple met through his sister around 2003.
  • After dating for 14 years, Rafael Nadal and María Perelló got engaged in May 2018.
  • Rafael Nadal's wedding to his wife took place in Mallorca, Spain, in October 2019.
  • Rafael Nadal and his wife welcomed their first child together, a son, in October 2022.

In this article:

Who is Rafael Nadal's Wife, María Francisca Perelló?

Rafael Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello
Photo: Jose Oliva/Europa Press / Getty Images

Rafael Nadal is married to María Francisca Perelló. (She's also sometimes referred to as Mery "Xisxa" Perelló.) Like her husband, Perelló is from Mallorca, Spain. Per her LinkedIn account, she attended the University of the Balearic Islands from 2006 to 2010 and received an undergraduate degree in business management. She went on to study at ESADE, a graduate school in Barcelona.

Unlike some tennis wives, Perelló is not always seen at her husband's matches. She opened up about her choice to stay under the radar in a 2011 interview with The Telegraph. "He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out," she said. "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."

That said, she fiercely supports his career. Rafael Nadal's wife has worked for his charitable organization, the Rafa Nadal Foundation, since 2012. While she began as a project manager, she was named CEO in November 2019. She also serves as secretary for the company's board of trustees. Outside of her career, Perelló is a dedicated philanthropist. After her hometown was flooded in 2018, she was seen helping clean up the streets with the community.

How Rafael Nadal and María Francisca Perelló Met

Rafael Nadal and María Francisca Perelló
Photo: Miquel Benitez / Getty Images

Rafael Nadal and María Perelló's love story goes back to the beginning. The tennis star was reportedly introduced to his wife through his younger sister, as they were best friends at the time. The two were teenagers when they met, and ultimately began dating around 2003. They made their relationship public two years later.

Rafael Nadal and María Francisca Perelló's Relationship Timeline

Rafael Nadal and his wife have been together for nearly 20 years. Here's a look inside their complete relationship timeline, from the early days of their love story to today.

Mid 2000s: Rafael Nadal Meets María Perelló

It's believed that Rafael Nadal and his wife María were introduced through his younger sister. Both teenagers at the time, they reportedly began dating around 2003.

May 2018: Rafael Nadal and María Perelló Get Engaged

Fourteen years later, Rafael Nadal proposed to María Perelló while they were on a vacation in Rome. The tennis star opened up about their intimate engagement during a rare interview on 60 Minutes, saying it wasn't a lavish gesture. "When you've been together for 15 years, you don't really need to talk it through much," he said. "It was just a case of, 'So, are we going to get married at some point?' And 'Yes, I guess so.'"

October 2019: Rafael Nadal Marries María Perelló

A year and a half later, Rafael Nadal and María Perelló got married in their hometown of Mallorca, Spain. While the couple kept their wedding day private, we share all the details we do know below.

October 2022: Rafael Nadal and His Wife Welcome Their First Child

Three years after tying the knot, Rafael Nadal and his wife welcomed their first child together, a son whose name has not been publicly shared. Prior to their pregnancy, Nadal frequently opened up about his desire to be a father. "Obviously, I have the intention of forming a family," he once told Hello! Magazine. "I love children and I would like my children to do what they like."

In a separate interview with The Sun, he hinted that he may have been waiting until the end of his career to expand his family. "I would love to have children: boys, girls…I'm a person who loves kids and I'm a family guy. 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," he explained. "I think it's also above all about looking after the kids. I don't know if it [traveling] throughout the year and having children] is ideal."

Before Rafael Nadal's son was born in the fall of 2022, he confirmed that he and his wife would keep his identity private. "I'm already exposed enough in my professional life," he told reporters at a press conference. "My loved ones and I like to live with a low profile."

April 2024: Rafael Nadal and His Wife Win an Award for Their Foundation

In the spring of 2024, Rafael Nadal and his wife were celebrated for their outstanding work supporting their foundation at the Laureus World Sports Awards. In her acceptance speech for the Laureus Sport for Good award, Perelló said, "This trophy is for everyone who works at the Foundation, all our collaborations and all of the kids in the program. This trophy pushes us all to keep working and keep believing that sport has the power to change the world"

Rafael Nadal and María Francisca Perelló's Wedding Details

Rafael Nadal and María Francisca Perelló's on wedding day
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal / Getty Images

Rafael Nadal's wedding to María Perello took place in October 2019. The couple released one photo from their wedding ceremony, which shows them posting on a terrace overlooking the sea in Mallorca, Spain. The bride wore a long sleeve wedding dress by Rosa Clara, who opened up about the design process on Instagram. "An overwhelming wedding day for all of us! We feel incredibly proud for taking part in such an important day - Mery Perelló and Rafa Nadal's wedding," she captioned an Instagram video.

She continued, "The bodice, with jewel neckline and long sleeves, was made of beautiful Art Deco-inspired French lace with delicate patterning, flower motifs and microbeading on the meticulously hand-embroidered fabric. The ballgown-style skirt, made of silk crepe, featured a weightless detachable train, created in Rosa Clara's Atelier. The whole process was full of emotions between all of us. We just want to thank the whole family for trusting in us, you're extraordinary."

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