Rafa’s secret romantic proposal
IT'S the news that will break the hearts of his countless fans.
Just days after his devastating Australian Open Final loss, it has been revealed that tennis champion Rafael Nadal has finally popped the question to his long-term girlfriend, Xisca Perello.
The pair are engaged after a 14-year courtship and are planning to tie the knot on the island of Mallorca, the birthplace of the Spanish tennis hunk, later this year.
In a rare public appearance, Perello was in the stands last weekend at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena when Nadal was defeated in straight sets by Novak Djokovic.
According to Hello! magazine, Nadal, 32, proposed to Perello last May during a romantic trip to Rome but are only making the news public now.
Perello, an insurance worker, is something of an enigma on the tennis circuit but has steadfastly supported the 17-time Grand Slam champion during his meteoric rise to the top.
She joined Nadal at this year's Australian Open for just the second time since they began dating in 2005, and was spotted courtside for every match.
She rarely speaks to the media and despite dating one of the world's top sportsmen, she avoids the limelight.
In one of her few interviews, Perello revealed that she chooses not to attend most of Nadal's tennis matches in a bid to preserve their relationship.
She added that she is concerned she would disrupt her fellow Spaniard's focus if she appeared at all events.
In an interview with The Telegraph in 2011, Perelloa explained: "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.
"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."
Nadal has made no secret of his desire to have children, saying he is a "family guy" and is looking forward to having his own brood in the not too distant future.