Rafael Nadal has been the fan favourite ever since he started playing on the tour. The King of Clay has an unprecedented record on Clay and his 13 French Open titles are a testimony of that.
Players who begin on the tour always have Nadal as the biggest hurdle especially when it is on Clay and every loss Nadal faces on his favourite surface makes the headlines as the ‘Upset of the tournament’.
The World No. 2 started his clay season of 2021 at the Monte Carlo Masters and lost in the quarter-finals to Russian Andrey Rublev. He followed it up a week later by winning the Barcelona Open for a record 12th time and continue his dominance on Clay.
From Barcelona, he moved to Madrid another of his favourite hunting ground but had to bow-out in the quarter-final stage after losing to World No. 6 and 5th seed Alexander Zverev who beat him in straight sets in a match that went on for 1hour 44minutes.
While Nadal’s loss certainly made the news, what also got attention was the Spaniard’s after match moment of class when he met and greeted Manuela, a 95-year old fan of Rafa who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Manuela has been a fan of Rafa for a long time and wanted to meet the star after knowing about her medical condition.
“Before I forget what’s tennis and what Rafa means to me, I would like to meet him.” Manuela had said prior to the tournament and came to the Caja Magica to see her favourite player in action.
Rafael Nadal makes dream come true for one of his oldest fans
The quarter-final loss to Zverev looked one of Nadal’s shocking result as he himself said in the post-match “I did a disaster.”
With a poor performance on the court, Nadal’s gesture of greeting Manuela after the match and meeting her, who sat through the game cheering for the Spaniard was indeed a true example of sportsmanship and deservedly won hearts of people all around the globe.
Rafael Nadal will now next play at the Rome Masters chasing his 10th title in Italy and will then travel to Paris for the 2021 French Open as the defending champion going for his 14th French Open title.