RAFA Nadal’s heroics in Paris on Sunday not only made headlines and topped the news in Majorca and all across Spain but all over the globe. And his destruction of the world number one Djokovic gave Spaniards a welcome boost at a time when the country is struggling to keep its head above water.
Collecting his 13th French Open trophy, Nadal stressed the severity of the situation we are all having to live through and thanked all those who had made the tournament possible and tennis fans across the planet for supporting the sport. But, putting sport to one side, Nadal is Spain’s best global brand and has no doubt made the country extremely proud. Needless to say politicians and the royals were quick to congratulate him - but all he did is what he does and does better than many other tennis players in the history of the game. In the early days of the pandemic there was an attempt to drag him into a political argument over the handling of the crisis, but he was not having it and made it blatantly clear highlighting that fighting the virus is the responsibility of the politicians and medical experts, not tennis players.
The trouble is, when Nadal talks people listen and when he plays, millions watch and, as he said, he expects to be back defending his title for a few more years, so he's clearly not planning on calling it a day yet. Although by the time he does he would have outlasted scores of Spanish political leaders and even perhaps the monarchy.