As a journalist who has been writing about Majorca for more years than he cares to remember, I have to say that I’m not particularly surprised by the excitement generated by the fact that tennis super-star and island resident, Rafa Nadal’s wedding to his financée Xisca Perrello, is causing such a storm of interest both on the island and also far beyond these shores.
Soon to become world tennis’s numero-uno once gain, Rafa is to marry his teenage sweetheart Xisca and every-man-jack-of-us seems to be delighted for them both. The happy couple will marry here in Majorca (come on, where else would it be?) today, in what has been described as the wedding of the year and when they finally celebrate their marriage at the stunning La Fortaleza estate on the North west coast of the island amongst their close family and friends - more than a few island residents, of all nationalities, will raise a glass on their behalf.
You see, although this might well sound slightly sentimental - many of us see Xisca & Rafa as - sort of family! This probably because, many of us have followed Rafa’s tennis career with growing interest over the years and let’s face it, he has never let any of us down.
At this point, I’d like to point out that traditionally, today’s wedding day, is the day that Rafa’s beautiful bride Xisca, will rightly be ‘front and centre’ as only a bride can be on her wedding day. Indeed, this 31 year-old Business Studies Graduate, who project manages her husband-to-be’s foundation, is a quietly confident and talented businesswoman in her own right, who has selflessly over many years, supported him in all he has done - and continues to do. I was astonished to find out that they have been an ‘item’ now for 15 years and so Xisca would have been just a young teenager when she started dating Rafa who at 33 is just 2 years older than herself.
“A BRILLIANT KID”
I remember first hearing Rafael Nadal’s name mentioned at the Mallorca Cricket Club. A friend who’s son and daughter played a very high level of junior tennis on the island, painstakingly described this “brilliant kid” he had recently seen playing in an island wide tennis tournament and was bold enough, to predict that - “this youngster will be a champion one day.”
Naturally he was right - and ever since, he has regularly ‘dined out’ on his own perspicacity, to everyone’s annoyance! My own brother-in-law who was a tennis coach in Perth, Australia, had heard of Rafa’s talent well before he came to the average sports fans notice. So then, one thing was for certain from an early age - and that was Rafael Nadal was good, but how good? It would remain to be seen.
Nevertheless, as I am writing about Rafa & Xisca and their wedding today, it would be amiss of me to turn this essentially celebratory piece, into a singular trudge through Rafa’s sporting career to date - I’ll leave that to the boys and girls who write the ‘back pages’ of the MDB shall I?
A NIGHT ON THE TOWN!
Looking at the soon to be Señor & Señora Nadal - what perhaps marks them out from the ordinary sports star and boy/girlfriend, is their undoubted love and commitment to both their country Spain, and the island of Majorca.
Indeed, I bet there is not a person out there reading this, who hasn’t at some time or another proudly mentioned Rafa Nadal when describing this island. The other side of that instinctive pride, was that Rafa and Xisca were exactly as described ‘on the tin’ i.e. a very nice young couple without any outward pretensions.
Rather embarrassingly perhaps for the couple themselves - because these things are by their nature, perhaps a little naff - certainly when used as an example for others to follow. At times, they must have been a little mortified by their ‘wholesome’ image set in the eyes of millions and it says a lot for their maturity that they haven’t so far been tempted to disabuse us of that fact! Indeed, those hoping for a slight falling-off of standards during both Rafa’s - Stag Do and Xisca’s - Hen Night - must alas, be sorely disappointed. We do ask rather a lot of our heroes, unfortunately.
YOUR INVITATION’S IN THE POST!
And so to the wedding itself! I don’t want to disappoint anyone, but I suspect if you haven’t had your invitation by now, it is either held-up in the post or…you ain’t been invited.
Rather surprisingly, both families have managed to keep a lid on the guest list, as every tabloid hack on the continent would like a peek at that piece of paper. It is safe to say that all manner of names are being bandied around, from top tennis players, other sporting heroes - to film stars and the odd minor royal.
Moreover, as the former King & Queen of Spain are attending, observers can say what they like, but - this wedding is special, very special. I have to say that when you hold a wedding as high-profile as this, with the happy couple similarly popular - those organising the wedding will have been very well aware of the genuine public interest it is generating.
With the La Fortaleza estate hosting both the wedding and the reception, it will be a chance for those who watched the BBC series The Night Manager, to re-connect with that sensational setting that featured in that hugely successful John Le Carre thriller.
Picking up on various announcements, it is obvious that the bride and groom are determined to underpin the fact that this is a wedding not only to be held in on the beautiful island of Majorca, but most of the services, such as event management, catering, floral displays, security, set design and many other elements are being provided by Majorcan companies - doubtless, a real boost to the morale for a sector that has much to offer the visitor and resident alike.
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR
It will be interesting, not to say fascinating, how this very happy wedding day between two very likeable people will be presented to the world. Naturally enough, both Rafa and Xisca are private citizens with every right to do exactly what they want to do on their very special day.
I have noticed that the couple have been rightly cautious not to allow their wedding day to be turned into a ‘media event.’ But at the same time, they have been pragmatic, up-to-a-point - in feeding some details to the press and media, acknowledging the inevitable national and international interest that their marriage has generated.
The happy couple, more than proved their commitment to this island in a number of ways, particularly by their unselfish actions when those terrible floods hit the area of Sant Llorenc, killing 13 people and devastating a community almost exactly a year ago. As I commented in the headline to this article - for many differing reasons the wedding of Rafa & Xisca does indeed feel like a family affair - a family wedding of a favourite son and the beautiful girl next door who chose to marry him.