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Madrid’s exciting tribute to Rafael Nadal

It has been an unforgettable week, all I can do is thank you”commented an excited Rafael Nadal on the main court of the Caja Mágica. Far from the traditional protocol that the circuit has, the one who was talking in the center of the track on this occasion was the loser. The situation obviously warranted it. The most important tennis player in the history of Spain had just played his last match at the Masters 1000 in Madrid.

The result, 5-7 and 4-6 against Jiri Lehecka, at that point was one of the least. The elimination in the round of 16 in a tournament that he won five times, four of them on clay, mattered little. Everyone present was waiting for the moment of the tribute that the tournament organization had for Nadal, who already warned that this will be his last year on the circuit.

First there were five flags hanging above the ceiling showing their titles in the tournament. Then, an emotional video with Gladiador’s music, which showed his best moments in Madrid. Finally, a commemorative trophy with the message “Thank you Rafa”.

The instances brought tears to his wife, sister and family. Nadal himself had to do an exercise to contain his emotion in an extensive speech where he clarified: “I’m not saying goodbye to my team because I haven’t retired yet.”. Of course, he was honest and he admitted that it was his last time in the Spanish capital.

“I have had the opportunity to play here once again, on this court that has given me so much in every way, on a sporting and emotional level. A few weeks ago, just two days before leaving for Barcelona, ​​I really didn’t know if I would be able to compete in an official match again. and I have been able to play two weeks here,” he declared at the outset after losing in the round of 16.

“It has been an incredible journey, which started when I was very little. The first time I came here to Madrid was in 2003, but I think the first time I arrived being competitive, I think the first time I arrived competitively to Madrid was in 2005. It was one of the most exciting victories I have ever had. had in my career, when it was still played indoors, losing 2-0. From then until today it has only been unconditional support and affection from everyone here in Madrid. There’s no way to thank it, really.“, continued the man from Manacor, who still has plans to compete in Rome, Roland Garros and the Paris Olympic Games.

In the speech he was also emphatic about the importance that Madrid will have in his life. “I have been given a gift these last 21 years. The emotions that I take away from this court, playing in Madrid in front of the Spanish public is something that will stay with me forever.. I feel super lucky in life for everything I have experienced, I can’t ask for anything more. Life and my body have been sending me signals for some time that this day had to come and I think it is the right time. I have been able to do it playing on a court that was a dream for me. And on top of that, doing it in one of the places that I have been most excited about playing,” he concluded before being dismissed by a hallway made up of the top leaders of the most important tournament in Spain.

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