Some people are deemed worthy of having monuments dedicated to them after they die by the ones still living. Confucius, Lord Shiva, and Jesus Christ are ancient examples whose statues have been erected and even worshipped by their followers. Nowadays, it is easier to get a statue, and you do not have to do anything unusual to get one; master your talents. A look at the Nadal statue spread across the world confirms this.
The Nadal statue is dedicated to lawn tennis living and active legend Rafael Nadal for the mastery of his ability with a racket on the lawn tennis court. The Spanish player is revered as the most incredible person to play the game, and the fact that he is still alive and actively playing the sport while getting statues of himself unveiled in different parts of the world proves this.
Who is Nadal, and why is he so special that he has a statue?
Rafael Nadal is a lawn tennis player born in Mallorca, Spain, on the 3rd of June, 1983. Nadal's age is currently 35 years. He was born into a wealthy home, and his talent in sports was observed by an uncle who inspired him to get active with tennis. Nadal was so good that the Spanish tennis federation sponsored a scholarship to Barcelona to hone his skills.
Nadal's father refused this gesture from the government since he does not want his son to leave home, mainly because he is wealthy enough to foot the bill for his training and education.
By the age of 15, Nadal was doing wonders with the racket in his famous left hand; he made history to become the 9th player to register a win in an Association of Tennis Professional match before their 16th birthday.
By the time Rafael was 17 years old, he was already the 79th ranked tennis player globally. However, this was the beginning of more incredible things to come. He got his debut ATP title in the doubles event in Croatia before winning in the single category at the Prokon Open.
In addition, he defeated Roger Federer, a tennis legend, in their first-ever meeting and went on to win the Davis Cup.
The Nadal versus Federer rivalry became fiercer as they battled for supremacy in the Grand Slam title. Nadal won all the four Grand Slams available for pick up in the 2010 season. Interestingly, he won at least a championship every year until 2015 and got a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic medal.
What is Nadal's record at French Open?
Nadal has won 13 major titles ugh at the French Open, formally referred to as Roland-Garros. The French Open is one of the four Grand Slams held yearly; the other three are Wimbledon, the US Open, and The Australian Open.
The French Open has a peculiarity in that it is the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay. That it is played on clay means that the ball bounces higher than it would on other surfaces while moving at a slower pace.
Most people think the French Open is the most physically challenging tournament globally, but Rafael Nadal has mastered these peculiarities. He has won more titles at the Roland-Garros than any other player, dead or alive.
Is there a statue of Nadal at Roland Garros?
Yes, there is. In Paris, France, a Rafael Nadal statue in French Open was unveiled on Thursday, 27th of May, 2021, at the Stade Roland Garros. The new Rafael sculpture comes a few months after the King of Clay won his record-breaking 13th French Open Grand Slam title.
The media was agog with mixed feelings about the statue for Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros' news. Some people think it is a little unusual to have a competing player's statue at the venue's entrance that hosts the event. They fear that oppositions may be weary when they face Nadal in a stadium that already depicts him as a sort of god.
However, this does not take anything away because the King of Clay deserves to smell his flowers while still alive. So, where is the statue of Nadal? The statue stands beside the Jardin des Mousquetaires and the newly constructed general public entrance gate.
The man of the moment was present at the unveiling ceremony and had this to say:
The statue is spectacular; I think it is very real. If you haven't seen it live, if you stay close, you'll notice. It's a clean, modern statue and I'm very pleased. It's really difficult to build a statue with that material and be so real as this one is.
It means a lot. Having a statue within such a special place for our sport, in a place that is very special for me is something unique. Not being French, I can only say thanks to the FFT, to the former President who promoted it and the current President who continued with the project."
Who made Nadal's statue?
Jordi Díez Fernandez did. Jordi is a Spanish sculptor regarded as one of the greatest craftsmen in the country. His works can be identified by their ability to pass figurative messages on human faces. In addition, he is a master at using stone, wood, iron, and clay to sculpt his desired figures.
The Nadal figurine at the Roland Garros stadium is 100 per cent steel and is approximately 9 feet and 10 inches (3 meters) tall. The statue's width and depth are an estimated 5 meters and 2 meters, respectively.
Statues dedicated to the Spanish player
Despite the peculiarity of the latest statue of Nadal, it is essential to note that the lawn tennis legend has several other figures dedicated to him in different nations of the world. These statues are from various materials such as clay, bronze, wax, and terra-cotta. Below is a brief look at some of them.
In 2014, Nike commissioned a life-size statue of the King of Clay two days after handing a defeat to Novak Djokovic for his 9th French Open title. So, naturally, it only fits that the King of Clay got a clay statue, which was what one of Rafael's sponsors, Nike, did.
The clay used was obtained from the remains of the crumbled-brick clay at the Roland-Garros. The statue can now be seen at Nike's Paris, France store.
Rafael Nadal's popularity cuts across nations. A baby-faced wax statue of the man often regarded as the greatest tennis player ever was unveiled in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. You can also find replicas of the waxy Rafael Nadal statue at Madame Tussaud museums in Istanbul, Turkey, and London, England.
Another Nadal figurine can be found in Shanghai, China. The statue is made from terra-cotta material and displayed during the Shanghai Masters competition held in Shanghai in November 2007. The terra-cotta figurine of Nadal was designed to look like one of the ancient Chinese warriors with a racket in hands in place of a sword.
Nadal is indeed an inspiration when it comes to lawn tennis. On the 5th of February, 2020, the Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah International Tennis Complex was unveiled. The complex's facility also includes a tennis academy named after Rafael Nadal. The academy is the biggest in the Middle East.
Rafael attended the inauguration ceremony and played an exhibition match against another tennis legend, David Ferrer. Nadal won the game, and he was presented with a trophy. The trophy is made from bronze and replicates some of Rafa's style while in the middle of a serve in a tennis game.
Have you ever come across a Nadal statue? Do you think his legendary feats on the court makes him worthy of the accolades he gets every time? Of course, the usual answer to the second question is a resounding yes. But, nevertheless, it is commonly agreed that Rafael has done enough to get his flowers while still breathing.
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