Thanks, Rafa! The Magic Box says goodbye to Nadal through the front door

The Spaniard fell to Jiri Lehecka in the round of 16

April 30, 2024

By Staff

Rafael Nadal stepped foot in the Manolo Santana Stadium for the last time and this reality will take time to be assimilated in sport. One of the greatest athletes of all time completed his story at home, leaving the Caja Mágica completely standing at his farewell. If there is no greater glory than the recognition and applause of the people, the Mallorcan collected one of the greatest rewards after a career written in gold letters. A closed ovation, full of tears on all four sides of the main stadium. His family, his friends and all of his fans burst into tears at the farewell to a reference in every sense.

“It has been a very special week for me, very positive in many ways,” acknowledged Nadal, excited in a tribute in recognition of his career. In one of the stadium’s backgrounds, five banners were hung as a legend, remembering each of his victories in the Spanish capital (2005, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017). “I have had the opportunity to play on this court again. It has been very special on a sporting level and on an emotional level. A few weeks ago, two days before Barcelona, ​​I didn’t know if I would be able to compete in an official match again and I played for two weeks. “It has been unforgettable.”

In a totally emotional atmosphere, Nadal addressed the fans with satisfaction on his face. With a career spanning more than two decades in Madrid, the Mallorcan valued the communion that he has always found with a crowd that has loved him like a son.

“The only thing I can do is say thank you,” the Spaniard continued. “It has been an incredible journey that started when I was little. I came to Madrid for the first time in 2003. Then, the first time I came competitively was in 2005, when the tournament was still played indoors, and I achieved one of the most exciting victories of my career. Until today it has only been unconditional support from everyone. There is no way to thank him.”

A video with the most memorable scenes in its history in the Spanish capital was projected on the giant screens of the Manolo Santana Stadium. The five-time champion, from the center of the court that he so often thrilled, observed with a smile those moments that have made him a sports legend.

“It was a joke, next year I’ll be back,” the Spaniard joked. “Looking at the images, some seem from another life. I can only thank everyone who has helped me throughout this career. Although it is not finished, here in Madrid, it is the last time it will be there. It has been a gift that you have given me during these 21 years. This is more important than any Grand Slam I have won. The emotions I get from playing in Madrid, in front of the Spanish public, are something that will stay with me forever. I have been lucky enough to make my job a hobby and in an outstanding way. I feel super lucky in life for everything I have experienced. I can not ask for anything more”.

Visibly moved, Nadal dedicated a few last words to the audience, speaking from the heart. Trusting to be a good role model for youth, the Spaniard focused on the transformative power of sport in society.

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“I hope it has been a positive example for new generations, this is the most important thing,” he stressed. “Sports titles and moments are exciting. Sport generates excitement and excitement. As a fan I have experienced it. From what I’m seeing, I hope to have generated excitement and excitement in you. The only thing I can say is thank you. I can not say anything more. It is a day that is difficult when it arrives. I think life and my body have been telling me for a while that this day had to come. I have been lucky enough to do it in one of the places that has moved me the most. I thank you.”

“I also want to thank Feli [López]a Gerard [Tsobanian]a Ion [Tiriac] and to everyone who has made it possible for this tournament to be played in Madrid. For all the Spanish players it is something nice and I am sure that the following generations will continue to enjoy the atmosphere here. Thank you all very much for helping me live this moment.”

The Spaniard, who received a commemorative trophy for his career in the Spanish capital, dedicated a final farewell to the fans who have always accompanied him. With a message above the rest: THANK YOU.

Thanks to you, Rafa.


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