Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Roland Garros
Rafael Nadal is currently on a break from the ATP tour due to a chronic foot injury, but that has not stopped him from delighting his fans. Nadal was recently spotted playing a point with Leonid Stanislavskyi, a 97-year-old fan of the Spaniard.
Stanislavskyi holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest player in the world with an International Tennis Federation (ITF) license. He was recently invited to the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, where he got a chance to rally with the legendary Spaniard.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion invited Stanislavskyi to play a point after engaging in a passionate conversation about tennis, ensuring that the 97-year-old left the academy with a memory he’ll never forget.
In a video shared by the Rafa Nadal Academy on Twitter, Stanislavskyi can be seen launching the ball to all parts of the court, giving Nadal a hard time during their rally.
The 97-year-old made the most of his visit by taking a tour of the Rafa Nadal Museum, where he witnessed all the accolades that the Spanish legend has collected over the years.
Unsurprisingly, the video sent social media into a frenzy, with reactions pouring in from all parts of the world.
“This is one match I wouldn’t mind Nadal losing,” one user wrote on Twitter.
Even the official Roland Garros account was quick to react, posting “Age is just a number.”
Rafael Nadal welcomes the best from the Junior Tour to his academy
Nadal with players selected for a Rafa Nadal Academy event in Brisbane, 2019
The 12 & Under Festival is set to take place in two weeks’ time at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. The Spaniard recently shared a message to the youngsters selected for the tournament, encouraging them to “compete hard” and “enjoy” the atmosphere.
“We are very excited to welcome you here. I really hope you’re going to enjoy a great experience, hope you will enjoy the facilities and Mallorca in general,” Nadal said.“All the best to everyone, I hope you have a lot of fun and compete hard,” he added.
Apart from high-level matchplay, the youngsters at the festival will also get an opportunity to meet a professional tennis player and go on a nearby tour of the caves.