During an Instagram Live session on Monday night, Rafael Nadal took a moment to pay tribute to the members of staff and children taking refuge at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 33-year-old, who opened the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in 2016, has been in regular contact with staff and children who took refuge at the Manacor-based facility in March. Due to travel restrictions, many of the children at the academy were unable to return home to their families.
“I am super proud of the work that my team is doing inside the academy. There are 70 workers and 85 kids inside the academy since the beginning of the quarantine,” said Nadal on Instagram Live.
“They are doing a great job. They are following the rules. I have been in touch with them. I have been in touch with the coaches, I have been in touch with the kids and I [used] this period of time to try to be in touch with the parents too.”
Nadal’s academy management has maintained direct contact with the Superior Sports Council and the Balearic Islands’ Regional Ministry of Health since the closure of the facility in March.
“During these times, I think parents need to make sure that their children are safe and in the best hands possible. We can’t stop working and [we are] working to make sure this is happening. It has been a great conversation with the parents. I think [it has been] very productive and [I have] just been letting them know that we are following the rules of the authorities… to make sure the kids are healthy and in the best hands possible.”
Through the Rafa Nadal Foundation, founded in 2008, Nadal has also been providing families with food, hygienic products and school materials.
“Even through these hard times, my foundation is not stopping the work,” said Nadal. “We are trying to keep helping the families. For example, in Palma, we are helping the families in terms of basic products… we are sending them food, hygienic products and just trying to be in touch and making sure we are able to cover the things that they need.
“We are sending, to the kids, school materials because they don’t have the opportunity to keep working online from their homes. We are making sure they have the things that they need. [It is] something that I think is important during this very tough period of time.”
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Nadal also took a moment to reflect on the success of #NuestraMejorVictoria (Our Best Victory), a campaign he is running alongside six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol in support of the #CruzRojaResponde (Red Cross Responds) project. In a recent charity auction, one of Nadal’s 2019 Roland Garros final match shirts raised €20,500 for the initiative.
“I am in touch with the people of the Red Cross. We started an initiative with Pau Gasol and it has been an important success,” said Nadal. “[I am] happy that we are raising a lot of important money for the cause…
”I can’t thank enough my colleagues for their support and not only the world of sport, everyone has been very positive about the project and supporting. I am super happy for that and we really hope to keep encouraging the people to keep supporting all the initiatives, to help and to try to overcome this very tough situation.”