Rafael Nadal is a sporting icon and he provides a role model for fledgling stars who dream of their own career on the professional tour. However, the 22-time Grand Slam champion not only sets an example for young players, he is also a source of inspiration for the veterans
Enrique Ayala is one of them. The nonagenarian tennis player won the Over-90 Spanish Championship in June, defeating Manuel Villanueva in two sets in the final of the event, which was held at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar.
There, on the clay courts of Manacor, as he received his trophy, he was unaware of the misfortune that would soon come his way. After returning from Mallorca, he caught COVID-19 and spent almost two months in critical condition in UCI.
During his time battling with the virus, Ayala received a very special message. Nadal, upon hearing the news, did not hesitate to send him a video of support that, according to the patient himself, had “a great influence” on his recovery, along with the fact that he is so active so late in his life.
In the message, as well as encouraging Ayala, Nadal invited him to a meeting at some point in the future. That meeting happened last week at his Academy.
Four months after claiming his title, Ayala visited Mallorca to meet Nadal, who not only inspires young players, but the odd veteran too.