Rafael Nadal was officially given the title "adopted son" by the city council of Sant Llorenc des Cardessar, a Mallorcan municipality, in a plenary session on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old was awarded the honor for the work done by the Rafa Nadal foundation in helping Sant Llorenc des Cardessar, which was greatly affected by floods in 2018.
Rafael Nadal participated in relief work in the region, in addition to donating one million euros through his foundation.
Speaking at the session, Nadal said he felt honored to receive such a distinction, but at the same time expressed his sadness that it came as a result of such a devastating sequence of incidents.
"I am very grateful and I feel great satisfaction for this recognition, but I regret that it was caused by a disaster where lives were lost," Nadal was quoted as saying by MARCA. "The truth is that it saddens me to remember those days and I wish it had never happened."
The Spaniard said he contributed in whatever way he saw fit at the time without expecting any recognition in return.
"I did what I felt in that moment, without expecting recognition in return, as I have done all my life," he said.
Nadal received the award at an institutional ceremony during the plenary session, which was attended by his family as well as locals who applauded the Spaniard on multiple occasions.
Nadal also took to Instagram to express his gratitude at receiving the distinction.
"I am very grateful to the people of Sant Llorenç for making me their adopted son! It is a great satisfaction for me that the people have thought that we deserve such an honor," Nadal wrote.
During the course of the session, Rafael Nadal also referenced the recent tragedy in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands. Eruptions from the Cumbre Vieja volcano caused devastation in the region, with hundreds of residents evacuated from their homes as large amounts of lava poured into the streets.
"Between all of us we have to help in the tragedy of La Palma," Nadal said.
Nadal is currently sidelined from the tour as a result of a chronic foot injury that resurfaced at Roland Garros earlier this year. The Spaniard called time on his 2021 season a few months ago in order to focus on his recovery.
Nadal recently revealed that he is not sure when he will return to competitive tennis, but asserted that he was doing his best to regain full fitness.