Rafael Nadal's sister Maribel invites Ana Ivanovic to Spaniard's academy after Serb shares a glimpse of her hitting the tennis court
Rafael Nadal's sister Maribel has invited Ana Ivanovic to the Rafa Nadal Academy after the Serb recently shared a glimpse of her playing tennis.
Ivanovic called time on her professional career in December 2016, at the age of 29. The Serb had said at the time of her announcement that persistent injuries had contributed to her untimely retirement.
Ivanovic, however, made a rare appearance on a clay court on Tuesday (November 28). Taking to social media, the former World No. 1 shared a video of herself hitting some forehands in an all-white outfit.
"It's more than just a sport," Ivanovic captioned her Instagram post.
Maribel Nadal, who is one of the top executives at the Mallorca-based Rafa Nadal Academy, quickly invited Ivanovic to the sports facility to play some tennis there.
"You have to come one day to play at the Academy Ana," Maribel commented.
Ivanovic has become an entrepreneur in the skincare industry since retiring from tennis. She owns a cosmetics company called Ana Ivanovic Natural Performance.
Meanwhile, the Rafa Nadal Academy celebrated its seventh-anniversary last month. The state-of-the-art training facility has been the training ground for several top players including Casper Ruud, Jaume Munar, and Martin Landaluce.
Rafael Nadal's sister Maribel inaugurates new pickleball courts at the Spaniard's academy
Rafael Nadal's sister Maribel recently inaugurated new pickleball courts at the Spaniard's academy. She also took part in an exhibition match during the ceremony.
Pickleball has been gaining widespread popularity in recent times, with several tennis players including Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Maria Sharapova endorsing the sport.
The Nadal academy has now opened its first pickleball court on the Balearic Islands, with elite Spanish players including Anabel Medina and Tomeu Salva in attendance for the inauguration.
Maribel Nadal said she had "so much fun" playing the relatively new sport at the event.
"It actually is super fun and I had a very, very good time. It's the first time I played pickleball. If you've played tennis, you'll recognise some things but the rules are different, the technique is also different. I had so much fun," she said.
She also expressed confidence in kids and adults showing up at the academy to play the sport.
"We have 45 tennis courts and 16 paddle courts, it gives us great satisfaction to have the first pickleball court in the Balearic Islands. I think it's a super fun sport. I am sure that the kids of the Academy and the adults who come to our facilities will have a great time," she added.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, is expected to make his much-awaited comeback to the ATP tour in early 2024. He has not played a match since January owing to several injuries.