20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal started the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain with the aim of making it a top development centre for young, up-and-coming athletes. And while the Spaniard has succeeded in that, he has also managed to turn the academy into a tourist attraction of sorts, in the process putting his hometown on the map.
In addition to a sprawling campus that boasts of 19 hardcourts, 7 claycourts and a training centre, Rafael Nadal's project also houses the "Rafa Nadal Museum Xperience". The museum showcases all of Nadal's titles and achievements from his 17-year career, and needless to say it's a big hit with his fans.
A few hours ago, the academy uploaded a picture of yet another addition to the immersive museum - this time not just related to Rafael Nadal, but also to his rivals. The autographed racquets of Rafael Nadal as well as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been put up for display at the venue.
Rafael Nadal's 2020 Roland Garros winning racquet displayed in his museum
On the extreme right, Rafael Nadal's Babolat Pure Aero racquet stands tall and proud within a glass casing. Nadal's player card from the 2020 French Open is tied around the neck of the racquet, to indicate that the World No. 2 played with the racquet during his historic 13th Roland Garros-winning campaign.
Next to Rafael Nadal's racquet lies his arch-rival Roger Federer's Wilson Six.One Tour BLX, which the Swiss Maestro used in 2010-11. Federer managed to win the 2010 Australian Open playing with this model, but struggled with the 90" head sized racquet before switching to a bigger frame in 2014 (when, incidentally, he faced Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Australian Open).
While Rafael Nadal's and Roger Federer's respective racquets happen to be two of the most iconic weapons of the modern game, their peers Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have played with some amazing racquets too.
Novak Djokovic's Head Graphene 360 Speed MP is displayed next to Federer's racquet, a model that the Serb used in his best season ever - 2015. And finally on the extreme left, is Andy Murray's Head Graphene 360 Radical.
Murray and Djokovic have played with Head racquets throughout their careers, even using the same line - Graphene - at some points.
All of these racquets are autographed by the players themselves, and the fans have been welcomed by the academy to view them at the museum. Of course, that's not the only attraction at the academy; there are also comfortable rooms for stay, an education centre, and even a suite named after Roger Federer.Published 10 Dec 2020, 20:14 IST