The coronavirus pandemic has compelled ATP to suspend the tour till 31 July, and the top tennis stars are trying a variety of ways to keep themselves entertained during the unexpected break. Players like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray and several others have been attempting to reach out to their fans through social media during the lockdown, with varying degrees of success.
Speaking of social media, Spanish football league LaLiga has been running a mascot competition on Twitter. Valencia CF's 'Amunt' qualified for the final of the contest along with Real Mallorca's 'Dimonio', and the LaLiga Twitter handle has urged the fans to show their support by liking or retweeting the tweet.
A like would count as a vote for Valencia CF, while a retweet would increase Dimonio's chances of winning.
Being a self-confessed football fanatic, Rafael Nadal couldn't resist joining in. But his tweet showing his preference has led to a flurry of responses from the football world.
Rafael Nadal supports Real Mallorca's Dimonio in the mascot battle
Rafael Nadal showed his support for Real Mallorca's Dimonio by retweeting LaLiga's post instead of liking it. He also added a bicep-flexing emoji as a comment to egg on Dimonio in the fun competition.
Looking at the intensity of the battle, Valencia CF tried to level the playing field by asking their former player Joaquin Sanchez to enter the ring too. Joaquin plied his trade for the club from 2006 to 2011.
Valencia mentioned him in their reply to Rafael Nadal, referencing the fact that the Betis player had famously joked in an interview that he would have been a tennis player had he not achieved success on the football field.
Valencia CF sent the following reply to Nadal:
"Hello Joaquín, from tennis player to 'tennis player' we count on you for this match point."
The current score of the battle between the two mascots is in favor of Real Mallorca, as Dimonio has received 12,000 votes against Amunt's count of 11,200. It will be intriguing to see if Joaquin manages to garner enough support for Amunt and 'save' match point in this battle.
Rafael Nadal, the football fan
Rafael Nadal has always been big on football, which is not a surprise given that the sport runs in his family. His uncle Miguel Angel Nadal was a professional footballer, representing Barcelona.
Nadal's allegiance, however, is to Real Madrid; he has made frequent appearances at the Santiago Bernabeu over the years, and often expresses vocal support for the club on social media. In fact, his love for Real Madrid recently earned a dig from former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
With LaLiga running the light-hearted mascot battle on Twitter, it was only natural for Rafael Nadal to jump in as well. It remains to be seen whether his choice ends up winning the contest though.Published 22 May 2020, 18:15 IST