Rafael Nadal opens up on Majorca flood devastation: 'I lived the situation from inside'

Hannah Wilks in Tennis News 29 Oct 2018
  • Rafael Nadal spoke about the devastation caused by Majorca flooding
  • 'I lived the situation from inside,' the world no. 1 said
  • Nadal plans exhibition in December to raise money for victims
Rafael Nadal speaks to the media ahead of the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal spoke about his personal connection to the suffering caused by devastating floods on his home island of Majorca, which killed 13 people, and plans December exhibition to aid victims.



World no. 1 Nadal spoke to the media for the first time about the impact of the Majorca floods, as he faced the press ahead of this week's Rolex Paris Masters.

Torrential rainstorms on the Balearic island of Majorca, where Nadal grew up and still lives along with his family, on the ninth of October led to sudden and devastating flooding which claimed 13 lives.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 28: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand during practice ahead of the Rolex Paris Masters on October 28, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
The area around the village of Sant Llorenc des Cardassar was the worst affected with eight inches of rain falling in just four hours. Homes had to be abandoned with residents evacuated to nearby shelters, and cars were swept away as waves of muddy water poured through the streets. A car carrying a five-year-old boy and his mother was swept away and a rescue effort confirmed that they had been killed.

'The mother and the son, I know them. They are cousins of one of my best friends. So I lived the situation from very inside and I really saw the drama of all these people looking for the kid,' Nadal said on Sunday. 

'That's part of this life and is a very unlucky situation that is almost impossible to recover from.'

Nadal, who opened his tennis academy on Majorca in the autumn of 2016, was at home in the town of Manacor at the time, recuperating from the knee injury which saw him retire from his match against Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open and pull out of scheduled events in Beijing and Shanghai. 

'The disaster has been just like six kilometers away from where I live. I was at home and the rain never stopped,' Nadal said. 'It was terrible all the things that happened in the village next to my house, and not only one, a few villages - but especially Sant Llorenc.'

The 32-year-old Spaniard was seen donning wellies and wielding a broom to help with the clean-up operations in Sant Llorenc, as well as opening his academy to shelter victims of the disaster who had been displaced from their homes. 

Fellow players Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev were among those who sent messages of support at the time.

'If you were not there, you can't imagine how the things were inside that village. I have a lot of family there in the village,' Nadal said. 

'The family from my mother, my grandmother, sisters and all the family from that side are from there. So I have a big connection with all of them.'

Nadal is planning to play an exhibition event in Majorca in December to help raise money for the people of Sant Llorenc who have been affected by the flooding.

'In some way[s], the only thing that we can do is just try to support them in terms of try to help them to recover all the things that they lost. [For] human losses, there's nothing to do,' Nadal said.

'We are trying to create something to [raise] some money for the people that lost everything in terms of material values, because people who lost life [there] is nothing to do. Things are so sad.'

A less popular exhibition is the one which Nadal is scheduled to play with Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia on 22 December - a decision which has been widely criticized since the news of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Nadal is playing his first event since the US Open at the Rolex Paris Masters this week. But the Spaniard has more on his mind than testing out his knee and warming up for the Nitto ATP Finals, the ATP World Tour's season-ending championships in London which are coming up in a couple of weeks - his world no. 1 ranking is also under threat. Nadal must advance one round further in Paris than Djokovic, or the Wimbledon and US Open champion will seize the top spot next week - and Djokovic is a four-time champion at the indoor hard-court event, which Nadal has never won.

Nadal will play his first match at the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday against either fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco or Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

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Rafael Nadal opens up on Majorca flood devastation: 'I lived the situation from inside'

World no. 1 Rafael Nadal spoke about his personal connection to the suffering caused by devastating floods on his home island of Majorca, which killed 13 people, and plans December exhibition to aid victims

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