For three years in a row, Rafael Nadal has been announced as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. The honor is on account of fair play, professionalism and integrity on and off the court. Voted by his peers, the Spaniard has won the trophy a total of four times in his career. No one but the Swiss maestro Roger Federer and Nadal have received the recognition since 2004.
Many believe that the 20-time Grand Slam champion sealed the deal as early as January 2020. While playing at the Australian Open, Nadal accidentally hit a ball girl on her head returning a serve. What followed was a concerned Rafa immediately running to the girl, looking for signs of injury. The girl stood bravely with a smile, and at the end, received a kiss from the ‘King of Clay’.
The 39-year-old has always been a great competitor of the sport. His humility has never left him, be it in tennis or outside. Therefore, Rafael Nadal is deservedly named for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. The nominees alongside him were John Millman, Diego Schwartzman, and Dominic Thiem.
“Be remembered like a good person”: Rafael Nadal
After receiving the honour, the 13 times French Open champion made a video to thank his colleagues. He is standing in his Museum at the Rafa Nadal Academy while delivering the speech. Along with thanking his colleagues for choosing him, the World No. 2 talked about how he wants to be remembered.
“When someone asks me how I want to be remembered, I always answer I want to be remembered like a good person no more than a tennis player. That’s why this trophy means a lot,” said Rafa in the video from his Academy’s Twitter account.
The Manacor born tennis professional also uploaded a story on his Instagram handle. He wrote, “Thanks to all the players for this award. It means a lot to me!”
Rafa Nadal training for the Australian Open 2021
Despite being criticised for not winning on the hard courts, Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 and has competed in five finals overall. The Spaniard is training to strike back again and aim for glory. He has finalised the three players he will train with during quarantine in Australia.
Regarding the ATP Awards 2020, here is the list of all the winners. Surprisingly, Federer won the Fan’s Favourite Award for the eighteenth consecutive year despite missing most of the Tour.
Also Read: Novak Djokovic to Train with Dominic Thiem, Rublev and Krajinovic During Quarantine at Australian Open 2021