PRICELESS: Rafael Nadal Grants the Wish of a 95-Year Old Alzheimer’s Patient and Fan at Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Published 05/08/2021, 1:24 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea


Twenty-time grand slam champion and current world number two Rafael Nadal has been a humble champion of the sport. With unwavering grit and determination, the Spaniard attracts a huge following from fans throughout the world. 

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As Nadal faced a shock defeat in the quarter-finals against Alexander Zverev at Madrid Masters, the local crowd went numb and silent and found it hard to accept the loss.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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Rafael Nadal grants the wish of a 95-year old fan

However, a 95-year old fan of Nadal came to the stadium to watch her favorite player grace the court and play flawless tennis. Even though Nadal wasn’t anywhere near his best today, this fan will always cherish the joy of seeing the Spaniard live. 

Manuela Navarro Esteban was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Being a huge tennis fan, Manuela wanted to see Rafael Nadal live on-court, playing tennis before she forgets what Rafa meant to her.

Her grand- son posted her entry ticket on Twitter and wished the best for Nadal before the match. 

Rafael Nadal, today my grandmother at 95 years old will see the dream come true of seeing you live, she has Alzheimer’s beginning and she told me that before forgetting what tennis and you mean to her, she wanted to see you live. I hope you enjoy this day as much as I am enjoying it”.

The day got even better for Manuela as the twenty-time grand slam had decided to meet his greatest fan after the match got over. It was a special moment as the 95-year old took the photo of the Spaniard on her phone, as a souvenir of this meeting. 

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Even though it’s tragic that she won’t be remembering this moment forever, it’s heartening to see stars like Nadal taking off some time and decided to meet Manuela. 

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This incident is enough to say that sport has a profound impact on the lives of numerous people as players like Rafael Nadal are adored by millions across the globe. 

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Sagar Ashtakoula

384 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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