Rafael Nadal Congratulates Spanish Gymnast Rayderley Zapata by Sending a Private Message for Tokyo Olympics 2020 Triumph

Published 08/01/2021, 12:49 PM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Floor Exercise – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Rayderley Zapata of Spain reacts after performing the floor exercise. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson


Since the beginning of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, World No.3 Rafael Nadal has been following the performances of the Spanish Olympic team. Whenever any Spanish athlete has won a medal, Nadal has been quick in sending his congratulatory messages via social media.

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Today, after Spanish gymnast, Rayderley Zapata, clinched a silver medal in artistic gymnastics, he shared a screenshot on his Instagram story of a heartfelt private message he received from Nadal.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Rafael Nadal of Spain smiles in a practice session during previews for the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on November 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal congratulates Spanish gymnast

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The 20-time Grand Slam champion sent his wishes to Zapata through an Instagram DM, congratulating the gymnast on a historic achievement.

“Congratulations on the medal! Big hug (translated to English),” wrote Nadal in his text message to Zapata. After winning the silver medal, Zapata broke down to tears and then held up a bib bearing his young daughter Olympia’s name. 

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Unable to believe that Nadal messaged him privately, Zapata captioned the post ‘I’m dying’. Although Zapata’s score of 14.933 was tied with Artem Dolgopyat, the latter won the gold in a tie-break because of his .100 higher difficulty score.

While Nadal’s withdrawal from the Olympics was an enormous setback for the Spanish tennis team, however, the 30-year-old Pablo Carreno Busta secured a bronze medal in singles to boost the country’s morale.

Carreno Busta defeated Novak Djokovic, whose unsuccessful run at the Olympics continued, in a thrilling three-set match and won an Olympic medal for the first time in his career.

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Haven’t played a single tournament since his semifinal defeat at the 2021 French Open, Nadal would now compete at the upcoming Citi Open, a tournament he has never played before.

The ATP 500 hard-court event in Washington D.C would act as a preparatory ground for Nadal in the tune-up to the US Open. Seeded No.1, Nadal has received a first-round bye and would face the winner of the opening round match between Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka and American Jack Sock, in the second round.

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Kshitij Tayal

466 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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