“You’re a Champion”: Rafael Nadal Sends Out Heartfelt Message to Carla Suarez Navarro Ahead of French Open 2021 Return

Published 06/01/2021, 4:47 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates during his third round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


Cancer-free and back to playing tennis again, Carla Suarez Navarro has received a personalized video message from none other than compatriot and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal as she marks her return to tennis at Roland-Garros later on Tuesday.

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ATP has posted a clip on its official Twitter page where the 13-time French Open is heard commending Navarro on her fearless battle against cancer and her eventual triumph over it.

Rafael Nadal commends Carla Suarez Navarro for beating cancer

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Nadal said that his fellow Spaniard inspired many in the way she took the disease head-on, fought off the difficulties and challenges that came with it, and worked her way back to tennis again.

Opening his message with “Buena, Carla. Que tal? Bueno (Hi Carla, how are you?).” Nadal then added, “I just want to congratulate you for the attitude and everything that you have transmitted during these complicated months that you have for sure lived.”

He added that while she has already proved that she is a champion on court, she has also now shown herself to be a champion off the court in the way she beat the dreaded disease and emerged stronger from the experience.

“You’re a champion. You were already one on court, but now you showed us that you’re also one away from the court. I just wanted to congratulate you and tell you that I’m very, very happy for your recovery,” Nadal said.

Watch this story: Insane Stats That Show Why Rafael Nadal is King of Clay

Nadal says Navarro will soon find strength to play tennis or whichever sport she wants

Nadal added that he is convinced that as she returns to normal life, Navarro will find the strength to compete as she used to in tennis or whichever other sport she chooses to pursue from here on in.

“I am sure that little by little, you will again find the strength to play tennis again, or play whatever sport you want,” Nadal said as he ended his message with a “big kiss and congratulations”.

Even as the tennis world was struggling to come to terms with her shock retirement last year, Navarro sent fans into further gloom as she revealed that she had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

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However, earlier this year, she lifted her fans’ spirits with the announcement that she was close to making a full recovery and was even contemplating a return to tennis. Her return to tennis at the French Open proved an even bigger surprise.

DIVE DEEPER

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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