Palma, Spain, Jun 15 (EFE).- Rafael Nadal on Wednesday was honored by the regional Balearic government for his sporting career soon after claiming his record-extending 14th French Open title during a ceremony in his native Mallorca in which he declined to comment on media reports that he and his wife were expecting their first child.
A highlight reel of the Spaniard’s stellar career, which has seen him hoist 22 Grand Slam titles, was played at the beginning of the event, which was attended by the regional president of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol.
After gifting Nadal a lithograph, Armengol praised the tennis star: “Nadal not only stands out for his sporting successes. He is the best ambassador of Mallorcan sport”.
“He is also a supportive athlete, he always helps, he is honest, with great commitment, rigor and discipline. That is his hallmark and in the Balearic Islands we are very proud of him,” she added.
The 36-year-old expressed his joy at “being recognized in the Balearic Islands” because the tribute in his own homeland “always has a special meaning”.
“It has been a tough year,” said the Spaniard whose season has been interrupted by his chronic foot injury as well as a rib stress fracture.
“I have had too many injuries, but this has made me enjoy the island more. Being surrounded by family and friends helps me on a day-to-day basis. I am grateful for the way in which I am treated here, with discretion”, Nadal said.
When asked by journalists, Nadal declined to confirm reports that he and his wife Mery Perelló are expecting a child.
“This Friday,” Nadal told the reporters, referring to a press conference scheduled for for that day, where he is expected to address the topic, according to the celebrity news magazine Hola!.EFE