Spain's Rafael Nadal during a tennis training session at the La Cartuja stadium, in Seville, Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011
The Rafa Nadal Tennis Center at the Sani Resort in Chalkidiki, Northern Greece, opened in 2019. It’s the first and only Rafa Nadal Tennis Center in Europe.
Carlos Moyá, Rafa Nadal’s coach, and himself a former world No.1 and Roland Garros champion, spoke to Euronews about what it takes to help someone reach the pinnacle of their sport.
“I’m very proud of being part of that team that tries to motivate him and try to make him still better that what he is. He is a human being, he is not a machine. You have to be brother sometimes, you have to be a friend, some other times you need to be hard on him and you need to push in order to get his 100%.”
Academies such as this are cropping up all across the world. According to recent figures from the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the number of tennis clubs globally has almost doubled since 2019. So, will we be seeing more Rafael Nadal’s in the future?
“It’s hard to get new Nadals, I think it’s once in a lifetime… But of course having this kind of facilities in such a beautiful place like the Sani Resort, to have the Rafa Nadal Tennis Center here, it’s amazing. I’ve been with the kids today and I see how the atmosphere is here. I think it’s great for the kids, great for tennis and the more we have, the more biggest chance there is of having more professional tennis players.”
Europe accounts for over half of all professionally ranked tennis players. But levels of youth participation are lower compared to other parts of the world, notably Asia.