Roger Federer has reached out to his old friend Rafael Nadal and delivered a cheerful and heartfelt message to the students of the Nadal Academy who are graduating during these tough times.
Nadal invited the 20-time Swiss champion to the launch of his academy, in his hometown of Mallorca, back in 2016.
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Federer spoke of Nadal’s passion for the game and, while both being injured at the time, hoped the two could return to the top of the men’s game.
Fast-forward to 2020 and both Nadal and Federer have extended their lead from the NextGen with multiple Grand Slam victories.
The academy held a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, which Nadal attended, and Federer reached out to the graduates of the Nadal academy, via video, and offered them a heartwarming message about his love for tennis.
“Hello everybody at the Rafa Nadal Academy. Many congratulations on everybody who graduates today. I wish you all the very best for the future,” Federer said in a video.
“For those who go on and play professional tennis, you know what it takes, a lot of hard work and never forget to have fun, that’s the most important part.”
Federer also spoke of a silver lining regarding the tough times everyone is facing during the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world and some advice for the graduates.
“Rafa and I have never lost the passion for what we are doing; there will be some rainy and tough days but, there’s always a silver lining,” he said.
“The sun will come around eventually. Just make sure to keep on working hard.”
Federer praises Nadal’s humble nature
“For those that the tennis dream never worked out, I’m sure you had a great learning experience at the Academy in school. I hope you have learned a lot from Rafa, he is such a champion in so many ways,” Federer said.
“He is very humble and you should always be kind to others. You are only as strong as your team. I hope you go on and have an enjoyable and successful career in whatever you are doing. You will look back at these days at the Academy as some of the best days of your life.”
Nadal responded to Federer via a tweet and thanked his rival and friend for the kind words.
Maria Sharapova also offered the students a piece of advice after graduating via video link.