Rafael Nadal’s management has asked Madrid politicians to delay an initiative to rename the Caja Magica arena for Spain’s biggest tennis hero until after his retirement.
MARCA reported that the wishes of the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who won a record 13th Roland Garros title just weeks ago, will surely be respected.
The plan was hatched by a right-wing political party, perhaps as something of a distraction during the city’s fresh wave of COVID-19 cases.
“I don’t think there will ever be another Nadal,” a VOX party spokesman said of the name-change proposal to be brought before city government this week.
“”They are delighted with the proposal, but they understand that it is not the right time.
“He feels comfortable playing in the Caja Mágica, but he does not want his rivals to feel more uncomfortable about playing in a facility that bears his name.
“If anyone unites the Spanish, it is Rafa Nadal.”
The massive tennis complex – masterminded by billionaire former player and Madrid Masters supremo Ion Tiriac well over a decade ago with the city footing the construction cost – has been a happy hunting ground for Nadal.
The 34-year-old ATP No. 2 has won the Masters title at the venue four times plus once more in 2005 when the event was played on hardcourt in another setting.
Nadal also led Spain to the 2091 Davis Cup title at the venue last November,
The facility was inaugurated by a Lenny Kravitz concert in May, 2009 and has since hosted the Masters 1000 each spring.
Nadal has a 41-7 record at the venue with his four titles earned over 11 editions.
The Madrid proposal comes a week after city fathers in Basel – childhood home of Roger Federer – declined to rename the St Jakobshalle home of the ATP Swiss Indoors – in honour of it’s world-famed native son.
Federer does have a few streets named after him in Europe, most notably the Roger Federer Allee leading to the tennis stadium in rural Halle, Germany, site of a summer grass-court ATP event.
There is also a similar street with his name on it in Biel, Switzerland, home of the national tennis training centre.