Tennis great Nadal to play in ‘Real’ home


Nadal to open new Bernabeu Image: Real Madrid

Once the refurbishment work of the home of the Spanish professional football club Real Madrid C.F.Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (Spain) – is completed, tennis giant Rafael Nadal has reportedly agreed to take part in a match at the redecorated facility. If the same materializes, he could once again break the world record for the highest spectators at a tennis match.

Rafael Nadal is a Spanish professional tennis player. He is ranked No. 3 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), has been ranked No. 1 in the ATP rankings for 209 weeks, and has finished as the year-end No. 1 five times.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a football stadium in Madrid, Spain. With a current seating capacity of 81,044, it has been the home stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947. It is the second-largest stadium in Spain.

‘Express’ stated that ‘Real’ have been playing their homes games this season at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium in Madrid, a 6,000-capacity arena which serves as the home of the Real Madrid Castilla (reserve team of Real Madrid).

The £500 million redecoration work of the Bernabéu is set to be completed in the summer of 2022. There will be no capacity expansion on the 81,000 seats that previously housed fans in the Spanish capital Madrid.

‘Express’ further stated that upgrade in leisure and entertainment facilities in Bernabéu will further open the revenue gates for the La Liga (top Spanish football league system) giants. One of those benefits will be a retractable pitch, which will facilitate music concerts and in the above mentioned case a tennis match.

Nadal has reportedly promised ‘Real’ President Florentino Pérez that he will play a match inside the ground once the repurposing work of the venue is over. Perez dreams of pitting the 34-year-old Nadal against his long-term rival Roger Federer for the exhibition tie.

Nadal and Federer broke the world record for spectators at a tennis match when 51,954 turned out to see them in action 12 months back in Cape Town, South Africa.

If at maximum capacity, the Real’s residence could fit in circa 30,000 more fans, thus beating the above record.

Real Madrid is close to Nadal’s heart as he grew up as a massive supporter of the club. The 20-time Grand Slam winner was on course to become a professional footballer, just like his uncle Miguel Angel, before he decided to play tennis.

“My dad and all my family have always been Real Madrid fans. When my uncle played for Barcelona, they obviously encouraged him. Later, he returned to Mallorca (Spain) and since then we have been divided: Some are still Barcelona fans, others Real Madrid,” Nadal told ‘Corriere della Sera’ last year.

Pérez will try to convince top gun Novak Djokovic to partake of in the event if Federer decides not to take part. It may soon be a case of tennis meets football.

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