The 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is currently in India for the New Delhi leg on the on-going International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) and on Thursday, the Spaniard announced his new partnership with the Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy.
The King of Clay told The New Indian Express that the upcoming state-of the-art Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain, which will have more than 20 courts, latest coaching techniques, recovery, swimming pool and gym will be working with Mahesh Bhupathi’s organisation in India. Their main plan is to identify talent and to send them to Spain for expert training and special coaching from Nadal himself in Mallorca.
The Spaniard also said that this academy will be different from the one run by his foundation in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh as its prime objective is to give underprivileged kids a chance at something better.
“Anantapur is the centre of my foundation and we try to give kids opportunities at a better life with study and sport thrown in together. But this one in Mallorca is going to be a professional academy and help kids reach an international level. I’ll also be next door!” he said.
Refusing to call the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) an exhibition event, Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal says he would be back to compete in it next year too but conceded that tournaments like these don’t have a place in the ATP World Tour calendar.
“IPTL has been great so far and hopefully I will be back. I have liked the format, the team spirit is good, I think I am going to be back,” Nadal told reporters in a press conference after his team’s dominating win over Philippines Mavericks here.
“I don’t think these are exhibition matches, these games are very competitive. The intensity of competition is good. I feel the rules are perfect in the IPTL and it’s a great idea. But obviously, in the (ATP) World Tour, it doesn’t have a place,” asserted the 29-year-old.
In fact, Nadal went on to say that the IPTL is turning out to be perfect preparation for him ahead of the next season. The ‘King of Clay’ has struggled with his form this season, failing to win a single Major for the first time in 10 years.
“It is an unbelievable event. I have had a very good time so far and it’s a preparation for the next season. The format is quick and anything can happen. The matches can also become very close quickly,” he said.
The affable Spaniard said he is glad to be back in India after a gap of two years and is looking forward to the much-awaited showdown with his Swiss rival Roger Federer, who would be turning up for the UAE Royals tomorrow.
“He likes to play quick and this format suits him. Anything can happen but I am very excited to play that match tomorrow. I am looking forward to it,” he said.
“I am very glad to be back in India after a gap of two years, fans here have always been great and I enjoy being in a place where my foundation is also there,” he said.