SPANISH tennis champ Rafael Nadal has proved that not only is he one of the best sportsmen the world has ever seen, but he is also one of the sweetest.
The former world number one sent a surprise birthday message to one of his biggest fans, a Galician grandfather who turned 90 years old this week.
“Today is a very special day,” said the Mallorcan tennis star in a video message. “I want to send you a big hug, congratulations and wish you all the best.”
Appearing a little perplexed at the start of the message, the grandfather soon realised who it was and couldn’t contain his emotion.
“Thank you for making time for me,” said the 90-year-old who is known as ‘O Parrallo’ to all his friends and family.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said in response to the message as his voice cracked and his face crinkled with emotion.
His granddaughter Pilar Leon, filmed the moment the message was played and she posted it on twitter with a huge thank you to Nadal. “Eternal gratitude to Rafa Nadal and all those who have helped make his 90th birthday unforgettable.”
The video has been viewed 150,000 times in just 36 hours.
Nadal’s message came in response to a tweet from Leon who said her grandfather was a huge fan of the tennis player and had followed his career from the very beginning. She explained that he was about to celebrate his 90 birthday and asked whether the tennis player would send a special message.
It’s not the first time Nadal has shown a special fondness for his aged fans.
In May he took time after playing in the quarter finals of the Madrid Open to meet a 95-year old fan after reading a message on twitter that she would be at the match.
“Today, my grandmother, at 95 years of age, will fulfil her dream of seeing you live,” wrote Carlos Carrizosa. “She is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and she told me that before she forgets what tennis and you mean to her, she wanted to see you live. I hope that she enjoys this day as much as I’m enjoying it.”
He asked organisers to arrange a moment so he could meet the nonagenarian.