India, now with 105% more clay.

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

After Roger Federer and Serena both made time in their busy schedules after their Australian Open wins to visit their philanthropic projects in Africa, Rafael Nadal joined the Do-Gooders Club, as he turned up in India this week with his mamá Ana Maria to inaugurate a tennis school sponsored by his foundation in collaboration with the Rural Development Trust.

The aim of the school is to offer education to lower-caste children, providing not only academic subjects but also other interests including sport and the performing arts.

At the Anantapur Sports Village in Andhra Pradesh, Rafa toured the school, consisting of three – you guess it – clay courts, a pavilion and some classrooms for underprivileged children.

There, Rafa spent 2 hours playing tennis with some of the 120 children present, and urged the kids to improve their tennis by his next visit.

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“I’m very conscious that I can use my image to help make a difference on a large scale,” said Rafa, “I’m really happy to visit the school and meet children who will study here. I hope they will like it and this project will help them get an education and have all they need. “It gives me great happiness knowing I’m helping them have a better childhood and I hope they make the best of this opportunity. I’d love to come back in a few years and see those who studied here.”

Be it Roger in Ethiopia or South Africa, Serena in Kenya, or Rafa in India, we’re very lucky to have successive No 1s who shoulder the burden and responsibility of leadership with such grace.

Yer go, tennis.

xx doots

Postscript:
More information on the project is available from the Fundacion Rafa Nadal website. Fans can help Rafa further his cause through donations or purchases through his online store.

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4 responses to “India, now with 105% more clay.”

  1. sita says :

    Umm…Nice of him, good for those kids.
    The pictures from Roger’s visit to India and Ethiopia still warm the cockles of my heart when I look at them.
    And is it me, or does Rafa look like too much like a Roger wannabe especially in the last picture.I think I actually liked Rafa better when he had some originality with his long hair , sleeveless shirts and pirate pants before Nike tried to make him look like Roger, act like Roger etc .

  2. Katarina_YYZ says :

    I guess in fairness…. clay courts would be the cheapest to maintain. They can’t be blowing money in a poor region like that on court maintenance, be it keeping up the grass or keeping a hardcourt nice and smooth.

    sita, don’t worry about his haircut… his hair is thinning alarmingly fast for a man of 24. He’ll be sporting the Agassi look pretty soon.

  3. steve says :

    So the official name is the “Rafa Nadal Foundation” as opposed to “Rafael Nadal Foundation”? At this point it almost seems like he should legally change his first name to “Rafa”.

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