Having written the highest glories on the clay of Paris, Rafael Nadal took a new step towards legend with the inauguration of a statue with his figure in Roland Garros, who wants to pay him the tribute he deserves in this way.
Has been the spanish artist Jordi Diez who has devised the work, in which the Majorcan, sculpted in steel, appears suspended on cables while performing a live, his most emblematic hit, the drive.
“I love it,” cried the tennis player when he unveiled a sculpture that will leave his feats engraved in metal in the French capital.
”There is no more special place in the world for me than Roland Garros for this sculpture. It means a lot to me, it is a great honor ”, added the player.
Nadal’s image will remain like this forever with The Musketeers, which marked the first years of the tournament’s history and that of the aviator after whom it was named, which opened last April.
“The idea of suspending it was intended to imply that the ball is going very fast,” the sculptor told EFE, who was immediately attracted to the idea of shaping the tennis player as the former president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT ), Bernard Giudicelli, expressed the idea of immortalizing Nadal.
Just a few days later, Díez sent several projects and they chose his favorite, which has been built in the tournament facilities that is undergoing a deep renovation of its space.
It was a way to ignite a figure that has broken all the statistics of the clay court Grand Slam, where he adds 100 wins and only two losses and where from next Sunday he will fight to lift his fourteenth Musketeers Cup.
Diez used 800 kilos of stainless steel to immortalize the tennis player, in a work in which he wanted to capture the values that, in his eyes, Nadal represents.
”Rafa represents many aspects, but they all come down to strength, not only physical, but also internal, which is more important. That is the engine of the work ”, he explains.
A follower of excellence rather than sport, the Valladolid artist based in Barcelona became obsessed with the work to try to capture his idea of the champion as faithfully as possible.
Went to Majorca to take measurements of his entire body and made an emptying of his hands, data that he transferred to his workshop, where for weeks he tried to find the essence of Spanish.
One day, Díez acknowledges, he assured: “Rafa has come.” In his eyes, the tennis player had finally been captured in his work and the artist admits that tears wet his eyes.
The sculptor considers “outdated” the idea that a work should be dedicated to a character whose footprint is part of the past and believes that currently it also serves to “reinforce with a tribute that Rafa is making history.”
“I am centralizing the emotion of many people right now. Paying a tribute to a character in history is trying to keep his memory from passing. But here the objective is to enhance its figure, its magnitude, it is another continent that seems more powerful to me ”, he assures.
In addition, he considers it particularly grand that his sculpture, the first to make a living character, is at Roland Garros, “the place in the world where tennis is most notorious, where it radiates most strongly to the rest of the planet.”
In his conversations with Nadal, Díez found something of what he already sensed, “a close character within his strength”, something that he also believes to intuit in the Argentine footballer Lionel messi, who would like to one day make a sculpture.