Rafael Nadal opens academy in secret visit to India

Monday, 18 October 2010 22:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Hyderabad (IANS) In a secret visit, world’s No.1 tennis player Rafael Nadal inaugurated a tennis academy named after him in Anantapur, some 360 km from here, Sunday.

The Spaniard’s visit to Rural Development Trust (RDT), a non-governmental organisation in Anantapur, was kept a secret. After landing in Bangalore, Nadal drove to Anantapur.

So closely guarded was the secret that the media came to know of his visit only after he returned home.

Nadal was accompanied by his mother Maria Nadal Parera and sister Maria Isabel. The Spaniard interacted with 100 trainees and promised to donate Rs.55 lakh every year to the academy.

According to RDT officials, Nadal expressed satisfaction at the facilities offered at the academy, which has three clay courts, a pavilion, a training centre, changing rooms and classrooms for underprivileged children. He also promised to coach the trainees from the next year.

Nadal also visited Bathalapalli centre of the RDT, about 30 km from Anantapur and interacted with physically challenged athletes undergoing training to take part in the world games.

The selfless services rendered by the RDT brought Nadal to the place. RDT has been carrying out social service activities in Anantapur district for about four decades in the areas of supplementary education for children, healthcare, housing, development of women, ecology and environment in about 1,800 villages.

Its founder and Spanish missionary Vicente Ferrer passed away last year and he was laid to rest at Bathalapalli.

Born in Barcelona, Spain, Ferrer came to India in early 1950s and worked among poor in Maharashtra for 16 years before settling down in Anantapur. His wife Anne, son Moncho and two daughters are continuing his work in Anantapur.