BUENOS AIRES – Spain’s Rafael Nadal, the world’s top-ranked tennis player, visited one of the poor neighborhoods in Buenos Aires on Tuesday and played tennis with local children.
Nadal was joined by Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri at a tennis clinic he hosted in Villa 20, one of the poor neighborhoods on the south side of the Argentine capital.
The 27-year-old Nadal gave lessons to children participating in a sports program organized by the Buenos Aires city government.
Excited residents mobbed Nadal, requesting autographs, asking him to pose for photos or just reaching out and touching the tennis star.
“I want to thank you very much for coming here to play with them and conveying what you show when you play, which is passion, commitment and guts,” Macri said.
Nadal, who has won 13 Grand Slam titles, did not make any statements during the event.
The tennis star and Macri started the practice session by hitting a few shots to each other, giving the anxious youngsters a chance to hit with their idol later.
“This tour of Argentina, Peru and Chile has given me an infusion of positive energy. I’m going to enjoy this time, which is not work and has allowed me to visit friends and think about next year,” Nadal said in a press conference on Monday.
Nadal will be joined by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in Santiago on Wednesday for a farewell event honoring Chilean tennis player Nicolas Massu.
The Spanish star will return to Argentina for exhibition matches in the central city of Cordoba on Thursday and Buenos Aires on Saturday as part of the farewell tour of Argentine star David Nalbandian.
Nadal will battle Djokovic, the world No. 2, in an exhibition in Buenos Aires on Sunday in his last tennis event of the year.