Rafa Nadal, tennis icon put forward for Spanish sport’s highest honour

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Mallorca’s prodigal son and one of the greatest tennis players in history Rafael Nadal has received the backing of the president of Spain’s Olympic committee to be the nation’s flag bearer in Rio de Janeiro. 

Alejandro Blanco was yesterday adamant that the ‘King of Clay’ deserves the honour due, not only to his outstanding contribution to Spanish sport, but as an act of solidarity with the Manacor native following unsubstantiated doping allegations. 

“Spanish sports owe him a lot,” Blanco said. “In Beijing, he was the athlete who was followed the most by the international media and by other athletes. Rafa Nadal took Spanish sports to another level.

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“I think he should be the flag bearer, especially after how he has been treated. He deserves to feel that Spanish sports care about him.”

With 14 Grand Slam titles and an Olympic Gold Medal to his name, the 29-year-old, who is ferociously proud of his Mallorca roots, has captained a golden era in Spanish sports and is an international icon of the highest order. 

Nadal was the original flag bearer planned for London’s 2012 Olympics, but couldn’t attend due to injury.  

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