Updated: October 31, 2021 11:07:21 am
When it comes to achieving your dreams, it’s never too late. And one tennis player in his 90s proved just the same as he took the court with none other than 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal! Now, a sweet video of the game is melting hearts online.
Nadal welcomed a special fan to the Rafa Nadal Academy this week — Ukrainian player Leonid Stanislavskyi. 97 years old, the man holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest player in the world with an International Tennis Federation (ITF) licence. His dream was to play to a point with the 35-year-old Spanish legend.
As Stanislavskyi had previously expressed his desire to visit the tennis academy run by the Spaniard in his hometown of Manacor, the duo recently met and exchanged their love for the game. But things turned more beautiful when they just didn’t stop at exchanging greetings but were seen playing together.
Nadal welcomed his oldest opponent in the court with a gentle rally, while Stanislavskyi proved his burning desire to play with his favourite player by hitting balls around the court in fine fashion despite his age.
Watch the video here:
Dream maker, Rafa Nadal made one fan’s dream come true by hitting with him: Leonid Stanislavskyi, 97 years old. ❤️
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) October 29, 2021
According to ATP Tour, Stanislavskyi, who has been competing in amateur tennis for more than 50 years had sent a letter to the ITF a few months ago asking them to create a new veteran category for players in his age range. As a result for the first time, the ITF introduced a new category for over-90s at the ITF Super Senior World Championships.
His academy further shared some pictures of their match and them posing before the camera for a commemorative shot.
– Leonid: Could I play a point with you?
– Rafa: Of course! pic.twitter.com/soHR0XznCJ
— Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar (@rnadalacademy) October 29, 2021
People on social media were deeply moved by the sportsstar’s sweet and thoughtful gesture. Others were highly impressed by the nonagenarian’s skills and enthusiasm. The duo’s wide smiles in the photos, a testament of their genuine happiness delighted all online.
How cool:) https://t.co/OfjnC322Vq
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) October 29, 2021
this is wonderful https://t.co/znrFFT6RXq
— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) October 29, 2021
Lookit how Nadal just carves this guy up, just working him, side to side, short and deep, methodical, just dominating, toying with him, then goes in for the kill. No one’s scarier than Rafa when he’s on. https://t.co/wEjQZK3AJv
— Andy Bobrow (@abobrow) October 29, 2021
Rafael Nadal for the win. Timeline cleanser… https://t.co/EPu39XdAzY
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) October 29, 2021
— Patricia Finger Russell 🇺🇸🎇🏖⛵️📝📚♒️ (@BethpageGirl) October 30, 2021
My dad is also 97, and similar vitality, but not a tennis player! He recently stopped driving long distances at night. But daytime? Pftt, no problem https://t.co/Ad03PO1A3M
— Vaxxed Crone (@NHRunningLady) October 29, 2021
Therapy sessions 💝 https://t.co/LxW0L1T8pS
— Mr Yolatha Ntanjana (@only1bigyo) October 29, 2021
You know what characterises the Top 3? Their humility.
All 3 of them besides being champions,are extraordinary human beings.❤👍
Thank you for sharing this Eleanor.Loved it❤🙏@DjokovicEleanor
— sonu (@PRABHYCW1) October 30, 2021
I can’t stop watching this clip! This is so special! Mr. Stanislavskyi is truly an inspiration! What joie de vivre!
— Miragegrace (@Miragegrace1) October 30, 2021
Once again, Rafa made one fan’s dream come true! He is the most gentle of champions. And you can see by his smile in the photos that he was having a blast with Mr. Stanislavskyi!!!
— DQ-Poa (@DqPoa) October 29, 2021
Amazing. At 97 years old he is able to stand and tap a few balls across the net and with none other than Rafa. Can”t get better than this.
— Josi Jose (@JosiJoseM) October 29, 2021
This is so sweet and generous of @RafaelNadal. If there was such kindness all the time by everyone…
— Rachel P Champagne (@MlleChouChoo) October 29, 2021
Old man can hit. Way better than I’ve ever been at tennis. And Rafa’s perfect control to set him up perfectly is impressive too.
— Eric Johnson (@erod550) October 29, 2021
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