© Mutua Madrid Open

Manuela, 95, had the chance to meet World No. 2 Rafael Nadal after his quarter-final match at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Nadal Makes 95-Year-Old Manuela’s Dream Come True

Spaniard delighted fan after his quarter-final match

Early this morning, Rafael Nadal received a very special message. Before playing in the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open, the Spaniard read some heartfelt words on social media. Among his 15 million followers on Twitter, somebody’s message stood out over the rest.

“Today, my grandmother, at 95 years of age, will fulfil her dream of seeing you live,” wrote Carlos Carrizosa, the grandson of the protagonist of this wonderful story. “She is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and she told me that before she forgets what tennis and you mean to her, she wanted to see you live. I hope that she enjoys this day as much as I’m enjoying it.”

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Carrizosa’s grandmother, Manuela Navarro Esteban, was hugely excited as they made their way to the Caja Mágica on Friday. There, they were able to see the winner of 87 ATP Tour titles and one of the legends of modern sport in the flesh in Madrid.

But Carlos and Manuela could not have imagined how much more they would enjoy their day, all thanks to the power of social media.

At 3pm, Manuela was in one of the seats in the Manolo Santana Stadium taking in the intense atmosphere. Just a few metres from the court, Manuela got to enjoy the power of the Mallorcan close up. Although Rafa ultimately did not reach the semi-finals, the support from one of his biggest fans was just as strong as it has been for his greatest victories.

Despite being unable to celebrate a victory for her favourite player, who was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by the German Alexander Zverev, Manuela was able to enjoy a special moment with the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

At the end of the match, having been knocked out of the ATP Masters 1000 event, the Spaniard was delighted to meet Manuela, who was patiently waiting at the exit to the locker rooms. Behind the scenes in the Caja Magica, minutes after competing in front of all the fans, Nadal dedicated some of his time to one of his biggest fans.

They shared a conversation in which they were able to exchange words of affection. Nadal met one of his most fervent supporters, contemplating what he represents to so many generations of fans. And Manuela, simply delighted to see him play live, then had the pleasure of meeting him face to face.