© Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

Rafael Nadal poses with his new statue at Roland Garros.

Nadal Statue Revealed At Roland Garros

The Spaniard is a 13-time champion at this tournament

Roland Garros revealed a statue of 13-time champion Rafael Nadal on Thursday before the start of the season’s second Grand Slam championship.

Nadal was there for the unveiling with French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton, Tournament Director Guy Forget and Jordi Diez Fernandez, the statue’s sculptor. The piece of art is located next to the general public entrance and the Jardin des Mousquetaires.

“The statue is spectacular,” said Nadal. “I think it is very real. If you haven’t seen it live, if you stay close you’ll notice. It’s a clean, modern statue and I’m very pleased. It’s really difficult to build a statue with that material and be so real as this one is.

“It means a lot. Having a statue within such a special place for our sport, in a place that is very special for me is something unique. Not being French, I can only say thanks to the FFT, to the former President who promoted it and the current President who continued with the project.”

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Diez Fernandez built the statue, which is made of steel, to stand three metres tall, nearly five metres wide and two metres deep. Nadal is pictured hitting his signature lefty forehand, which has helped him to a 100-2 record at the clay-court major.

The third seed will begin his pursuit of a 14th Coupe des Mousquetaires against Aussie Alexei Popyrin. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and eighth seed Roger Federer are also on Nadal’s half of the draw.

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