Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud, during their exhibition tour in South America, each received a traditional Ecuadorian hat, called Paja Toquilla. Former tennis player Nico Lapentti helped the two ATP stars to wear their hats correctly.
According to the Ecuadorian hat makers at ecuadorian.ch, "Sombrero de Paja Toquilla is the generic name given to a hat that has been made for more than 400 years in Ecuador and that everyone thinks is made in Panama. In the 16th century, the desire to discover new lands led the Spanish to reach what is now the province of Guayas and Manabí, on the Ecuadorian coast.
The conquerors observed that the natives protected their heads from the strong sun with a kind of hat that covered their ears and neck. The rich, shiny material was unlike anything they had seen before, but the shape of the hats was similar to the scarves (headdresses) worn by nuns or widows.
Given this similarity, the Spanish decided to call these hats "tocas" and the straw used to make them "paja toquilla". Time passes and the story of this hat continues to advance. Ecuador began to export the hats in the first half of the 19th century to Panama and other seaports of popular trade.
In the mid-19th century, many Americans passed through Panama to reach California during the gold rush. Therefore, it was in Panama that they met the light and elegant straw hats on their journey to prosperity.
Nadal's retirement is approaching
Rafael Nadal, who has a total of four Mexican Open trophies to his name, thanked the fans for their unconditional support and for treating him like "another Mexican".
"It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away. Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with many people and in a country where I have always felt loved,” he said.
"It is an unforgettable feeling to live in such an environament in Mexico, I can only say thank you for the unconditional support, it is a country that has treated me like another Mexican. It's hard for me to say goodbye to you," he added.
"For me the main thing right now is to be able to get to the important tournaments in full physical condition. I continue to enjoy day-by-day and I continue to have goals that excite me at a professional level. I’m going to try to achieve them until my body or mind says enough. At the moment, that hasn’t happened so I want to continue,” he said.