Emotional Rafael Nadal: 'We will overcome these challenging times together'

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Emotional Rafael Nadal: 'We will overcome these challenging times together'

The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal experienced a challenging year, like the entire world plagued by the coronavirus. To help his country, one of the most affected ones by the pandemic, Rafa and his great friend Pau Gasol launched #NuestraMejorVictoria campaign, working closely with the #CruzRojaResponde project and gathering over 14 million euros for those who needed the help the most.

For his outstanding contributions on and off the court, Rafa received the Community of Madrid's highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Order of Dos de Mayo, on Thursday at the Real Casa de Correos. It is one of the most recognized awards in Spain, and the Manacor native earned it after showing his big heart outside the court and the warrior spirit against his opponents in tennis arenas.

Nadal became the 20-time Major champion at Roland Garros, overcoming all the obstacles to wrap up all seven matches in straight sets and write history at 34. Fifteen years after his first Major title, Nadal has caught Roger Federer's Major tally, joining the great Swiss on 20 Major crowns and hoping to pass him in the season ahead of us.

Rafa will finish the season inside the top-2 for the record-breaking 12th time, experiencing another notable year despite the fact he didn't pick a racquet in March and April. During the ceremony speech, Nadal expressed his gratitude towards all the people who have helped while battling against the pandemic, hoping for much better days for his beloved Spain.

Rafael Nadal received the Grand Cross of the Order of Dos de Mayo.

"First of all, I would like to remember the victims and families of this terrible pandemic we are going through. I think it affects us all in one way or another, but above all, those that have lost loved ones.

I want to say thank you to all the health workers, particularly in Madrid, a community that was severely affected in the first wave. I also want to appreciate the forces and State security organizations. I'm convinced that Spain will do what it has always been able to do; to come through tough and difficult circumstances, and this time will be no exception.

Thank you for this recognition; it is a real honor. I want to thank and share this distinction with the citizens of the Community of Madrid, a place that feels very close to my heart and where I always receive special affection.

I have enjoyed unforgettable moments, both personal and professional. We all owe a lot to this community because it has always been there for us. I hope that what we are going through now will soon be but a memory, and we can go back to sharing and enjoying the things that make us happy soon.

Hopefully, this will be over as quickly as possible. You've all made this an unforgettable day for me," Rafael Nadal said.