One of the most loved tennis superstars in the world right now – Spain’s Rafael Nadal – has graced Kuwait with a Tennis academy, with a mission to help Arab talents win big.
Rafa Nadal Academy just opened in Kuwait City, and the launch saw him play against Spanish player and former world number 3 and David Ferrera, for 1,500 spectators.
Nestled within the Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex, the Academy is Nadal’s first outside of his native Mallorca, and features a massive complex that includes eight indoor courts, eight outdoor courts, a 1,500-capacity open-air stadium, and a multi-purpose 5,000-seat indoor arena.
There are also impressive gym facilities, a spa, and a medical centre at the venue. The Academy’s infrastructure was developed in partnership with Kuwaiti real estate development company Tamdeen Group.
“We were looking for a place here in the Middle East to open an academy. Honestly, we believe we can help the region to grow, in terms of promoting tennis, promoting sport and I think we can help the young talents to develop their potential,” Nadal told The National during his academy’s inauguration.
The head coach of the Academy will be former top-100 Portuguese player Nuno Marques, as well as other coaches from his Mallorca academy.
Tennis, specifically, has been a rising sport in the region for a while, with a few Arab players, including most recently Tunisian Ons Jabeur and Malek Jaziri, making it to the top-50.
“What we want to achieve is to try to help the kids to grow with the right education, with the right values,” Nadal continues, emphasising the importance of building the proper infrastructure to supporting the wealth of talent in the region.
He adds: “The more people are playing here, the more chances to have a Middle East champion.”
Photos courtesy of Coco Dubreui for Rafa Nadal Academy.