Ciudad de la Raqueta was the venue for the latest forum organised by the Emilio Sánchez Vicario Foundation. World number one tennis player, RAFAEL NADAL, and Atlético Madrid’s football player SERGIO “KUN” AGÜERO, analysed and commented on various aspects related to their careers, society, and the Olympic Games. ALBERTO RUIZ GALLARDÓN, the mayor of Madrid, hosted the event.
Over 200 people, including several personalities such as Mercedes Coghen, Director General for Sports; Manuel Cobo, Deputy Mayor of Madrid; Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee; and Enrique Cerezo, President of Atlético Madrid, attended this edition of the forum which began with a speech by the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, who highlighted the good example shown by Rafa Nadal and Kun Agüero in difficult times such as these. “The unemployment rate among under 25s has reached 45%. When they look at you, in a way you are a point of hope” he said before Rafa went on to give one of his most applauded speeches in the discussion. “People like us have worked hard but we have also been lucky. The current situation is very serious; it touches all of us because we all know someone who is affected. But the most important thing is to believe in yourself, to continue to believe that things will get better, to think of the day to day. I also have had doubts, and have gone through bad times. The doubts will always be there, you just live with them. You have to try to do something better each day and to not think too much beyond that.” Kun Agüero stressed the importance of support from the family during difficult periods, and said it was a key factor in helping to get through the tougher moments.
Rafa and Kun, who excelled at an early age in their disciplines, both explained that they try to live their daily lives in a responsible and professional way. “We have to know how to appreciate everything we have and to know how to enjoy it. Sometimes I worry too much, but when I get over an obstacle, I’m thankful for what life has given me”, said the Majorcan. "Within the next ten years, I hope to be able to teach my son how to play football, and to continue playing. Because the most important thing is to be physically fit.
Rafa and Kun joked about what made them decide on their respective disciplines. “As a football player you have to know how to work in a team. I always remember a quote from Cesar Luis Menotti, who said that anybody who wanted to play alone should play tennis” he said, raising a few laughs from the audience, as well as from Emilio Sánchez Vicario and Rafa Nadal. “I used to play football… but it was my poor football skills that made me decide to focus on tennis”, Rafa said, laughing.
The Olympic Games and Madrid
Rafa Nadal’s memories of the Olympic Games he participated in led to him being asked by the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, if it would be a good idea for Madrid to make another bid to host them. “Hosting the Games is a moral boost for the whole country” said Rafa. “Organising the Games shows the world that you are prepared. Madrid did well with its two previous bids but perhaps it just wasn´t the right time. But the Games will come back to Europe and I hope that then it will be Madrid’s turn. I wish you the best of luck” added Rafa before Ruiz-Gallardón confirmed that “it is something we will decide in July or August this year, once we see who will be hosting the next Winter Olympics.”
The world number one player also had some words of reflection for the international Olympic Movement, and especially for its Committee. “The minority sports are the ones that foster the Olympic spirit and, considering the amount of money they generate, I think athletes in these disciplines should receive greater reward. It is something that urgently needs to be changed”, the tennis player added. “For them, the Games are their main competition; it is not like us, who have the chance to compete every week. There’s a lot of pressure in their particular situation.”
Rafa Nadal was the main focus of attention for questions from the audience and the media. Rafael Nadal, who competes this week in the Madrid Tennis Open in the Caja Mágica, recalled some of the advice he had received throughout his career, both from his family and from the tennis environment. When Kun Agüero was asked about what having Diego Armando Maradona as a father in law meant for his career and sports development, he showed normality and familiarity in the way he deals with the situation. “When I see him, I just ask him how he’s doing," he said simply, drawing spontaneous applause from the audience.
At the end of the event, Rafael Nadal, Sergio Kun Agüero and Alberto Ruiz Gallardón each received the commemorative sculpture, a work by Lorenzo Quinn, which is presented to the speakers at each forum.
Among the audience at this edition of the ES Forums were familiar faces who would not miss the opportunity to attend this conference, including singer Miguel Bosé, Cayetano Martínez de Irujo, and Eugenia Martínez de Irujo.