Mission accomplished. On 27 March, Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol joined forces to launch the #NuestraMejorVictoria (Our Best Victory) campaign, which they hoped would encourage Spanish sport to donate money to the fight against COVID-19. In an initiative that formed part of the #CruzRojaResponde (Red Cross Responds) project, the goal was to raise €11m and help citizens who were in need during the pandemic.
Last Saturday, during an Instagram Live chat, Nadal and Gasol confirmed that the money raised exceeded €14m, far surpassing the goal they had set at the beginning of the initiative.
“Between us all, we have managed to do something important and beautiful,” said Nadal. “Not only the money raised, which exceeded €14m, but also the solidarity and teamwork shown during difficult times. What you and I did between us was light the flame and contribute our grain of sand. Thank you to all those who wanted to be part of this beautiful and important initiative”.
[TENNIS AT HOME]
As well as the whole of Spanish sport, the #NuestraMejorVictoria campaign enjoyed the support of other athletes — such as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic — who wanted to help during these complicated times.
“We value things when we can’t have them,” said Nadal. “From this crisis, what we should learn is not to get so annoyed or frustrated about things that are really relatively unimportant. Personally, I found it hard, we’ve been on pause for two and a half months. I was with my sister, my wife… For people who are still working at home on their computers I think it has been a little less difficult, because they killed at lot of time doing what they’re used to. In my case, it is different, moving from one place to another non-stop, travelling, and suddenly it was such a complete shutdown that I needed time to take it in.”
“I’m going through a process of recovery and rehabilitation, I didn’t have that hunger to play and compete,” said Gasol. “I was used to moving a lot, it gave me good times and bad.”
Finally, Nadal and Gasol enjoyed a moment of fun when they remembered how they met, many years ago now, before going on to forge a great friendship.
“It was at a Nike event in Barcelona where we were judges,” said Gasol. “They were doing tricks and juggling, you were just starting out, a 16 or 17-year-old young gun. I remember that you were a very young boy. You were very quiet, very shy.”
”At the time, I was a nobody and you were the star that appeared on television. I was the little one,” said Nadal.