Rafa Nadal leads revolt against tennis federation

Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal has lashed out against the president of the nation's tennis federation, calling his leadership "chaotic" in an open letter.

Rafa Nadal leads revolt against tennis federation
Nadal after winning the ATP Mercedes Cup title in Stuttgart, Germany, June 14th. Photo: Thomas Kienzle / AFP

The publication of the letter late on Sunday comes just days after the Spanish government's disciplinary committee for sports (TAD) suspended tennis federation (RFET) president Jose Luis Escanuela for one month for failing to collaborate in a probe into the organisation's finances.

The letter blasted “the lack of transparency” in the distribution of the federation's revenues in the seven-point statement which was penned in London on the even of the start of Wimbledon on Monday.

Nadal was joined by David Ferrer and 42 other current and former players and technical staff put their name on the letter which asks the “competent authorities” take swift action to remedy the situation.

They also hit out at “the chaotic and belligerent leadership of Escanuela, which has led to his suspension, putting his personal interests ahead of the sport and deteriorating the image of tennis with his actions.”

Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez and Nicolas Almargo were among the other top players who signed the letter.

Escanuela has refused to give Spain's sports council (CSD) access to financial documents giving the details of the expenses which have been charged to the Spanish Tennis Federation over the last few years.

He and the sports council have also clashed over the federation's appointment in September of Gala Leon as Spain's first female Davis Cup captain, a decision that drew sharp criticism from the nation's top players like Nadal and Lopez.

Leon, who had a career-high ranking of 27 as a player, was a surprise choice to replace Carlos Moya, who stood down after the five-times Davis Cup winners were relegated from the World Group following defeat against Brazil in a playoff.

Toni Nadal, uncle and coach to 14-times grand slam champion Rafa, said at the time that it was “preferable that (the Davis Cup captain) is someone with a background in the world of men's tennis”.

Leon presented her resignation last week, but it was not accepted by the tennis federation, Spanish media reported.

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IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal


Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.


Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.

Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods