At his academy’s graduation, Nadal reveals conversation about legacy with Federer

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2024

Spanish tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya delivered inspiring speeches Wednesday at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar graduation. The 92-time tour-level titlist Nadal shared with the 52 graduates a story about an impactful conversation he had with rival and friend Roger Federer.

Although Nadal and Federer are widely regarded as two of the greatest players to ever touch a tennis racquet, the 38-year-old Spaniard revealed that he and the Swiss agree that there is something more important that they want to be remembered by.

“A few months ago I had the chance to visit the Italian Dolomites in the company of my friend and rival Roger Federer. There in the mountains, we had a very interesting conversation about a word that I think is very important: legacy,” Nadal said in Spanish.

“Both Roger and I agree on something we believe is of the utmost importance. How would we like to be remembered in a few years? How do we want the future generations to think of us? We are both very sure of our answers. It’s great that our achievements, our titles and our records are recognised, but as the years go by it is probable that someone will arrive and do something better.

“What is important, then, is that which will always be remembered. Therefore, both Roger and I agree that we would like to be remembered as good people. We live in a society that highlights the what and the now above all else. But I would like to highlight the importance of the how. When you are at university or on a tennis court, say to yourself occasionally, ‘How would I like my classmates to remember me? And my teachers? My friends?’ I could tell you to try and be influencers in your surroundings, but I prefer the term leaders. The people around you should see you as someone who should be copied because of their values.”


Moya, former No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings, served as the academy’s guest speaker, following in the footsteps of WTA star Iga Swiatek, who delivered the keynote speech 12 months ago. Moya shared thoughtful advice about the importance of working hard when it matters most.

“Throughout my career, I managed to achieve very important goals. Goals that I couldn’t even imagine when I was a kid. Of course the easy thing is to watch players winning trophies but nobody sees what is behind there, all the work you have to do every day,” Moya said.

“Days where you don’t feel like going to practice, going to the gym, studying. If you push yourself through those moments, these are the moments that are paying off. These are the moments that if you do it, it’s going to take you to the next level and help you grow in whatever you want to do. So pay attention to those moments.”

Nadal and Moya are not the only former No. 1’s to speak in front of a graduating class this year. Federer delivered a memorable commencement speech at Dartmouth University on Sunday, discussing several key life lessons.


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