Rafael Nadal ‘heartbroken’ over Catalan independence referendum clashes

Rafael Nadal is gutted after a referendum on independence for Catalonia led to unsavoury scenes throughout the region on Sunday.

tennis Updated: Oct 03, 2017 10:45 IST
Rafael Nadal,Barcelona,Spain
Rafael Nadal of Spain speaks during a news conference of the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)(AP)

Rafael Nadal has revealed his deep angst over the events that unfolded surrounding the Catalan independence referendum in his home country.

The Spaniard, in Beijing ahead of the China Open, was evidently emotional when speaking about the scenes that played out on Sunday.

A demonstrator holds up a ball during a protest against Spanish National Police officers outside their headquarters in Barcelona on October 2, 2017. (REUTERS)

Clashes involving riot police and protesters took place as the region went to the polls in a vote which Spain’s national government has declared to be unconstitutional and illegal.

Demonstrators are stopped by Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra officers while Spanish National Police officers (unseen) leave their headquarters in vans in Barcelona on October 2, 2017. (REUTERS)

World number one Rafael Nadal, who described himself as “heartbroken”, said: “I personally feel like crying when I see that in a country where we have known how to live together and to be a good example around the world we come to the situation that arrived (on Sunday).

“I think the image which we have transmitted is negative.

“It is not the moment to look for guilty, although there are.”

On his hopes for a resolution to the trouble, the 16-time grand slam champion added: “The only way is to speak, talk between the parties in conflict, try to reach agreements.”

The situation has had an impact on the sporting domain, with Barcelona’s LaLiga match against Las Palmas on Sunday played behind closed doors.

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 10:44 IST