Rafael Nadal was among the pallbearers at the funeral of the late Juan Antonio Samaranch earlier today in Barcelona.
The 89-year-old Samaranch who was best known as the former president of the International Olympic Committee died of heart failure on Wednesday.
Said Nadal in a statement on his website, “It’s a very sad day for Sports because Juan Antonio was Sports; he was one of the most important figures in Spanish sport as well as worldwide.
“He was always very special to all athletes, and I can say this because personally, he was always very close and nice to me. He was a kind person who always showed me a lot of sympathy and support. It is a great loss and we will miss him.”
The ATP reported that Samaranch watched Nadal’s win in Monte Carlo from his hospital bed on Sunday.
“He watched Nadal’s match – he loved tennis – and after the game he wasn’t feeling great so we decided to come (to the hospital) around 6 or 7 at night,” his son, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., told the Associated Press. “Then he collapsed. They stabilised him but he never came out. And that was the last time he was conscious.”
Former tennis stars Manolo Santana and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario were also in attendance along with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
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