TENNIS STAR Rafael Nadal was given the Community of Madrid’s highest honour, the Grand Cross of the Order of Dos de Mayo, on Thursday.
The sportsman, 34, shared a heartfelt speech after receiving the accolade at the Real Casa de Correos, as he payed respect to the victims of the pandemic.
As he held his award, he said: “First of all, I would like to remember the victims of this terrible pandemic, which we are going through, and all their families. I think it affects us all in one way or another, but above all those that have lost loved ones.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion went on to thank frontline workers who risked their lives to support Spain through the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “Thank you to all the health workers, particularly in Madrid, a community that was severely affected in the first wave.
“And also thank you to the forces and State security organisations.
I’m convinced that Spain will do what it has always been able to do; to come through tough and difficult circumstances. This time will be no exception.”
The Grand Cross of the Order of Dos de Mayo is awarded to people and institutions whose exemplary behaviour has stood out in their service to the citizenry.
Previous winners include King Felipe VI, Sophie Thonon and Jean-Luc Melenchon.