Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal on Monday said he has been saddened almost to the point of tears by recent events in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia.
The regional government there carried out a banned independence referendum on Sunday which saw riot police interventions that, according to regional authorities, left more than 700 people injured, reports Efe.
“It’s a shame we had to get to what was arrived at yesterday,” Nadal here said about scenes of violence seen in Barcelona on Sunday.
“Personally, I feel like crying,” he added. “When I see a country where we have known how to coexist and set a good example to follow around the world,” he added, leaving the final part of his sentence to drift, unfinished.
“The image that we have conveyed to the world is negative,” he added.
Nadal was speaking at a press conference in Beijing prior to his appearance in China Open.
Nadal has in the past made it clear that he does not favour Catalonia’s separatist cause.
Speaking after winning the 2017 US Open, Nadal spoke of his disappointment at separatist tensions in Catalonia.
“Spain without Catalonia is diminished, and Catalonia without Spain is also smaller,” he said. “I obviously feel very Spanish, but I also feel very close to the Catalans,” he added. “Without a doubt, united we are stronger.”
Nadal said that this is not the right time to begin finger-pointing or blaming people, although he did add that he thought there were persons who were responsible for what he described as “chaos that should not have been taken place in the century we live in.”
He said that some people had wanted to manipulate information so as to provoke society.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion said that “dialogue is the only way” to resolve the situation.