Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the world’s No. 1 tennis player from Majorca, took a stand Tuesday against holding a referendum on self-determination on 1 October in Catalonia, a poll wanted by the independence movement but banned by the Spanish institutions
“I believe (this vote) on October 1st should not happen because, in my opinion, everyone must respect the laws,” Majorcan said in an interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo.
“The laws are what they are and we can not ignore them just because we want to ignore them. I can not burn a red light because this red light would not seem right, “he said.
Born in Manacor, on the island of Majorca in the Balearic Islands, Nadal is a member of the Real Club of Tenis Barcelona (RCTB), a club that organizes the ATP 500 tournament every year in Barcelona. The world No. 1, winner of the 16th Grand Slam tournament Sunday at the US Open, won the Barcelona event ten times, whose central court was renamed to his name.
“I feel very close to the Catalans, but I feel very Spanish too. I can not imagine a Spain without Catalonia. I would not like to see that, “Nadal said.
“I think we should all be able to get along, there’s no question about that. I think we have to make an effort to find common ground because we are stronger united than divided. Spain is better with Catalonia, and Catalonia is better with Spain, “he concluded.
These statements came a day after a large gathering in the streets of Barcelona on the occasion of the “Diada”, the feast of Catalonia. Several hundred thousand Catalans have demonstrated to claim the independence of their region and promise to participate in the referendum announced on 1 October.