Tennis star Rafael Nadal, the world No. 2, has opened his first academy outside Spain in the Mexican Caribbean region.
Nadal inaugurated the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre at a hotel in Isla Mujeres, located north of the Caribbean resort city of Cancun, on Monday.
The 32-year-old Nadal discussed the state of professional tennis, praising the move toward equal pay for male and female players.
"There is no sport in the world more equal than tennis. Equality has nothing to do with wanting things for free. It is about earning what you have worked for. That is why female tennis players are at such a high level, in terms of earnings, publicity and global success. The more women grow, the more tennis will grow," the 17-time Grand Slam winner said.
"We are going to do our share to help the children and young people of Mexico," Nadal, the finalist at the Australian Open last month, said.
The Spanish tennis star was accompanied by Palladium Hotel Group CEO Abel Matutes Prats, who he played tennis with during the ceremony and thanked for helping him develop his academy.
"What better place than Mexico, where we feel at home. We have been here for years and know the area. The opportunity presented itself to create the first Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre outside of Mallorca in this innovative resort," the Spanish tennis star said.
The facility in Costa Mujeres offers lessons for guests and local residents, and each tennis program is personalized and taught by the coaches of the Nadal Academy.
Nadal has spent the past few days in Cancun preparing for the Mexican Open in Acapulco, an ATP World Tour 500-series event in which he will be the top seed.
Before the inauguration of the center, Nadal held a press conference with Matutes in which he said that outstanding tennis players spotted in Cancun might receive coaching at the academy in Spain.
The Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, which opened partially in December 2018, has eight lighted clay courts, a paddle tennis court and other amenities, including a private area with a gym, cafeteria and store selling exclusive products.