Agence France-Presse reported Saturday that Rafael Nadal has been recognized by the Astronomical Observatory of Mallorca by having an asteroid named in his honor.
The asteroid, formerly known only by its identification number 128036, is approximately four kilometers (2 ½ miles) in diameter and was discovered in 2003. A spokesman for the observatory called Nadal “one of the greatest tennis players of all time.”
While others, namely Federer and the Serbian players, have had stamps issued in honor of their achievements, the Spanish have done one better for their own.
After his victory at SW19 in arguably the greatest final of all time, Nadal, who has closed the gap between himself Federer, has a realistic chance of ending the year at No. 1 given that he has many fewer points to defend during the second half of the season than his Swiss counterpart.
He was slated to compete in Stuttgart, Germany but understandably withdrew on Monday after a physically and emotionally taxing two weeks in London in order to recharge his batteries. Tabloid magazines photographed him earlier in the week on a Mallorcan beach with his girlfriend, enjoying the sun and surf.
He will need the rejuvenation at his next scheduled tournament, the Rogers Cup at Toronto in a week’s time. The ATP Masters event will see all of the top players competing, including rivals Roger Federer and defending champion and current World No. 3, Novak Djokovic.