Rafael Nadal opens up on coronavirus chat with Bill Gates during Roger Federer exhibition
Rafael Nadal has spoken out about the chat he had with philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, where he first learned about the coronavirus.
In February, Nadal flew to South Africa for an exhibition match with Gates, Roger Federer and Trevor Noah in Cape Town.
At that point, the World Health Organisation had yet to declare the coronavirus as a pandemic despite the rising number of positive cases.
But Gates had already pledged to donate $100 million to fight the outbreak, which he had long feared the world was not prepared for.
And last month, Nadal’s uncle Toni revealed he has gained an early sense of what was ultimately to come when the 19-time Grand Slam champion returned home from Africa.
He said: “My nephew when he was playing in South Africa in February spoke to Bill Gates and told him that what was happening in China was going to get complicated.
“Until there is a drug or a vaccine, I see the picture is quite complicated.
“We will live in a situation of uncertainty and danger until this is well managed.”
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There have now been over 264,000 deaths worldwide from the disease with the number of cases remaining extremely high.
Nadal has been in lockdown for several weeks with the tennis season suspended and a state of emergency issued in Spain.
And the Spaniard is currently trying to raise €11million for the Red Cross to help those affected.
Speaking in an interview with publication La Voz Ge Galicia, Nadal was asked about the conversation he had with Gates and expressed his sadness at the situation.
“It was a private conversation that unfortunately later my uncle published,” he said.
“But it was a private conversation I had with this man and I don’t feel like talking about it either.
“He has an understanding of how the world works and I took it very seriously. We talked and at one point he said, Well, I don’t know if we’ll be traveling in three months or not.
“It was the only thing he told me. I kept thinking that I would be exaggerating, but the reality is that unfortunately, I was not exaggerating. Here we are. And the situation was and is complicated.”
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