Roland Garros has unveiled a new Rafael Nadal statue. The statue built by Spanish sculptor Jordi Díez Fernandez is made of steel and stands at around 10 feet tall. The statue shows Nadal hitting his signature forehand with his feet off the ground.
Nadal is the best clay-court player ever to play the game. His clay-court record is unlikely to be matched for decades, if ever. Nadal is truly deserving of the honor.
But the statue seems premature. Should an active player be honored with a statue at a tournament he is playing? It feels like Roland Garros could have waited until Nadal retired to install the statue.
What message does it send to players who have to walk by the statue before playing Rafael Nadal at the French Open? That they are about to face the man who is immortalized in a steel statue.