Nor rain, nor samba, nor the prospect of playing his first clay court event of the year could keep Rafael Nadal away from Carnival on Sunday. Alongside Brazilian great Gustavo Kuerten and David Ferrer, the No. 3 and defending champion at this week's Rio Open toured the Sambadrome as part of the Unidos da Viradouro samba school, and if the photos are any proof, he couldn't stop smiling.
“It was the first time we had the chance to enjoy the Rio Carnival and it has been an unforgettable experience," Nadal said. "There was unbelievable positive energy everyone. Everyone was singing and dancing, it was fantastic for me to have the chance to enjoy this unique experience."
“They are turning into Brazilians," Kuerten said. "For sure it’s something very different from everything they had seen before.”
“It was really beautiful,” said Ferrer. “I had never been to the Rio Carnaval, or any Carnaval in Brazil, and the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was so happy and dancing. Even with the rain, people really enjoyed their time here."
Here's some footage of Nadal trying to samba:
Said Ferrer: "I think I danced more today than I did in my entire life, I hope I can improve for next year. If I have the chance I would love to do it again."
Nadal and Ferrer are the top two seeds at the Rio Open. They play their first matches on Tuesday. Nadal opens against Thomaz Bellucci and Ferrer plays Daniel Gimeno-Traver.