Prominent Latin American tennis players such as Argentina’s David Nalbandian and Carlos Berlocq, Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez, Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten and Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti, have taken on the role of part-time philanthropists by investing part of their earnings and time in charity work for their native countries. In addition to these Latin American players, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal also partakes in these efforts.
Nalbandian, who is currently ranked number seven in the world, and has earned $8.8 million in the course of his career, recently launched the David Nalbandian Foundation, a non-profit organization which strives for the social integration of people with disabilities through programs and projects geared towards health and sports.
“I have long supported causes in my native town, Unquillo, and always wanted to start a foundation of my own. Today I can say it’s a dream come true. I want to help special people, that most need it,” stated the Argentine during the launch of his foundation.
Meanwhile, Chile’s Gonzalez, who is ranked number 14 in the world and has earned $6.6 million throughout his career, supported for the second consecutive “Copa de Tenis por los Ninos del Hogar de Cristo,” (Tennis Cup for the Children of the Home of Christ) by playing an exhibition match against Argentina’s Agustin Calleri last December in the center court of the National Stadium.
Proceeds from ticket sales were earmarked for the construction of a Residential Home in Tocopilla, capital of the Chilean province of the same name, for children at social risk and those affected by the most recent earthquake. Gonzalez also makes a donation to the foundation each time he wins a tennis match.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to help others by doing what I like best. It’s a blessing to be able to entertain people and, at the same time, benefit the children of my country,” commented Gonzalez regarding the Cup.
On his part, Brazil’s Kuerten, formerly ranked No. 1 in the world and a three-time winner of the French Open who has earned $14.8 million during his career, has the Gustavo Kuerten Institute, which develops educational and sports-related projects for people with disabilities.
“The task we have undertaken at IGK seeks to offer real opportunities for the development and social integration to those in need. At the same time, we want to strengthen a culture of solidarity among the members of our society,” said Kuerten about his institute.
Nicolas Lapentti, ranked 74th in the world and with a total of $5.8 million earned to date, decided to create the Nicolas Lapentti Foundation (F.N.L.), with the goal of helping children with cancer and athletes with the potential to compete internationally.
Among the highlights of the events held by the F.N.L. is the Guayaquil Fashion Concert; the funds raised at this event go to a different foundation each year. Another event is the F.N.L. circuit, which allows children of different provinces to compete for scholarships to train abroad, and win a trip with Nicolas to one of his tournaments.
Likewise, Berlocq, who currently holds the 90th ranking in the world and has earned $712,000 in his career, holds tennis clinics and donates the money to the Chascomus Athletic Club, where he started playing, and to municipal schools in the area.
“I always do some fundraising, because as little as it may seem, for the municipal schools every little bit helps. I would like to give more, but for that you have to win, to be in the top 40 or 50 in the world. And maybe it can be done,” said Berlocq, who was born in the municipality of Chascomus, in the province of Buenos Aires.
On the other hand, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, ranked number two in the world by the ATP, has earned more than $17 million in his career and has started the Rafa Nadal Foundation. The purpose of this foundation is to provide social assistance and cooperation for the development and promotion of sports as an integration tool for the members of society who are most in need, with special attention to children.
“I feel privileged and fortunate to work in what I like to do. This situation has given me unique experiences, traveling throughout the world and seeing many people in need of help. I think this is the first step towards putting my desire to help into practice,” said Nadal during the inauguration of his foundation.
Nalbandian, Gonzalez, Kuerten, Lapentti, Berlocq, Nadal not only are tennis stars who have remember those in need, but have become pillars of their communities, examples of what can be called Personal Social Responsibility — role models to be followed.