MIAMI and MADRID, Spain, September 15 /PRNewswire/ --

Best Buddies International founder and chairman, Anthony Kennedy Shriver, is privileged to announce the gracious support of the organization's mission by Olympic Gold Medalist, and the world's number one-ranked tennis champion, Rafael Nadal of Spain. Nadal, who will join the Board of Directors of both Best Buddies International and Best Buddies Spain, in the capacity of an honorary member, enthusiastically embraces Best Buddies and its mission of one-to-one friendships for persons with intellectual disabilities. Nadal has further committed to serve as a Best Buddies Global Ambassador for Friendship, participating in the international communication of the organization's message of goodwill, inclusion and fellowship. Founded in 1989, Best Buddies operates in 41 countries that span six continents; and realizes through its one-to-one friendships, established with both community and student volunteers, enhanced social and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. In Europe, Nadal is equally keen to support the expansion of Best Buddies Spain in order to better serve Spanish citizens with intellectual disabilities.

Best Buddies positively impacts more than 400,000 individuals annually throughout the world. Nadal's belief in the contributions to social inclusion made possible via Best Buddies programs serves as a magnificent testament to the capacity of friendship to improve the independence and integration of persons with intellectual disabilities throughout society. Best Buddies indeed is honored to receive the valuable support of such a singularly accomplished athlete and world citizen, given that Nadal recently won Gold in tennis at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, and now ranks as the number one tennis professional in the world; having won 54 of his preceding 56 matches, including victories in the finals at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Nadal was recently honored with the Prince of Asturias Sports Award in Spain, which will be presented by HRH Crown Prince Felipe. American Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps was among the select group of other nominees for this prestigious European award, which has been previously bestowed upon German tennis icon Steffi Graf, American Tour de France phenomenon Lance Armstrong, as well as Formula One champions Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. Appreciating Nadal's impressive leadership in the world of sports and his own Foundation's inspiring humanitarian focus, Shriver welcomes with great anticipation Nadal's commitment to Best Buddies and its global mission of one-to-one friendship and employment for youth with intellectual disabilities. For more information, visit .

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Heather Schatz, of Best Buddies International, +1-305-374-2233, ext. 207, +1-305-420-5408,; Maria Maldonado, +34666839309,