Tennis legend Rafael Nadal signs with PokerStars

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jun 21, 2012 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

With the online poker market in Spain now opened-up, and PokerStars with an online poker license in hand, the site has decided to ramp-up their marketing in the country by signing tennis superstar Rafael Nadal to represent the PokerStars brand. Nadal isn’t the first sports star signed by PokerStars as he will join the likes of Boris Becker, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Marcus Hellner. Here is a quick look at the foursome’s resumes from the PokerStars website:

* Rafael Nadal: Spanish Grand Slam Tennis Champion

* Boris Becker: German tennis legend

* Fatima Moreira De Melo: Dutch field hockey Olympic gold medalist

* Marcus Hellner: cross-country skiing Olympic gold medal winner from Sweden

Nadal has taken to poker in recent years, and as one of the most famous Spanish athletes, and one of the most famous athletes in the world, he will surely be a huge part of PokerStars marketing campaign in Spain along with the sites numerous poker superstars like Daniel Negreanu, Viktor Blom, Vanessa Rousso, Vanessa Selbst, Jonathan Duhamel, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Barry Greenstein, and Liv Boeree.

PokerStars also has an official Team Spain roster of sponsored players that includes Juan Manuel Pastor, Ana Marquez, and Poli Rincon.

Nadal has 11 Grand Slam titles on his resume, and completed the career Grand Slam by winning the US Open in 2010 becoming only the seventh player to win all four Grand Slam titles. Among his 11 Grand Slam titles are seven French Open wins (a tennis record) where he is considered one of the best clay court tennis players in the history of the game. Nadal has been part of four Davix Cup winning teams and won the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics.

“It’s no secret that I love to compete and try my very best in everything, whether that’s tennis, golf or video games,” Nadal said. “When I discovered the game of poker, I chose to join PokerStars because they understand what it takes to be the best and associate themselves with the qualities of champions. I’m very happy to be working with them.”

“Rafa Nadal represents all that is great about competition – the mix of talent, intellect, dedication and mental strength that you find in champions in every sport,” said Mark Scheinberg, PokerStars Chairman of the Board. “We are proud to have Rafa as an ambassador for the brand and excited at the opportunity to help him enjoy and improve his game.”

My guess is that Nadal will make his official PokerStars debut at the 2012 World Series of poker Main Event, where he is almost assuredly going to be one of the players ESPN’s coverage focuses on during the early stages of the tournament.

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