Mike Gendel gives us a brief run down on Rafael Nadal and his future ventures into poker…
Rafael Nadal is a legend on the court. It goes without saying. Since his first Grand Slam in 2005 he’s been a racket wielding juggernaut, steamrolling through tournaments winning every major along the way to a total of over $70million. It also goes without saying that 2014 hasn’t exactly been a standout year for the world number three. He’s been blighted by injury missing out on the US Open, and crashed out of Wimbledon in the early rounds, but despite all four Grand Slam tournaments out of the way, Nadal still has chance to redeem himself… Although that will come on the poker table.
On November 6, Nadal will be striving for a different kind of Ace as he goes head-to-head with another man with unrivalled sporting pedigree – Ronaldo. Rafael Nadal takes on football legend Ronaldo in just a few weeks’ time in London in a heads-up poker battle, just the second in his career, and he’ll be hopeful of finishing his year on a high. That will be especially after the last few weeks. The 2014 French Open champion crumbled in the Shanghai Masters against fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez earlier in the month due to appendicitis, which will also keep him out of the ATP World Tour Finals in London just days after the tournament dubbed ‘The Duel’ with Ronaldo.
One thing is for sure, Nadal won’t be letting his recent injury woes affect his poker skills, with the Spaniard recently undergoing a series of training tasks. The PokerStars ambassador recently traded in his racket for a helicopter in a hilarious, and rather impressive, performance in bluffing.
Ronaldo will certainly be wary having already lost to Nadal just under a year ago in a charity match in Prague where the 14 time Grand Slam winner – in his first live tournament – pipped not only the Brazilian but hockey player Fatima Moreira de Melo and biggest live tournament poker winner of all time, Daniel Negreanu. Since then he’s gone on to face three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst in a heads-up match earlier in the year, only narrowly missing out against a woman who has over $10.5million in live earnings.
Nadal’s poker coach Alfonso Cardalda said of the event, “Playing against Vanessa was a very important part of Rafa’s poker journey. After winning in Prague, this was his next big step and he played very well against one of the best poker players in the world.” It will have been a good test for the 28-year-old going head-to-head with one of the world’s best, which of course he relishes, dispatching Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and David Ferrer this year. It’ll be an exciting encounter between Nadal and Ronaldo which is to be shown live on the PokerStars YouTube channel. Ronaldo will be determined to gain revenge on Nadal following last year and Nadal will no doubt want to finish is year on a high.
Post written by Michael Gendel of Dream Maker