Rafa Nadal suits up
Tennis legend Rafael Nadal has been upping his style game, thanks to his partnership with Tommy Hilfiger. He spoke to Esquire Middle East ahead of the launch of his new capsule collection for the brand.
How did this partnership come about?
I met Tommy in Monte Carlo around 2006 or 2007, and we had a great feeling, so we kept in touch. Last year I had the opportunity to be an ambassador for the company, and it has been an amazing move. I am really honoured and it feels great to have a big brand behind me, supporting me, and helping me choose the right clothes for every event.
How is your association different from the other brands you work with?
Every brand has its own story and every situation is completely different. The world of fashion is something I didn’t know a lot about. But I had the chance to do photoshoots and events with Tommy Hilfiger around the world and I am having a lot of fun. I have a great personal relationship with Tommy’s team, which makes everything much easier.
Is there more pressure for athletes to be more fashion conscious than before?
I don’t know. I just enjoying wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothes. The brand has the perfect outfit for all events and they are clothes that you feel comfortable with.
Back to tennis, how was last season?
2015 was a bad year. I finished as number five in the world, so that’s not good. But since then I’ve been playing much better and I feel motivated.
What is the key to coming back from injuries?
Well, I am happy with the way I am working. Injuries have been part of my career before, but not last year and not this year, so I feel healthy, I feel the will to keep going. Injuries stop your confidence and rhythm which is tough. But, to get back to your question, I have always been to come back in a very good way and have always given myself the possibility to work as much as I can.
Any favourite memories from playing in Dubai?
I haven’t been in a tournament there since 2007 or 2008 maybe. So it’s a long time ago, but 2006 is a great memory for me, I won the tournament [defeating Roger Federer in the final] after my big injury [a stress fracture in his left ankle].
How often do you visit Dubai?
I don’t often visit for fun because we have a tough schedule and I don’t get many holidays. The last time I was in the region was when I played in Abu Dhabi in January.
What motivates you at this stage of your career?
I have a great passion for playing tennis and every day I wake up in the morning and I work.