The Tennis Space: People of Influence:
Number 7: Rafael Nadal.
Sphere of influence: men’s tennis, swimsuit shoots.
It is too early, perhaps, to call it the end of the bromance, but Nadal and Roger Federer plainly have different views on how the players should make their case over changes to the calendar and taking a bigger cut from the slams. Nadal said during the Australian Open that Federer was letting others “burn”: “His position is easy: do not say anything, all positive, I am a gentleman.” Though only 25, Nadal is one of the grandees one of the sport: ten slams give you plenty of authority.
As Nadal’s English has improved, he has become ever more confident at giving his opinion, no?
No one should ever suggest that the Majorcan is outspoken, but he plainly knows his own mind, and his colleagues in the locker-room respect his clarity of thought, and integrity. Nadal is extremely influential when it comes to selling tennis to those would not know their continental from their semi-western grips. Just look at the photo-shoot he did with a supermodel for Sports Illustrated. Or the Armani adverts.
What’s next: In addition to trying to beat Novak Djokovic at the slams – he has lost to the Serbian in the last three finals – Nadal will be trying to make the case for a shorter, more lucrative season. Vote Rafa for less work and more pay.