There is a terrific article by Danielle Rossingh and Alex Duff in yesterday’s Bloomberg.com entitled: “Federer Fails to Deter Nadal in Fight to be Richest Tennis Star.” It’s about the two players’ earning powers and Nadal’s ever-increasing marketability. It’s chock full of fascinating details about the Nadal family’s business and personal dealings. (Click here to read the whole thing – you won’t be disappointed!)
Here are just some of the interesting factoids I gleaned from the article:
In 2005, Nadal won a $50K Mercedes after taking the title in Stuttgart. And Uncle Toni promptly asked Rafa’s sponsor, Kia, to give his son a $20,000 Sorento, putting the luxury car in a garage to gather dust. Uncle Toni: “I said I wouldn’t like him to have a luxury car. I never wanted him to be incorrect or have a showoff attitude.” Last year, Uncle Toni approved Nadal’s upgrade to a $270,000 Aston Martin DBS – the same model from last year’s Bond film.
In 2008, Roger Federer made about $35 million from endorsements and tournaments. Nadal made somewhere between $15 – 20 million. But Rafa is making inroads – signing up with three new corporate sponsors after winning the Olympics last year.
The gap is narrowing, but some experts say Roger is still the more attractive player: “Federer has a set of values that makes him very appealing to sponsors; he is very approachable. Nadal has a more mysterious quality. He needs to be less mysterious, more outgoing.” (Note – do you agree with this analysis? I think Rafa is very approachable.)
Rafael Nadal is also considered by marketers to be a “safe rebel,” possess a “sexy virility,” and appeal to everyone from “5- year-old kids, mothers, grandmothers (and) fathers (who) see him as a very good role model for their children.”
Here’s Rafa on his reluctance to take on more time-consuming sponsors: “I am a tennis player. For me, it’s very, very important, the sponsors, sure. But at the same time, I want to have time enough time to practice and to continue to improve my tennis.”
Rafael Nadal’s father, Sebastian, manages his son’s money for him and has set him up with a pension that will pay Rafa “$180,000 euros every Jan. 1 from the ages of 30 to 63.” That’s just under a quarter of a million dollars. The article includes more detailed information on the family’s business ventures and Rafa’s own investments (click here to read.)
Uncle Toni isn’t paid a salary to coach his nephew. He takes a percentage from the family-owned window company, which netted 2.5 million Euros last year ($3,350,000 U.S.)
Uncle Toni’s live-and-learn coaching style, illustrated:
“At times, the coach has let Nadal make mistakes to teach him a lesson. Eric Babolat, chief executive officer of racket company Babolat, says in 2004 he overheard Rafael’s agent Costa alert Toni that Rafael was about to eat three chocolate croissants before a preliminary match at the Paris Masters. Costa was concerned the calorie-rich pastries would make Nadal sluggish on the court.
“Toni told Carlos to let him, that he will learn that he will lose the match,” Babolat says. “Rafa did lose that match. That says a lot about Toni’s coaching style.”
I just like imagining Nadal eating three chocolate croissants in one sitting – that’s an awesome accomplishment and something I aspire to do someday – as soon as I develop Rafa-like abs! Rafa needs a croissant sponsorship, for sure.
Read the whole article if you have time (click here) for more great factoids and anecdotes.