On Aug. 23, hundreds of fans were lined up outside Bar Basque in New York City just to catch a glimpse of defending U.S. Open champ, Rafael Nadal. Nadal was on hand to promote his new campaign with Bacardi Limited, Champions Drink Responsibly, a campaign that conveys a message that everyone can be a champion to their friends and family by making responsible choices when it comes to consumption of alcohol.
Nadal was chosen to be the Global Social Responsibility Ambassador by Bacardi due to his “global popularity, the fact that he is a champion, and is really a genuine person and great role model” according to Bacardi Limited President Robert Furniss-Roe. “We couldn’t have chosen a better representative than Rafa."
Midtown Tennis Club was also on hand at the event, providing free t-shirts, hats and bags to the adorning mass of fans. Midtown raffled off free club memberships, free junior programs and signed memorabilia as well.
The Champions Drink Responsibly campaign was developed as an educational program tom promote responsible drinking.
“I am the first one ready to go out with friends," said Nadal. "When I go out with friends, everyone drinks alcohol, but I like to show people that you can have fun without drinking. I have fun all the time without drinking too much,” all the more reason why Nadal is the perfect ambassador for Bacardi’s new line of drinks, Mocktails which are non-alcoholic beverages.
Nadal is in town to begin hsi title defense at at the U.S. Open, but he arrived a little earlier than usual this time to promote his new campaign and also his new book, Rafa. When asked about why he wrote a book now, Rafa replied, “I felt it was the right time even if my career is not yet finished. I wanted to make myself more open to the people and give them a history of my life and how I arrived to where I am today. I also wanted to give my fans something to enjoy”.
When asked if Nadal had time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Big Apple during his stay here for the U.S. Open, he replied, “I am very familiar with New York City as I have been here many times. When I am not working on my promotions, it is business as usual, but I try to have fun and enjoy myself when I am here. I like to walk around, go out to dinner and I also enjoy the theatre. I want to go see Mamma Mia if I have the time.”
When asked about the raucous New York at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Nadal replied, “I always get excited about the U.S. Open because I love being in New York and I love the New York crowd. Playing here is like no other place. Usually in the tournaments I play, the crowds are more relaxed and calm, but here, especially at the evening matches, the crowd can get a little crazy. During changeovers, I enjoy hearing music and looking up at the big screen and seeing the kiss cam. It is a brief distraction for me and allows me to relax a little bit more. During the match, I love the energy of the crowd and appreciate the support.”
Despite all of his promotional responsibilities, tennis is what brought him to New York City. When asked about his thoughts on repeating as champion of the U.S. Open, Nadal responded, “I was definitely feeling more pressure last year as I had never won it before and wanted to complete the grand slam. This year I am feeling more relaxed and ready to go.”
After fielding questions from the media, Nadal signed some tennis balls and threw them down into the massive crowd, displaying the magnitude he carries as a global role model for people around the world.
Credit all photos to Michael Sarro
A crowd gathers to get a glimpse of 2010 U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal
Cameras capture the arrival of defending U.S. Open champ Rafael Nadal by taxi
Reps from Bacardi discuss the "Champions Drink Responsibly" campaign with Rafael Nadal (center)