“He Selected His Colors”: Babolat on Rafael Nadal’s Inputs in Designing Racquet Named After Him

Published 03/22/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 27: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning a set during his fourth round match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia on day eight of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)


The makers of a new series of tennis racquets named after superstar Spaniard Rafael Nadal have revealed the extent of his involvement in the design and color-scheme of the pieces.

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Antoine Ballon, the tennis marketing director at Babolat, a sports equipment manufacturing firm specializing in badminton and tennis gear, said the 20-time Grand Slam champion played a big part in the development of Aero Pro Rafa series of racquets that were made available for sale a few days back.

Babolat says it was a great opportunity to design a racquet after Rafael Nadal after his 20th Grand Slam title

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In an interview to welovetennis.fr said the makers approached Nadal’s agent with the project and he was “immediately hooked”.

He said there had been discussions earlier on launching a series of racquets in the Spaniard’s name, but they were waiting for the right opportunity to do so.

“With Rafa’s 20 Grand Slam titles, we had a real opportunity,” Ballon said.

Nadal clinched a record 13th French Open title last year, going on par with old enemy Roger Federer’s career tally of 20 Major championship trophies.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 04: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina on day ten of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 04, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Chaz Niell/Getty Images)

He said the colors used in the spanking new pieces were carefully chosen to ensure that they symbolize the traits that made Nadal a household name in the sport.

“Rafa has his own universe, symbolized by the spin and the power to dominate,” Ballon said, adding that more than anything else, it was the Spaniard’s “determination and personality” that found expression in the colors of the racquets.

(Quotes have been translated via Google Translate)

Babolat says it was Rafael Nadal who chose his favorite racquet after reworking several samples

Detailing Nadal’s involvement in the process, he said, “He selected ‘his’ colors and then made us work on several versions”, adding, “It was Rafa who himself chose his favorite racquet after reworking samples that lasted nearly four months.”

In a recent interview for Babolat, the champion said he has not had a feel of the racquet but has also been enjoying playing with it.

“I’m a little shy about this stuff but it’s great to have a racquet under your name,” the reigning French Open champion said, adding that it was a “great racquet”.

 

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Barring his unprecedented championship win at Roland-Garros, Nadal didn’t have much to show in terms of titles last year.

He reached the semifinals of the prestigious ATP Finals in London, hoping to end his trophy drought, but fell in the last-four stage to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev.

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The Spaniard was up two sets in his last-four clash against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas at this year’s Australian Open before an inexplicable mid-match slump sent him crashing out of the tournament.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

853 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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