Nadal to Nike: Sorry, I Just Love My Sleeveless Tees and Man Capris Too Much

If you watched Rafael Nadal’s opening round match yesterday against German qualifier Bjorn Phau, then you likely noticed nothing different. Nadal rocked his signature outfit: a sleeveless t-shirt with skin-tight man-Capri pants, rife with plenty of wedgie-picking. But all that nearly changed in the days leading up to the U.S. Open, from Wall Street Journal: ↵
↵⇥Hours before his first U.S. Open match Monday, Rafael Nadal decided that his game was more important than his wardrobe, telling his advisers and corporate sponsor Nike Inc. that he wasn't ready for an image makeover after all. ↵⇥

↵⇥Over three days the exuberant Spanish star known as Rafa had practiced in a new wardrobe that included such radical adjustments as shirts with short sleeves and pants that stopped above the knee instead of a few inches below. ↵⇥

↵
↵Clearly, Rafa made the right choice here and not simply because he’s on a winning streak with his current style. Nadal is a perfect caricature of what a typical American would think a European athlete would be: The clothes, the headband, the long hair, the thick accent, the perfect balance between feminine and masculine, graceful and powerful. You know, the anti-Roddick. Rafa can’t just up and change his signature Euro-fashions like that. It’s all too perfect and hilarious.
↵
↵Oh, and speaking of hilarious, there was also this line in passing from the WSJ article: "In a field in which some male athletes wear women's underwear or forego shaving to preserve a winning streak, it isn't so surprising that Mr. Nadal decided not to make the change overnight ..." That couldn't possibly be referring to Rafa, right? 'Cause that would take our Euro stereotyping to heights that we may not be able to comprehend.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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