Perhaps a few years ago, modelling underpants may have made you the laughing stock of the celebrity world. Now, however, it's something of a class status. Rafael Nadal, consequently, has joined the daring sporting elite by agreeing to act as a brand ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger.
Footballing stars such as David Beckham and Freddie Ljuenberg have managed to boost their marketing profiles by signing deals with H&M and Calvin Klein, respectively, and Nadal has now joined that group.
The Spaniard has always been seen as one of tennis' most stylish stars and his new deal reflects that. Rumours suggest that the former world no.1 will pocket between $2-3 million for stripping to his briefs.
“I’ve always admired Tommy Hilfiger’s cool, all-American designs which are sophisticated and easy to wear, and I’m excited to be partnering with the brand,” Nadal said.
Obviosuly Nadal won't get away completely scotch-free from his new partnership. It is understood that the 28-year-old will have to appear in the company's advertisement campaign across Autumn 2015; this will see the 14-time Grand Slam champion pictured in his pants across various medias including: web, print and billboards.
Who would be a multimillionaire sportsman, eh?
This move represents Tommy Hilfiger's first major move into the tennis industry, and they could have hardly picked a more well-known star.
“Rafael Nadal has been a longtime personal friend and supporter of our brand, and I’m continuously inspired by his dedication and passion for his sport," said Hilfiger himself. “We believe the underwear business can be a huge business for us,”
As well as receiving a hefty lump sum for his new deal, Nadal will also wear a number of specially tailored suits by Hilfiger.
He said: “Whenever he wears a suit, he’ll wear our suit. All of our suits are now elevated. We have new fabrics and details and all sorts of innovation. The styles are for comfort and a man on the go."
The current world number three's new deal is bound to draw him closer to Roger Federer, who currently tops the tennis rich-list - apparently. The Swiss veteran has endorsements with the likes of Rolex and Nike and last year earned, astonishingly, over £30 million. Nadal, by contrast, received around £17.5 million.
KEEP 'YER PANTS ON
Despite this exciting off-court venture for Nadal, perhaps he'll be more interested in preserving his on-court status in 2015 after a lengthy period on the sidelines.
The Majorcan-born star had to deal with a wrist injury, which kept him out after Wimbledon, and then appendicitis, which ensured his non-participation at the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena last month.
Nadal remains just three Grand Slam titles short of equaling Roger Federer's world record haul of 17, and he'll hope to close the gap at the first Slam of next year at the Australian Open. The former world no.1 has never been able to dominate down under; he's won just once in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic will be the favourite, once again, as the current world no.1 has won the competition four times before.
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