| By Michael Sarro
Photo credit: Michael Sarro

 

On Aug. 23, hundreds of fans were lined up outside Bar Basque in New York City to catch a glimpse of 2010 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. The Champions Drink Responsibly campaign was developed as an educational program to promote responsible drinking.

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.

“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 non-alcoholic drinks, Mocktails.

Nadal was in town to begin his title defense at the U.S. Open, but arrived a little earlier than usual this time to promote his new campaign and 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 he had time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Big Apple during his stay here for the U.S. Open, Rafa 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 crowd 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.”

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)