Although Rafael Nadal could not take part in the US Open in New York and Summer Olympics in London owing to chronic knee problems, he got a receptionist’s job at the Vall D’Or Golf Country Club on Majorca Island.
This temporary post is part of the marketing agreement he recently signed with PokerStars.com, which runs the biggest online poker tournament in the world. This week, PokerStars marked the end of a 22-day series of online poker events, which had an enormous prize pool of over $55.5 million and a field of 126,000 players. Needless to say, US players are not allowed to take part in this event because of the unfriendly poker laws in the country.
Nadal, who intends to take part in the 2013 Grand Slam, got associated with PokerStars because he wanted to improve his poker. He is not a receptionist for the money, but to learn poker strategies such as bluffing. As part of his job with PokerStars, he wears a shirt with the name Tony printed on it and a pair of glasses to conceal his identity. As he assists golfers who approach him with queries, his actions are captured on a hidden video camera.
Although several celebrities have been part of such exercises before, Nadal’s temporary receptionist post works a lot in his favor. For instance, a golfer approached him with queries and said, “I need to … You’re not … you’re Rafa!?” and Nadal replied, “Of course not.”
On another occasion, he struggled to keep a straight face when two women golfers began insisting that he bears a striking resemblance to Nadal. He told them, “People have often said that. But, no, I’m not him.”
Another man refused to believe him and said, “You’re not Rafa? Well, you look a hell of a lot like him, eh?”
One particular couple, though convinced that he was not the internationally acclaimed tennis player, decided that they would take no chances and said, “Just in case, we are going to take a picture with you.”
One of the video shots shows Nadal without his glasses. One of his golf customers, who was still unsure about his identity, asked him, “Do you play tennis?” Maintaining a good poker face, Nadal said, “Sometimes.”
Several hours later, at the end of his shift, a PokerStars executive greets him and says, “Well done, Rafa. Now you know what bluffing means.” And Nadal replies, “Yes, now I know.”