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Tennis Champion Rafael Nadal Joins Team PokerStars

Rafael Nadal; New Team PokerStars Pro

The world's leading online poker room has joined forces with one of the most famous athletes on the planet.

On Wednesday, PokerStars confirmed that Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal is the newest member of Team PokerStars SportStars. Nadal will...

Nadal joins fellow tennis legend Boris Becker, field hockey player Fatima Moreira de Melo and cross-country skier Marcus Hellner on the SportStars team.

The 26-year-old is the former World No. 1 and is currently ranked No. 2 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings behind Novak Djokovic. Nadal is fresh off a victory at the French Open in Paris, his 11th career major title and seventh championship at the French Open in eight years. The victory pushed Nadal over $50 million in career earnings on the court. He's added millions to his net worth by endorsing companies like Nike, Kia, Armani and Lanvin.

Now, enter PokerStars.

As a member (friend or SportStar?) of Team PokerStars, Nadal ...

The signing of Nadal comes two weeks after the opening of Spain's new regulated online poker market. PokerStars.es launched on June 5 and is already ranked eighth worldwide in online poker traffic, according to PokerScout.com. The online tracking site reported Monday that PokerStars.es hold a nearly 3-to-1 advantage over its nearest competitor, 888poker.es, two weeks after the launch of the new space.

With a universal celebrity like Nadal at the front of its marketing campaign, PokerStars could scoop a significant share of the early marketplace in Spain and enhance its brand awareness around the globe.

PokerStars has a history of dealing with professional athletes. In 2007, the company signed tennis legend Boris Becker to its Team SportStars. Field hockey player Fatima Moreira de Melo and cross-country skier Marcus Hellner also represent PokerStars as part of that team.

Nadal joins Spaniards Ana Marquez, Juan Manuel Pastor and Poli Rincon (Friend) on Team PokerStars.

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