Louis Vuitton Revives Its Core Values Campaign with Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal is embracing legend-making journeys…

Louis Vuitton has revived its Core Values campaign with the 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player and his longtime tennis rival and friend Roger Federer.

Rafael Nadal & Roger FedererThe campaign, shot by iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz, features the former ATP World No. 1 players, a rare off-the-court pairing, ascending to the summit of Italy’s Dolomites mountain range. The imagery fits the campaign’s tagline: “There are Journeys that turn into Legends.”

The newly released campaign features Federer and Nadal 3,000 meters high, standing tall on the mountain peak. In the imagery, Federer sports a Monogram Christopher backpack while Nadal is pictured with the Monogram Eclipse version.

For the campaign, Nadal and Federer are not competitors but instead companions for one another on the journey up the mountain — a visual metaphor for their careers which have been “marked by deep mutual respect and friendship,” according to the luxury brand.

“I know how many important icons have been part of this campaign, so for me personally, being part of it is something that I am very proud of, especially sharing it with Roger,” Nadal said in a release.

“He has been my biggest rival and now a close friend today,” Nadal continued. Federer shared similar sentiments.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be working on this campaign with Rafa,” Federer said in a release. “How we could be such rivals and then at the end of our careers be beside each other doing this campaign has been very cool. And where we are here today, I think it also embodies everything: at the peak of the mountains. For us it is something meaningful and special.”

Federer officially retired from tennis in 2022. Meanwhile, Nadal recently said that his own retirement is likely close.

Louis Vuitton originally launched the Core Values campaign in 2007 and has featured a slew of stars including Angelina Jolie, Bono, Sean Connery, Steffi Graf, Keith Richards, Muhammad Ali, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Sally Ride, Buzz Aldrid and more.

The luxury fashion house aims for every Core Values campaign, and every Louis Vuitton design, to echo a trio of values: a journey beyond the physical, a commitment to excellence and a transmission of dreams.

The Core Values campaign will be released on Louis Vuitton’s social media channels and in print insertions on May 18.

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Pedro Cachin to Reach Round of 16 at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal’s optimism is on the rise…

After spending more than three hours on court and earning a hard-fought win, the 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis star is feeling optimistic.

Rafael NadalNadal’s body withstood its toughest test yet at the Madrid Open as he needed three sets to get past 91st-ranked Pedro Cachin on Monday.

Nadal didn’t show any signs of physical limitations as he won 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to make it to the round of 16 at the clay-court tournament where he is the record five-time champion.

“It’s positive, now I don’t feel that something went wrong on my body, but I need to wait until tomorrow, being 100% honest,” he said. “I am trying my best to keep dreaming. Tomorrow is another day to keep dreaming. To keep playing in front of this amazing crowd and, to me, that means everything.”

Nadal will next face 31st-ranked Jiri Lehecka.

He said he needs “to find a way to be able to play days in a row and still be competitive.”

“I don’t know if I am in that moment yet,” the 22-time Grand Slam champion said. “Let’s see what can happen tomorrow. But I going to try. I going to do the things the right way to try to be ready for tomorrow.”

Nadal is trying to get in shape for next month’s French Open. Since his latest injury layoff, he’s had two matches in Barcelona and was pessimistic about his physical condition after arriving in Madrid. But he’s won three more times in the capital.

Nadal again looked comfortable early on against Cachin. The Argentine fought back in the second set but was broken twice while serving for the set. Cachin eventually prevailed in the tiebreaker.

Nadal didn’t look as loose in the final set, but did look tired. He wasn’t as consistent with his shots but picked up three breaks to seal the victory to the delight of the local crowd in the Caja Magica.

“I took more risks in the third set, but it’s hard after so many months without competing,” Nadal said. “I hadn’t played a match like this in a long time. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. I don’t know how I’m going to wake up. But I’m already happy for having won three matches in a row.”

Cachin asked for Nadal’s shirt after congratulating him at the net, and received the gift moments later

Rafael Nadal Plans to Compete at This Year’s Laver Cup As Retirement Looms

Rafael Nadal is hoping to Laver the game on a special note…

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player is planning to play at the Laver Cup in Berlin this September in what may be one of the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s last tournaments.

Rafael NadalNadal has signaled 2024 may be his last year on tour and said last week that his second-round loss to Alex de Minaur at the Barcelona Open, which he has won 12 times, was “probably my last match here.”

“At this stage in my career I really want to go out there and make the most of every opportunity I am given,” Nadal said in a statement.

Nadal has long struggled with injuries and has played just five competitive matches this year, three in Brisbane in January and two in Barcelona last week.

The Laver Cup, to be held from September 20-22, is an indoor hard-court men’s competition pitting Team Europe against Team World in a format similar to that of golf’s Ryder Cup.

Nadal and Roger Federer teamed up in the doubles at the 2022 Laver Cup in London for the Swiss great’s last match before retirement.

“I am very happy to be playing Laver Cup in Berlin for Team Europe,” Nadal said. “I have some really special memories from my Laver Cup experiences, including all the emotions from London two years ago playing alongside Roger for the last time.”

Aitana Bonmatí Named Best Sportswoman at Laureus World Sports Awards

Aitana Bonmatí has earned a special recognition…

Winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards have been revealed, with the 26-year-old Spanish professional footballer – a midfielder for the Spanish national women’s soccer team and Liga F club Barcelona – named best sportswoman.

Aitana BonmatíBonmati and her Spanish teammates, who won Spain’s first-ever Women’s World Cup last year, were chosen as world team of the year for 2023.

Novak Djokovic received the sportsman of the year at the ceremony in Madrid, and American gymnast Simone Biles was given the comeback of the year award.

Real Madrid forward Jude Bellingham earned the breakthrough prize, and Rafael Nadal won the sport for good award thanks to his foundation.

The Spanish women’s World Cup breakthrough last August in New Zealand and Australia was tarnished in the following weeks because of an unwanted kiss of forward Jenni Hermoso by then-federation president Luis Rubiales after the final.

Laureus rewarded Spain as the first all-female team to win the team award.

Before the World Cup, Bonmatí also helped Barcelona win a second Women’s Champions League.

She’s the first female soccer player to win the Laureus, after also receiving the Ballon d’Or and FIFA best player award.

“I want to thank all my teammates and the staff of my club and national team who have helped me a lot, and because of them I am here today,” Bonmati said.

Djokovic won his record-equaling fifth Laureus sportsman award — tying Roger Federer — after titles at the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open to reach a record 24 Grand Slam singles triumphs. NFL great Tom Brady presented Djokovic the award.

Biles made a record-breaking return to competition last year when she won four gold medals at the world championships, including a record sixth all-around title.

Nadal’s foundation was rewarded for helping more than “1,000 vulnerable young people in Spain and India,” according to Laureus.

Teenager Arisa Trew won the action sportsperson award after becoming the first female skateboarder to land a 720 in competition.

Dutch wheelchair player Diede de Groot was selected as the sportsperson of the year with a disability after winning her third straight calendar tennis Grand Slam.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Rafael Nadal to Win Inaugural Netflix Slam

Carlos Alcaraz has earned another type of Slam victory.

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis phenom defeated 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal 3-6 6-4 (14-12) at the inaugural Netflix Slam in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Netflix SlamNadal, who spent almost a year on the sidelines with a hip flexor injury before suffering a muscle injury at the start of this season, said he felt “much better than expected” during the exhibition match in front of a sell-out crowd of 9,489, including Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron, Danai Gurira, Logan Lerman and Manu Rios.

The showdown, the latest in Netflix‘s push for live streaming events, pitted two superstar Spaniards in an exhibition match which was rescheduled from last year due to Nadal’s injuries and arrived just in time as the two players head to Indian Wells this week.

Nadal is returning to the tour after months away due to injury, while the match was also a bit of a physical test for Alcaraz, who suffered an injury to his right ankle at the Rio Open.

“It’s a good thing that as a player I will not face him many times,” said Nadal.

“As a fan, I will enjoy watching him for many years hopefully. In Spain, we should be very, very happy about having someone like Carlos coming.

“He’s an amazing player. He’s only 20-years-old and he’s already won two Grand Slams and a couple of important tournaments.”

Rafael Nadal’s 2007 French Open Tennis Racket Sells for $118K in Auction

One of Rafael Nadal‘s title-winning rackets is a hot item…

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player and former World No. 1’s racket from his 2007 French Open final victory over Roger Federer was sold for more than $118,000 at an auction Monday, ranking among the highest-priced memorabilia.

Rafael NadalNadal beat Federer 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the 2007 final at Roland Garros with the Babolat AeroPro Drive racket to win his third Grand Slam title before the Spaniard moved on to secure 19 more — 14 of them in Paris– to become one of the sport’s greatest players.

The racket, which Nadal also used in previous matches at the tournament, including his semifinal victory against Novak Djokovic, sold for $118,206 at an online auction, Prestige Memorabilia‘s The Tennis Auction, that closed on Monday.

Rafael Nadal 2007 French Open Racket

It was previously housed in the Australian Tennis Museum prior to its recent closure.

Previous highest individual tennis racket auction sales include Nadal’s 2022 Australian Open racket ($139,700), Billie Jean King‘s “Battle of the Sexes” racket ($125,000) and Djokovic’s 2016 French Open racket ($107,482).

Nadal missed the recent Australian Open this month after suffering a small muscle tear during his comeback from a long injury layoff at the Brisbane International earlier in January.

He, however, is set to return on the court in February during the ATP 250 tournament in Doha.

Rafael Nadal to Serve as Saudi Tennis Federation Ambassador

Rafael Nadal is hoping to inspire the next generation of tennis players in the Middle East.

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player will serve as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation, part of a recent effort by the kingdom to make inroads into tennis and other sports.

Rafael NadalNadalh as won 22 Grand Slam titles. He’s missing the Australian Open while recovering from a muscle tear near his surgically repaired hip. He had hoped to return to Grand Slam action at Melbourne Park after missing nearly all of 2023.

Nadal’s new role, announced Monday, includes promoting tennis in Saudi Arabia and plans for a Rafa Nadal Academy there.

It signals yet another step into tennis for the kingdom, which is hosting the men’s tour’s Next Gen ATP Finals for top 21-and-under players in Jeddah through 2027. The women’s tour has been in talks to place its season-ending WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia.

Human rights groups say women continue to face discrimination in most aspects of family life in the kingdom, and being gay is a major taboo, as it is in most of the rest of the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has worked to get himself out of international isolation since the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. He also clearly wants to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and reduce its reliance on oil.

Alex de Minaur to Face Alexander Zverev in United Cup Semifinals

Alex de Minaur is preparing for another battle at this year’s United Cup.

The 24-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player, who pulled off a major upset by beating ailing World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the mixed-gender tournament, will face Alexander Zverev in the semifinals as hosts Australia battle Germany.

Alex de Minaurde Minaur is looking to break Zverev’s dominance against him, with the Aussie holding a single win against the German Grand Slam finalist in their head-to-head record (6-1).

But de Minaur and the Aussies will enter the semis with supreme confidence, having beaten the defending champions, the United States, to win their group before knocking out Serbia in the quarterfinals, with de Minaur picking up his first win against Djokovic.

“I think he’s playing one of the best tennis of his life. Beating Novak in straight sets, that kind of always shows that you’re playing really well.” Zverev said of his upcoming opponent. “The last time we played was Rome 2022, so that’s a while back. Things have changed a little bit. I think he’s gotten a lot better, closing in on the Top 10 as well.

“Of course it’s better to have that kind of head-to-head record than the opposite, but I’m expecting a tough match. Especially here, I think he’s going to be very motivated and the whole team, Australia, is going to be very motivated — and the crowd definitely plays a factor in that. But I’m looking forward to another tough match.”

While both de Minaur and Zverev are in red-hot form, their singles counterparts have not matched their success so far at the United Cup. Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic brings a 1-2 singles record into the semis, while Germany’s Angelique Kerber is still seeking her first singles win of the event.

“Perth treated us pretty nicely,” de Minaur said. “We had a great time over there, we played some great tennis and obviously the goal was to make it to Sydney and I think we’re all very happy to be here.”

France will play Poland in the other semifinal match on Saturday.

The final is set for Sunday, at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

Rafael Nadal Advances to Quarterfinals at Brisbane International with Dominant Win

Rafael Nadal’s return to competitive tennis play continues…

When the 37-year-old Spanish tennis star faced three break points while serving for a commanding first set on Thursday, a voice in the crowd at the Brisbane International yelled out to Jason Kubler: “You’ve got him worried now!”

Rafael NadalIt was a fleeting concern for the 22-time Grand Slam winner in his second match back from a yearlong injury layoff.

Nadal won the next five points to seal the set, broke at love to open the second set and consolidated by holding his own serve easily to put him on course for a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kubler and a spot in the quarterfinals.

“Every day is an adventure,” Nadal said. “I take every day like an opportunity, and tomorrow is another one.”

Nadal is playing on a wild card after his ranking slipped into the 600s as he recovered from hip surgery, and he is desperate for match time ahead of the Australian Open this month.

Regaining the mental and muscle memory of navigating difficult game scenarios is on his must-do list this week.

“It’s important to survive these kind of moments because you practice the adversity,” Nadal said. “Something I need to practice again because [it’s] been a while, a long time, without being in that position.”

Nadal’s first competitive match since January last year was a win Tuesday against 2020 US Open champion and former No. 3-ranked Dominic Thiem. He was more convincing against Kubler, a hometown favorite who is ranked 63rd after a career interrupted by multiple operations on his knees.

“It means a lot to me,” Nadal said, “and two victories after a long time being outside of the professional tour is something that, yeah, makes me feel good and happy.”

Nadal had 20 winners, including some ripping forehands, and eight unforced errors. As well as his powerful groundstrokes and dominant serve, he hit volleys, half-volleys and overheads. He scrambled to chase drop shots and covered the baseline without any visible signs of the injury.

He lost only one point in his first three service games — a double-fault on the second point of the match. But he was also able to dig himself out of a hole when he needed it at 5-1.

The only blip for Nadal was a warning for a time violation for taking too long in a locker-room break between sets. He shrugged it off, saying it was so humid he needed to change his clothing and he thought he was on time. He promised he would work on changing faster.

Nadal said the hip was “not bothering me at all,” and he is not having any issues with his long-term foot problem.

He will play another Australian, Jordan Thompson, in the quarterfinals Friday. Thompson got a walkover when fourth-seeded Ugo Humbert withdrew from their second-round match because of illness.

Rafael Nadal to Return to Competitive Play at Next Month’s Brisbane International

Rafael Nadal will be holding court in January…

The 37-year-old Spanish tennis superstar will return to competitive play at Australia’s Brisbane International in January, the 22-time Grand Slam champion revealed Friday.

Rafael Nadal“After a year of not competing, it is time to come back,” Nadal said in a video posted on social media. “It will be in Brisbane in the first week of January. See you there.”

Nadal has not played on tour since last January, when he hurt his hip flexor during a loss in the second round of the Australian Open.

In May, a little more than a week before the start of the French Open, Nadal announced that he would miss the tournament he’s won a record 14 times and wasn’t exactly sure when he might return to play.

Nadal had said then that he hoped to compete in 2024, which he expected to be his final season.

“You never know how things will turn out,” Nadal said at a news conference at the time, “but my intention is that next year will be my last year.”

He wound up having arthroscopic surgery in June in Barcelona.

Dating to the end of 2022, the Spanish left-hander has lost seven of his past nine matches, including going 1/3 this season.

Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam singles titles rank second to Novak Djokovic‘s 24 for the most among men.