Rafa Nadal's Dream Day a big hit with PokerStars
Tennis star (and now Team PokerStars SportStar) Rafa Nadal is one of the world's most famous sportsmen. He's a colossus on the tennis court and famously smiley off it. He's the guy that your mother would want your sister to date and that you would be happy for her to do so, just so that you could get free tickets to every Grand Slam final. Rafa is a guy that you'd just want to hang out with, but that's never going to happen, right? Well, for six persistent poker players, just this weekend gone by, it did.
PokerStars ran a Dream Day competition for a weekend away in Mallorca hanging out with Rafa; eating food, joining a practice session and playing a little poker. The lucky six were Vicente Monzón (Spain), Emeric Decombe (France), Lorenza Bertone (Italy), Juan Carlos Suárez (Spain), Juan Ramón Jara López (Marca) and Joshua Jacobs (UK, Facebook photo winner). On the day Bertone won the sit-and-go to claim the Rafa-signed PokerStars chip set and was closely followed by Suárez and Monzón, who also picked up PokerStars goodies. And Rafa? He bubbled one off the prizes in fourth place. That must be a new feeling for the 11-time Grand Slam winner.
Top honours should probably go to Jacobs though, whose highlight of the day was, "playing tennis with Rafa because... I hit a really nice whipped cross-court forehand winner which got some cheers! I'm a huge tennis fan and play a lot, so to play with Rafa was pretty crazy," he said.
It's a claim to fame that any tennis lover could dine out on for the rest of their life. Unsurprisingly, it was the first thing that Jacobs told his friends when he got back to the UK (possibly keen to get rid of the nickname that we coined for him here).
"Rafa was pretty cool. He seemed like a genuine, nice guy and was very friendly. He was way taller than I expected, on TV he doesn't seem so tall! Seeing him hit shots up close and personal made you appreciate how hard he hits it and how quick his racquet head speed is. It made a really loud sound each time!" said Jacobs.
After the game everyone descended on local restaurant Sa Gruta Nova for some Mallorcan specialities including serrano de bellot (Spanish ham) and fried squid before moving onto suckling pig (wood stove cooked, of course). The almond cake dessert, another local speciality, was washed down a shot of hierbas (Mallorcan digestive liquer). On second thoughts, you can keep your hierbas.
The competition wasn't all just relaxation at the Marriott, cards and eating (more's the pity) but our Dream Day winners also got a ride on a speedboat and in a helicopter for a touch of the high life. Check the video if you don't believe us.
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Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.