You thought that Rafael Nadal's pensive, shirtless pose on the back cover of New York magazine last week was just one more coup by the mag's upscale media trendsetters? Think again! Nadal himself-or, more accurately, his corporate overseer Nike-is in the midst of remaking his entire image, shifting it from that of a wild young ball-slinger to something "more mature" (and better able to sell polo shirts). The first casualty: his capri pants. Sorry, ladies:
Now, as Mr. Nadal sets his sights on the U.S. Open, the hunky rebel known for his muscle shirts, capri-length pants and bandanna will morph into more of a traditionalist, starting with his on-court wardrobe.The shift appears part of a larger strategy by Mr. Nadal's tight-knit management team to transform the sublime baseliner from a teenage heartthrob into a grown-up star.
Supposedly Nadal himself has now grown up and spontaneously decided to update his image. But he's "worked closely" with Nike designers to build himself a new wardrobe composed of polo shirts (with mesh side panels!) in "chlorine blue, orange blaze, white and concord [purple]." All at the expense of boring old has-been Roger Federer. Your move, Anna Wintour. [WSJ]