While Rafael Nadal is accustomed to taking on only one opponent on the tennis court, his competition on the poker tables thus far has not focused on one-on-one battles. That will change on April 11 when the ‘King of Clay’ takes on poker’s top female live tournament money winner, Vanessa Selbst.
Nadal has passed every test on the felt to this date, the most recent being last month when he Zoomed his way to victory on PokerStars play-money fast-fold tables against any and all challengers during a one-hour session. That followed a similar contest on PokerStar.es in January for real-money low-stakes at which Nadal proved successful against his fellow Spaniards.
Just one month earlier, the 27-year-old tennis star won his first live poker tournament at a charity event in Prague. He managed to best a field that included Italian skier Alberto Tomba, Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, Brazilian football star Ronaldo, and PokerStars’ top Team Pro and ambassador, Daniel Negreanu.
Nadal’s latest challenge will be a heads-up match against Selbst at the Casino de Monte Carlo this Friday, tennishead.com reported. Their paths will cross as Nadal competes at an ATP tour stop in Monte Carlo while Selbst is scheduled to play the EPT in San Remo.
I have been playing poker online for almost two years and now I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing against Vanessa,” said the affable Nadal. “It’s no secret that I love the competition and that’s what I like about poker. It’s a game of skill that requires mental strength and the ability to out-think your opponents, and in that way there are similarities to tennis.”
Not too many players can out-think Selbst, who completed undergrad work at MIT and found the time to earn a law degree from Yale University in-between earning over $9 million in live tournament play. The Team PokerStars Pro is aiming to add to her career cashes at the EPT, but will also battle Nadal one-on-one in what promises to be a fun event.