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Rafael Nadal’s Retirement Plan Includes Becoming Pro Poker Player; Spaniard To Unveil New Serve at US Open

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By Lou Imperial | July 22, 2014 4:43 AM EST

Rafael Nadal's retirement may still be years away, but the top-rated Spaniard already found a new realm to conquer once he decided to throw away his racket for good.

Nadal, who already collected 14 Grand Slam championships and broke a handful of records, will likely try to become a professional poker player after his tennis career is over.

REUTERS
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return during his men's singles tennis match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 1, 2014.

The Spaniard's bluffing skills was showcased in a video presented by PokerStars.net, in which he was seen enjoying a game of poker with other players in his home in Mallorca.

"My history with this game is simple. Those Sunday afternoons where it rains and not much to do, I played a little game with my friends or my family," said Nadal in an exclusive interview on the Poker site.

This was not the first time Nadal showed his fondness with poker. Last year, Nadal also did a marketing video with other stars such as Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo also for PokerStars.

Nadal and poker seem inseparable as much he's with tennis right now. Still, many would think that the future Hall of Famer will have a pretty good career as pro poker player based on his recent exploits on the table.

Tweaking His Serve

The US Open Championship, the last Grand Slam in the tennis calendar, is just around the corner, as tennis stars gather once again to compete in the iconic Flushing Meadows starting this August.

Like he has been doing every year, Nadal is expected to modify his service mechanics to give him more power and precision needed for the hard-court joust.

Back in 2010, he drew some attention - especially from tennis experts - after he decided to tweak his services just days before the US Open championship.

Many pundits believed Nadal was putting himself in a tight spot with his untimely decision to change his service mechanics. However, two weeks later, he silenced all the critics by winning his first US Open crown and completing a career Grand Slam that year.

Of course, Nadal has already doubled his US Open tally with another masterful showing against Novak Djokovic last year, capping his epic return from seven-month absence due to a troublesome left knee.

Heading into a new challenge, Nadal posted a picture on his Twitter page, in which he was seen sporting a new serve for the hard-court season.
It has been an up-and-down season for the 14-time Grand Slam winner. Still, no one would dismiss that Nadal is going to be among the favorites to claim the US Open gem. And his chance has been enhanced once more with another servicing experiment.


(PokerStars/ Youtube)

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(Photo: REUTERS / Max Rossi)
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return during his men's singles tennis match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 1, 2014.
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