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Rafael Nadal Endorses Online Poker Site

Teams Up With Isle Of Man-Based Operator PokerStars

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Rafa NadalOne of the biggest sports stars on the planet has agreed to endorse an online poker site. On Thursday, PokerStars announced it had inked a deal with Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal. The official announcement comes about a month after rumors began circulating on social media that a sponsorship arrangement was in place.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“It’s no secret that I love to compete and try my very best in everything, whether that’s tennis, golf or video games,” Nadal said in a PokerStars press release. “When I discovered the game of poker, I chose to join PokerStars because they understand what it takes to be the best and associate themselves with the qualities of champions.”

In a promotional video, Nadal added that he hopes to become a “good player.”

The 26-year-old, fresh off a win at the French Open, is currently gearing up for a deep run at Wimbledon. The world’s second-ranked tennis player has won 11 Grand Slam titles in his career and earned more than $50 million in prize money.

PokerStars has a history of business relationships with professional tennis players. The site sponsors Boris Becker, winner of six Grand Slams before retiring in 1999. Active professional Gaël Monfils once had a deal with the company.

PokerStars recently launched a Spanish version of its product, after obtaining an operating license in the country earlier this summer.

PokerStars does business in many countries around the world, however the company was kicked out of the U.S. market after its owner, Isai Scheinberg, was indicted by the federal government in April 2011 for money laundering, bank fraud and illegal gambling crimes. There’s been no indication on whether or not the site could return, although its settlement with the government reportedly could involve purchasing the defunct Full Tilt Poker.

PokerStars was also once a primary backer of Nevada’s 2011 online poker legislation.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus