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�C�mo Se Dice 'Real Deal'?
L. Jon Wertheim
May 23, 2005
In a sport famous for eating its young, Spanish phenom Rafael Nadal looks like he's here for good. The French Open may prove it
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May 23, 2005

�c�mo Se Dice 'real Deal'?

In a sport famous for eating its young, Spanish phenom Rafael Nadal looks like he's here for good. The French Open may prove it

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Then there's the matter of his sartorial stylings. The envelope-pushers at Nike have outfitted Nadal in shirts that look as if they were made of Day-Glo orange fabric left over from Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates, complemented by puffy Capri pants that have been likened to a Venetian gondolier's pantaloons. To some observers, anyway, the on-court attire seems destined to reside alongside Agassi's denim tennis shorts, circa 1987, in the tennis wing of the Fashion Faux Pas Museum. But Nadal insists, "I like the outfits I wear," a predictable sentiment given the emolument he receives for sporting them. And Nike representatives maintain that their decision to clad Nadal in something so unconventional is further evidence that he is a singular talent.

Here's perhaps the ultimate sign that Nadal is the Truth: His popularity has started to grate on his colleagues. "All you hear is Nadal, Nadal, Nadal," former world No. 1 Marat Safin, normally affable and easygoing, sniffed to reporters at the Barcelona tournament late last month. "It is wrong for somebody so young. [ Spain] has other great players ... but nobody talks about them. Only Nadal. Why is this?"

The strong suspicion here is that by the time Nadal vamos-es through the draw at Roland Garros and vamooses with the title, Safin will have his answer. ?

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