So Rafael Nadal has decided not to adopt a new look at the U.S. Open after all -- and this after Nike went to the trouble of getting a story about the tennis champ's supposed makeover planted in The Wall Street Journal yesterday.
I find it mind-boggling that Nike's sponsorship-marketing department, whose entire raison d'être is working with athletes, didn't see this coming. Jocks are notoriously superstitious, and Nadal is about as superstitious as they get. Did the Nike folks never observe his meticulous on-court rituals -- the drinking out of the two carefully-positioned water bottles during each side change, the hopping, the toweling-off, the wedgie-picking -- and think, "Maybe this is not the kind of guy who's going to feel great about introducing a wild-card into his game right before the last major tournament of the year"? I was half-kidding yesterday when I say that a Nadal loss in the Open would be on Nike's head -- but only half.
Also: Why bother? Maybe I'm missing something here, but does Nike really stand to gain all that much by dressing all its top endorsers in identical polos and shorts? Doesn't it also make money from sales of muscle tees and clam-diggers, too?