Known as "The King of Clay", Rafael "Rafa" Nadal is no stranger to the courts at Roland Garros. Since first qualified for a Grand Slam tournament back in 2003, Rafa has won 5 of his 8 appearances at French Open. It was also his straight win at last year's championship that propelled him to the world's number #1 ranking again. To make a bold statement of his reign over clay, designers at Nike Tennis added a bright blue element to Nadal's signature Rafa Ace Jacquard Top, a bright contrast to the reddish hue tennis courts. Again, Nike Dri-FIT was chosen to be the fabric but with a slight variation. An engineered jacquard pattern increased both the apparel's resiliency and breathability. In line with Nadal's Spanish heritage, an updated Moorish graphic along with Nadal's Bull's Head logo were added along the back of the shirt. In his preference for longer shorts, Nike found an ideal solution in board shorts. Again, its Dri-FIT construction guarantee lightweight and fast drying during his time on the court.
Nadal's aggressive playing style meant Nike Tennis had to come up with the most durable footwear in its inventory, the Air Max Courtballistec 3.3. Its dual-density TPU upper, named DragOn 2X by Nike, acts as a protective shield, with added elements of support and flexibility as Nadal lunged at his shots. Yet, DragOn 2X's hexagon pattern maximized surface area for ventilation. An enmeshed inner sleeve further breathability and fit. Armed with Lunarlon midsole on forefoot, an encapsulated Max Air unit at the heel, the Nike Air Max Courtballistec 3.3 is by far one of the most versatile tennis sneakers out on the market now. See Rafael Nadal defends his French Open title starting on May 17th.