South Korean automotive manufacturer KIA Motors Corporation, the major partner of the Australian Open, announced a five-year partnership renewal with Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal.
It was announced via a global livestream training session hosted by Rafael Nadal on his official Facebook page. The livestream gave fans the opportunity to help get Nadal back to match fitness, as he prepares for his return to the court.
The renewal signing will extend the Nadal-KIA partnership beyond the 20-year mark, as then-young tennis phenom was first sponsored by Kia Spain back in 2004 before becoming Kia’s Global Brand Ambassador two years later at only 19 years of age.
The live stream was aired from the Rafael Nadal Academy in his hometown of Mallorca in Spain. The broadcast is aimed to #GetRafaMoving with fans participating to vote in real-time.
Fans had complete control and customized the training session based on what they wanted to see most from Nadal through a series of emojis.
Throughout the unique training, Nadal performed a wide range of drills including knocking down targets from the baseline an returning over balls with some splendid trick shots.
At the end of the fan-led training session, Nadal mentioned,
“Fans have been without tennis for months now, particularly mine since besides my practice routines at the Rafa Nadal academy I haven’t been active, so I really enjoyed putting on a special event for them.”
17 years of RAFA-KIA partnership
“Kia has been by my side since I was 17 years old and has played a big part in my journey as a professional tennis player and as a person. I’m excited to see what the next five years bring both on and off the court,” he added.
Kia Motors President & CEO, Ho Sung Song, also spoke about the renewal of their long partnership with Nadal.
“Our 16-year partnership with Rafa has inspired millions of people to play tennis, so at a time when he needs his fans the most, we wanted to put them at the heart of his training and encourage his successful return to competition. We are excited about extending our partnership for the next five years and look forward to inspiring each other to continually move forward.”
The live stream was hosted on Nadal’s official Facebook page on Friday 24th July.
Nadal should be back on the court for the next clay-season, which will start in late September, after the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, both scheduled in New York. Rafa should play at the Mutua Madrid ATP Masters 1000 and at the French Open while he could skip the US Open.