Antoine Ballon, the marketing director at Babolat, recently spoke about Rafael Nadal's involvement in the creation of his signature racket - the "Pure Aero Rafa".
A few days ago, Nadal and the French racket equipment company completed 20 years of their association. And they marked the occasion by launching a special edition of the Spaniard's trademark Pure Aero line of rackets.
Antoine Ballon has now revealed that Rafael Nadal was personally invested in the development of the signature racket, to the extent that the he chose the colors himself.
"He (Rafael Nadal) selected 'his' colors and then made us work on several versions," Ballon said. "It was Rafa who himself chose his favorite racquet after reworking samples that lasted nearly four months."
According to Antoine Ballon, the collaboration between Rafael Nadal and Babolat was long overdue. The marketing director also revealed that they had very little trouble getting Nadal's agent to agree to the project.
"It happened very quickly in fact," Ballon said. "We presented the project of this racket to Rafael Nadal's agent and he was immediately hooked. We had talked about this before and it was something we wanted to do for a long time."
Antoine Ballon also pointed out that Rafael Nadal's 20th Grand Slam victory was a 'real opportunity' in terms of creating public interest for their product. Nadal's landmark achievement at Roland Garros last year matched perfectly with the 20th anniversary of Babolat's association with the Spaniard.
"You just had to find the right timing," Ballon said. "With Rafael Nadal's 20 Grand Slam titles, we had a real opportunity."
Rafael Nadal has his own universe symbolized by spin and power: Antoine Ballon
The special range of Rafael Nadal's Pure Aero racket is expected to be released to customers soon. During the interview, Antoine Ballon asserted that the design and colors of the new racket reflect Nadal's trademark power-packed game on the court as well as his charismatic personality off the court.
"Rafa has his own universe, symbolized by the spin and the power to dominate the exchange in the game," Ballon said. "But above all by a determination and a personality on off the court."
"This was what we wanted to symbolize through his own colors," the Babolat official added. "Once the project was validated by all parties, we therefore proposed color options embodying what we seemed to best represent Rafa's personality and game."