Nadal tops Negreanu to win big-money charity poker event in Prague
December 14, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
PRAGUE -- Rafael Nadal showed he was not tired of dethroning world No. 1 players when he saw off Daniel Negreanu to win a charity poker tournament in Prague on Thursday.
The 100,000-euro (US$137,000) tournament was the first-ever live poker event for the 27-year-old Spaniard, who had stripped Serbia's Novak Djokovic of the world's top spot in tennis this year.
Nadal has been a fervent poker player since a knee injury sidelined him from his day job last year, but had so far only played in online poker tournaments.
“I had fun. I had a great experience here playing with friends, playing for a good cause, for charity,” Nadal said after the game.
“The next thing I know is that tomorrow morning I will be on court at 9am practicing tennis.”
Besides Negreanu, the world number one poker player, Nadal beat Italian downhill star Alberto Tomba, past football legends Ronaldo and Andriy Shevchenko, and finally Dutch field hockey champion Fatima Moreira de Melo in the heads-up.
“My life is still tennis, playing poker I have fun. I am learning, but at the same time I try to ... be competitive,” Nadal told reporters before the tournament.
Like tennis, poker is “a competition, you need to control your emotions, you need to be focused all the time.”
“You need to have self-control, you have to wait for your moment,” he said.
Nadal made a blistering return to tennis since his career-threatening knee injury, winning 10 titles — including the French and U.S. Opens — and closing out the 2013 season at the top spot of ATP rankings.