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Playing By His Own Rules

Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal looks to Monte Carlo Yachts to fulfill his cruising dreams.
Rafael Nadal on his MCY 76

His dominance on clay tennis courts has earned Rafael Nadal the moniker The King of Clay. From his first Grand Slam title in 2005 to his U.S. Open win earlier this year, Nadal is known the world over as one of tennis’ greats. But there’s another side to Nadal that we’re interested in knowing better: Nadal the boater. We caught up with him while he was aboard his MCY 76 in Mallorca.


Power & Motoryacht: Can you tell us about your earliest boating memories?

Rafael Nadal: Oh, honestly, I don’t remember which was the first, but I have a lot of nice memories being with the family, spending days around Mallorca, going to Menorca and coming back the same day. So I really remember … you know, I remember spending time with my sister, with my mum, with my dad, together, and with friends.

We are from here [Spain], so I also remember once, with a friend of mine and his family, we went together with two or three boats to Menorca and spent a day there. That’s something I always loved.

Power & Motoryacht: Those sound like happy memories. What is your favorite aspect of boating?

Rafael Nadal: I have always loved the spirit of adventure, because when you have a boat you feel free. You can go to different places, you feel free to move around, it’s an unbelievable feeling. When you are on a boat you have to be ready because weather conditions can always change and it’s a little bit of an adventure.

You know, it’s the feeling that you can finish your work, for example, at midday or just at three in the afternoon, and say, okay, I’m tired, I want to go out, I want to get away from everything, and I want to be just with my girlfriend, my friends, my captain—who is actually one of the best friends that I have—and enjoy the afternoon a little bit and maybe spend a night on a beach and come back the next day.

Power & Motoryacht: How did you first connect with Monte Carlo Yachts?

Rafael Nadal: Well, I saw the MCY 76 almost three years ago when I went to the Cannes boat show. That was the first time I saw the yacht and really, I really paid a lot of attention to it. It was different from the rest of the yachts. At that time, it was not my moment to have a boat yet, but it stayed in my mind, you know, and then two years ago when I came back I was really looking for a boat.

I love boats. I always look at a lot of things about boats and a lot of brands. I knew I needed a yacht between 62 and 80 feet because that’s the maximum that can fit in Porto Cristo and I wanted my boat here.

I think the first time I cruised aboard my MCY 76 was with my father and my sister. We went to a bay just half an hour from Porto Cristo and spent the night there. We watched a football match on TV and returned the next morning. That was my first experience, the first time I [used] my boat.

Power & Motoryacht: What attracted you to the MCY 76? How does she fit your needs?

Rafael Nadal: I visited a lot of different yachts. The Monte Carlo Yachts 76 was the perfect one, for what I need and the kind of life I like to have on board. The use of space is different; it’s unbelievable. There is space at the front, great space at the back. It’s true that here, in the main salon, there are no separate places and everything is more open, you know. Not, for example, like on other boats where there is living area and then a closed galley, and then the captain’s main helm, separated one from the other.

I like the fact that this boat is more open and I can see in front. I feel like it’s bigger, you know, I feel like everything is easy to use. I personalized the back part of the main salon a little bit and I really like it a lot. I feel that I have everything.

The space at the back in the aft cockpit is also great. I feel the back area is much bigger than on most of the yachts in the same category. That’s so important for me. I also like the fact that I can have a nice flybridge, too. Not a lot of boats of this size have a nice flybridge; none have the front part like this one, the bow lounge area.

I love life [outdoors] of course, but at the same time, I like the interior life because it’s almost a house for me. Even if I am staying here in Porto Cristo, I sometimes come on board and live here, so I like to be on the sofa and watching TV in comfort.

I have two TVs, so when there are people inside, you know, we can watch the football and we can watch in parallel what we really want to see. With the home cinema it is unbelievable for me. There can be 10 people inside the boat and I feel there are so many different areas to be. You feel that you have enough space, like on a much larger yacht.

Power & Motoryacht: Do you have a favorite boating memory?

Rafael Nadal: I remember, for example, the holiday I had in the northern part of Mallorca, up to the north of Sierra Tramuntana, which is unbelievable. It was just before the summer. There was nobody there, fantastic water. The season was almost starting with some nice days and I went all around the island for two days coming back from a Miami tournament. I stopped there, it was incredible. We spent the night there and it was really amazing.

Rafael Nadal on his MCY 76

Power & Motoryacht: Do you plan to cruise the boat anywhere in particular? Are there any cruises on your bucket list?

Rafael Nadal: I normally stay between Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Cabrera; all around the Balearic Islands. In Mallorca there are two different kinds of places. On the west side we have the back of the mountains, Sierra Tramuntana, which is amazing, amazingly beautiful, but it’s true that there are not many beaches. It’s different ... the views are different.

On this side of the island where we are now, the east side, there are a lot of beaches, it’s flatter. I like both things. You know, the mountains are unbelievable because you see them falling into the sea, it’s amazing. At the same time, here we have a lot of beaches and nice places that I can go away to. We can swim, in clear water, 100-percent crystal clear everywhere. I love, you know, both sides.

There are also a few other places that I want to know. I would like to discover all the Mediterranean, to take the boat and go to Croatia, to Greece, to Turkey. For sure, Sardinia and Corsica, too. Discovering the Mediterranean is one of the things I’m focused on, one of the goals that I have in the next couple of years when I will have the chance.

Today, it’s not possible. It is too important for me to keep doing well the things that I am doing and be professional today, but it’s something that I really want to do in the future. Go out with the boat and be there for two months, getting familiar with all the Mediterranean.

That’s the first step and then I would love to go to the Caribbean with the boat. I think it is a great place to be because there are a lot of islands close to each other and you don’t need to cruise for days to reach them. It’s something that I really want to do.

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This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.