In a new blog Vanessa Selbst shares her thoughts on playing Rafael Nadal heads-up before EPT Grand Final in Monaco:
“I was beyond thrilled when PokerStars told me I’d be playing Rafa in a promotional Heads Up match in Monte Carlo.”
Vanessa Selbst has been playing tennis herself since she was around 10 years, and she played for her school’s tennis team during high school. The last time she played competitive tennis was on the team at MIT during her freshman year of college. She still brings her rackets along to play for fun when she is travelling the tournament circuit.
But Vanessa Selbst loves to watch tennis too:
“Everything about it fascinates me: the pop of the ball against the racket, the eerie hush of the crowd, the strategy behind every shot, and of course the anticipation and excitement during a long rally. Professional tennis players are amazing and skilled athletes, and among them, Rafael Nadal is one of the best of all time. Honestly, he’s probably my biggest all-time sports hero; he’s an amazing competitor, and I’m total awe of what he’s been able to achieve.”
Vanessa describes the heads-up as a rather quiet affair that only lasted 20 minutes:
“There wasn’t much table talk, as Rafa was mostly focusing on playing well; heads-up was a new format for him. I did make a little bit of conversation, though. I asked him whether or not he thought I could take a point off of him in a hypothetical tennis match between the two of us. He quickly quipped, “Sure, I might double-fault.” Even though that probably isn’t true – in reality, he would take 40 mph off his serve, hit it perfectly without missing a single serve, and still ace me every time – it was gracious of him to throw me a bone (even the sad, frail, pathetic little bone that it was).”
However, at the felt Vanessa proved to be the champion as she won the match. The money was donated to charity.