Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal is the newest team owner in the UIM E1 World Championship, the world’s first all-electric boat league. E1 announced the news Tuesday.
E1’s inaugural season, which begins later this year, is expected to showcase 10 to 12 teams. The championship format will ask each team to select two pilots, and regulations set out by E1 and the UIM will mandate a mixed gender pilot line-up to ensure equal opportunities in the sport.
As part of this new project, Nadal will be supporting the E1’s Blue Action Programme, which “has been designed to create a positive impact on local communities through projects aimed at restoring marine ecosystems along city waterfronts,” according to the E1 website.
Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, likes competition, but he said that a major part of his decision to get involved with E1 revolved around what the league plans to do for the environment.
“I’m really excited to be getting involved with a project like E1 that values sustainability and will make a positive impact on society as a whole, especially in coastal communities,” Nadal said in a statement. “I also like the fact that E1 has a clear mission and is committed to preserving marine ecosystems.
“As a professional athlete, I recognise how making marginal gains has a positive impact on performance. To see this same competitive spirit and approach being applied at E1 to optimise the performance and efficiency of sustainable marine mobility is good news for our oceans.”
An upcoming international thought leadership event will bring sustainability experts together at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, where they will explore how sustainability can be expanded through sports.
“Having a team owner of Rafael Nadal’s stature demonstrates the importance of our mission and shows that people like Rafa are passionate about making a positive impact,” E1 CEO Rodi Basso said in a statement. “It’s amazing to see how driven Rafa is both on and off the court, particularly his appreciation for the ocean and marine life.”
Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez has also jumped into E1 with a team representing his native country of Mexico. More teams, race venues and dates will be announced later this year.
Nadal currently has his hands full as he prepares to defend his title in the Australian Open this month as the No. 1 seed.