For those still debating whether Sports Illustrated went too low with the bikini bottoms in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover, consider this: Did Tommy Hilfiger do the same in Rafael Nadal’s new risque ad for that brand’s underwear?
Hannah Davis, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover model, immediately took notice of Nadal’s new spot.
But it wasn’t by chance. Besides Nadal and Davis’s inadvertent how-low-can-your-bottoms-go duel, the two are also slated to participate in a celebrity tennis tournament at Bryant Park in New York City on Tuesday afternoon.
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Nadal obviously isn’t the first athlete to model underwear, of course, but he may have put up the most risque ad — even compared to the likes of the world’s premier athletic underwear model Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Real Madrid superstar looks like he’s wearing a nun’s habit while modeling his own brand of CR7 undies earlier this year compared to Nadal’s Hilfiger ad. Of course, this isn’t as risque as Ronaldo’s ever been. In 2010, Ronaldo advertised a pair of Emporio Armani underwear no bigger than a black censorship bar in a spot that featured a very delighted, but devious hotel maid.
Of course, no article about sportsmen modeling underwear would be complete without mentioning one of the best in the business, David Beckham, who has also been central to some of Emporio Armani’s men’s panty ads. Here’s one he did with his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham in 2008. Her underwear might actually be bigger.
RT: Victoria Beckham and David Beckham Giorgio Armani pic.twitter.com/qABiDxa4OP
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More recently, however, Beckham’s been wearing underwear with more coverage. It also just so happens to be his own brand, designed for H&M.
Judging from the trajectory of Ronaldo and Beckham’s underwear modeling careers, it seems it’s only a matter of time before Nadal gets his own underwear brand, although Hilfiger might find it hard to part with the eighth-ranked tennis player in the world.
“Because we’re so global now, Rafael Nadal resonates globally in most countries in the world. He also looks amazing in the underwear and the clothes,” Hilfiger told Women’s Wear Daily on Tuesday. “He’s not doctored up, that’s the real guy.”
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That real guy will have to put his underwear modeling career on pause, however, when he competes in the upcoming U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 31. Unlike the Hilfiger ad, Nadal has not had great showings at Grand Slams this year. The former world No. 1 only managed to make the quarterfinals of the Australian and French Opens, where he was eliminated by Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic, respectively. And he exited in the Round of 64 in Wimbledon to the world’s 102nd-ranked player Dustin Brown.
Perhaps his new underwear will be a good-luck charm.