Tennis legend Rafael Nadal will become a new team owner in the UIM E1 World Championship, the world’s first all-electric raceboat championship.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion will enter his own team for the inaugural season, which is set to get underway later this year. Alongside his incredible success on the tennis court, Nadal—a native of the Mediterranean island of Mallorca—is passionate about the ocean and is hugely supportive of E1’s mission to accelerate clean mobility and restore marine ecosystems.

“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. "I also like the fact that E1 has a clear mission and is committed to preserving marine ecosystems. As a professional athlete, I recognize how making marginal gains has a positive impact on performance. To see this same competitive spirit and approach being applied at E1 to optimize the performance and efficiency of sustainable marine mobility is good news for our oceans.”

Nadal will also be supporting 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. The Blue Action Programme will be led by Professor Carlos Duarte, a fellow Mallorquin islander to Nadal and Chief Scientist at E1. Duarte is a world-leading marine ecologist, who will play an instrumental role in developing E1’s overall sustainability strategy, as well as supporting the Rafa Nadal Academy’s sustainability initiatives and reinforcing its commitment with sustainable sport.

Rafael Nadal and E1 Co-Founder & Chairman Alejandro Agag on the tennis court, holding the steering wheel used in the electric raceboat.

Nadal’s new racing outfit will compete against other teams who have already signed up to participate in the championship, including the Venice Racing Team. Nadal joins a growing list of sports personalities to own an E1 team, including current Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez’s team affiliated with his native Mexico.

E1’s Co-Founder and Chairman Alejandro Agag visited Nadal at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, where he was taken on a tour around the high-performance tennis center and was impressed by the world-class facilities and how technology is integrated at the academy.

The partnership with Nadal and E1 is expected to extend beyond racing to include the launch of an international thought leadership event, focused on the theme of sport and sustainability. The flagship event will bring the world’s leading sustainability experts together at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, to examine the next level of thinking on sustainability and highlight the positive role that sport can play in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It’s incredible news to have a name like Rafael Nadal join the UIM E1 World Championship," Agag said. "He’s not only one of the greatest tennis players of all time, he’s also a sporting icon who has transcended his sport. Speaking with Nadal, I immediately understood how important sustainability is to him and his passion for the ocean. E1’s mission is to accelerate clean mobility and restore marine ecosystems, which I know Nadal and his team feel strongly about. I’d like to thank Nadal and his family for welcoming us at his academy, and we wish him the best of luck in preparation for his next tournament. Vamos Rafa!”

Rodi Basso, co-founder and CEO of E1, said: “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. It’s amazing to see how driven Rafa is both on and off the court, particularly his appreciation for the ocean and marine life. Nadal’s academy is the perfect expression of that, creating a better world for future generations and improving the lives of young people. E1 shares that ethos - we want to ensure people can enjoy our oceans and precious coastal areas for many years to come.”

The eagerly anticipated first season of the UIM E1 World Championship is scheduled to get underway later this year. In the coming months, championship organizers will continue to accelerate preparations for the inaugural season, with more teams and race venues to be announced in due course.