By Humphrey Carter HE is the second best tennis player in the world, he is Majorcan, still lives in Majorca, spends every minute of his spare time in Majorca and is going to be the Balearics' new tourism ambassador for the next two years.

This year's French Open champion, and the soon-to-be new face of Nike, Rafael Nadal is going to replace Majorcan holiday home owners, American actor Michael Douglas, who lives in Bermuda where he also has a major stake in the luxury Ariel Sands Hotel which he is always keen to promote, and German super model Claudia Schiffer, who lives in London. He has agreed to help promote the Balearics at the world's principal travel trade fairs in 2006 and 2007.

The promotional deal has been struck by the organisers of the Pula Mallorca Gold Classic. Rafael Nadal has agreed to help promote the golf tournament and the Balearics' Green Card at key travel fairs, in particular the World Travel Market in London, the ITB in Berlin and FITUR in Madrid.

The only condition laid down by the Nadal camp is that he will obviously be only available if and when the travel trade fairs do not clash with his tennis commitments. The World Travel Market takes place in November around the Masters Final and FITUR clashes with the Australian Open in January.

However, Nadal is more than willing to do all he can to help promote the Balearics.
The tourism authorities and the Balearic government have welcomed the Nadal deal.
The tennis star from Manacor is the talk of the tennis world and the emerging face of Nike who, the government is convinced, will appeal to the British, American, German and French market in particular.

What is more he's young and at the very top of his sport - a highly positive image the Balearic tourism authorities believe they can win with.
Raimundo Alabern at the Balearic Institute for the Promotion of Tourism (IBATUR) said “he's a global media star and will therefore have a huge impact on the media in London and Madrid.” Super model Claudia Schiffer, who last week spent a few days at her holiday home on the island with her husband the British film producer director Matthew Vaughan and their two children Casper and Clementine, makes her final appearance as tourism ambassador at the World Travel Market in November.

She helped launch the new Green Card at the ITB Berlin back in March, but in the meantime announced that she was selling a sizeable part of her Majorcan property portfolio in Camp de Mar, near Andratx.

And, while Schiffer has been downsizing her presence on the island, Michael Douglas has failed to visit the island he helped promote in London and Germany, at all this year.

He still part owns the S'Estaca luxury estate in Valldemossa with his ex-wife Diandra, who spent August here, but appears to be turning his back on the island as well.

Whenever he is not playing competitive tennis, Rafael Nadal returns to Majorca - it is his home and training base - and is therefore going to add some real muscle to the Balearic campaign.