08/24/2011 02:53 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2011

Rafael Nadal Launches 'Champion's Drink Responsibly" At NYC Event

The defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal has joined forces with Bacardi Limited to promote responsible drinking, encouraging consumers to be a champion by knowing where to draw the line.

“It’s important for everyone, especially young people like myself,” Nadal said. “I am the first, when I go out with friends, to say that to have a good time it is not necessary to drink all night. It’s more important to come back home safely.”

At Tuesday's event at Bar Basque Nadal took questions from journalists, posed for pictures and hit signed tennis balls into the crowd below -- eager young women even dove into the nearby fountain to retrieve a stray one.

Nadal, who is in New York preparing for the U.S. Open, said he finds time to take in the cities' food and arts scene in between practice and events.

“I think today I’m going to see the Mama Mia,” he said, referring to the long-running Broadway show based on ABBA's hits.

Nadal released his autobiography, "Rafa" on this week. The book details his rise to tennis superstardom and reveals that at 19 he was diagnosed with a congenital lesion in a bone in his left foot that could have forced him to give up the sport.