Tennis legend Rafael Nadal once turned down an invitation to meet with the now departed Queen Elizabeth II.
Rafael Nadal was participating in the 2010 Wimbledon Championships when Her Majesty made a rare visit to the All England Club. It was Queen Elizabeth II’s fourth and final appearance at Wimbledon and was thus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Spaniard.
Nadal, however, declined the invitation as it meant that he would have to skip a practice session before his second-round encounter against Dutch player Robin Haase. The Spaniard had expressed his disappointment at the missed opportunity but stayed firm with his decision as he was set to face a tough opponent.
“I knew it was going to be a very difficult match. I had to practice around then, so it was impossible for me [to meet the Queen]. I have my routines. Before the match, it is very difficult when you don’t know when you’re going to play. For me it was disappointing. I was excited to meet her but it was a very important match for me too,” he had said.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was expecting the Queen to stay for his match. The monarch, however, took leave after enjoying Andy Murray’s triumph in his second-round clash.
“I thought the Queen was going to be at my match and I would love to have the chance to meet her after the match. But it wasn’t possible because I think the Queen left before,” Nadal said at the time.
The Spaniard went on to lift his second Wimbledon title that year at the price of a lost chance to interact with the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth II breathed her last on Thursday afternoon. Rafael Nadal was dejected by the loss and expressed his condolences to the Royal Family.
“My most respectful, sincere and deepest condolences to the Royal Family of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and to the British people for the pass of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II,” he said.