Nadal has to turn down Queen
Rafael Nadal insisted Wimbledon is “not a joke” when explaining his decision to prioritise preparing for his fraught second-round victory against Robin Haase over an appointment with the Queen.
The Spanish second seed was given a major scare by world number 151 Haase, twice battling from a set down to prevail 5-7 6-2 3-6 6-0 6-3 on Centre Court.
Scheduled to join the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams in meeting the Queen upon her first visit to the Championships since 1977 before the day's matches began, he instead chose to make use of his noon training slot.
It proved the correct decision after an inspired Haase hinted that a seismic upset was possible having comfortably won the third set to storm 2-1 ahead.
Williams met the Queen despite also being in action later in the day, but for Nadal it was more important to concentrate on tennis as he continues his quest to reclaim the All England Club title he won in 2008.
“I'm playing in Wimbledon — it's not a joke. I love this tournament,” he said.
“I have a lot of respect for the Queen but I have a lot of respect for this tournament. It's always been my dream play here.
“This was a match day for me so I have my things to do. I try to do what I think is the best to win the match.
“I wouldn't change my routine to meet anyone in the world.
Nadal had been given a scare but his display in the final two sets was magnificent.
This, however, was helped by the disintegration of Haase's serve — the main weapon in the Dutchman’s armoury — which was only restored to full working order once the match had slipped from his grasp.
“Everybody prefers to win in three sets, but it's not possible all of the time, especially on this surface because it all depends on a few points,” added Nadal.