Rafael Nadal is a keen football fan, and he did not miss a Spain match while playing at Wimbledon before a stunning second round exit late Thursday.
On Wednesday, he nervously endured in London the semifinals match, in which Spain beat Portugal in the penalty shootout, after a tough 0-0 draw.
“Sergio Ramos is my idol from now on,” Nadal said.
The routine is the same for almost all Spain games: the world number two meets with his friends in the house he is renting within 100 metres of the All England Club, for dinner and a lot of football hype.
On Wednesday, for the semifinal, Nadal met with his staff and several friends including Argentine tennis player Juan Monaco and Spanish doubles specialist Marc Lopez.
For the quarterfinals against France on Saturday, a sponsor had brought Nadal together with Serena Williams to watch the match.
Two years ago he travelled to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands, and he went to the changing-rooms to congratulate players on their win.
Sergio Ramos, who was voted man-of-the-match on Wednesday in Donetsk, took his turn from the spot and chipped the ball to the net Panenka-style. Resorting to such a kick always pleases some and annoys others, but it got full support in Nadal’s headquarters in south-west London.