Wimbledon semi-finalist Rafael Nadal declined ‘rare’ invitation from the Queen

Wimbledon semi-finalist Rafael Nadal once snubbed a rare invitation to meet the Queen, as the appointment did not line up with his training schedule.

The world No 4, 36, twice battled back from a set down to claim a gruelling 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-4) victory over American Taylor Fritz on Wednesday (July 6), to maintain his unbeaten quarter-final record in SW19.

Nadal, having already claimed championships in Melbourne and Paris, is aiming to join legendary tennis stars Don Budge and Rod Laver by becoming only the third men's singles player to claim all four Grand Slams in a calendar year.

READ MORE: Wimbledon bad boy Nick Kyrgios put poor performances down to "being horny"

Turning professional in 2001, aged just 15, Nadal's dedication to his craft is undeniable. The Spaniard has racked up a staggering 22 Grand Slam titles, including two Wimbledon honours – although there is a certain crown missing from his collection.

On his way to Wimbledon glory in 2010, Nadal was handed an opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth II but turned down the offer as he wanted to concentrate on preparations for his second-round match.

"It was disappointing for me but the Wimbledon club knows I have my routines before the match," said Nadal at the time. "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].

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"I have my routines. Before the match, it is very difficult when you don't know when you're going to play. You have the third match but if some injury happens there, you are on court before."

And, on reflection, it seems he made the correct call. After snubbing the Queen, Nadal claimed a five-set victory over Dutchman Robin Haase on his way to a second Wimbledon title, beating Brit Andy Murray in the semi-finals.

The 2010 championship remains his latest SW19 title but the Spaniard can go a step closer to recording a Calendar Grand Slam when he faces long-standing rival Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals.

The Australian's lacklustre style is known to have infuriated him in previous contests with Nadal taking aiming at Kyrgios' "lack of respect" following their 2019 clash at the Mexican Open.

"He's a player who has enormous talent, could be winning Grand Slams or fighting for the number one ranking," said Nadal following a 6-3, 6-7, 6-7 defeat. "He lacks respect for the crowd, his opponent and towards himself…I don't think he's a bad guy, but he lacks a little respect for the public and the rival."


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