Net Gains: Rafa's Real dilemma is which Spanish football team to support
Sunday 23 January 2011
Rafael Nadal is rarely in two minds about anything but today the Spaniard will have divided loyalties.
The world No 1 is a shareholder in his local football club, Real Mallorca, where his uncle is the assistant manager. Today, however, the island side travel to play Real Madrid, the other football love of his life.
"For sure family comes first," Nadal said when asked about which team he might be supporting. "If my uncle was not there, it would depend. If Real Madrid were playing to win the League, I would want Real Madrid to win. If Mallorca were playing to stay in the First Division, and Real Madrid did not have much to play for, I would want Mallorca to win."
The Wimbledon champion's uncle, Miguel Angel Nadal, who used to play for Barcelona, joined Mallorca as assistant to Michael Laudrup last year and has helped to turn the team's fortunes around. Going into this weekend's programme Mallorca were ninth in the table.
"Mallorca are having a great season," Nadal said. "For us the main goal is to keep in the First Division, so we are in a really good way. I think the coaches are doing a great job. The situation of the club one year ago wasn't ideal, so there were a lot of changes. It wasn't easy for the players or anybody else, so the situation is better than we could have dreamed of."
Nadal, a decent footballer himself, is unable to attend many Mallorca matches, but tries to watch them on TV. Today might be tricky: when Mallorca and Madrid kick off this evening it will be 4am here in Melbourne.
Nadal win offers genuine relief
A bet of A$2.5m (about £1.55m), which is believed to be the biggest wager in Australian history, yielded the winning punter a profit of just A$25,000 last week.
The gambler, whose identity was not revealed, backed Nadal at 100-1 on to beat Ryan Sweeting in the second round. After the Spaniard obliged, the punter donated his winnings to the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal.
Had he tried to back Nadal to beat Marcos Daniel on Betfair in the previous round, he would have been disappointed: there was not one gambler on the betting exchange anywhere in the world willing to bet against the world No 1.
Roddick wife's love triangle
Andy Roddick's wife, the model Brooklyn Decker, is about to make her debut on the silver screen. Just Go With It, also starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, is due to be released next month. "She's in some sort of love triangle, she had to make out with one of them," Roddick said. He added: "We're excited about it – not the making out with Sandler part."
Baltacha is in with the Big Yin
Anne Keothavong was excited to meet the England cricketers Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan but Elena Baltacha, her successor as British No 1, was thrilled to be introduced to a man she described as "my hero". The comedian Billy Connolly spent several minutes chatting to his fellow Scot.
A wind-up... at the double
Leander Paes is one of the world's best doubles players, but the 37-year-old from Calcutta is also a master at winding up opponents.
Paes and his partner, Mahesh Bhupathi, so upset Feliciano Lopez and Juan Monaco yesterday that there was a stand-off at the end.
Lopez, who refused to shake hands with Paes, said: "He was trying to provoke us all the time. It's the style he's been using for 20 years."
One tactic by the Indians, who won in straight sets, was frequent use of the Spanish word "vamos" ("let's go"). Bhupathi said: "I don't think they have a patent on that one."
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