Nadal in SA for SWC final
Rafael Nadal (AFP)
Barcelona - Football-mad Rafael Nadal has had a change of heart and decided to fly to South Africa for Spain's historic World Cup final on Sunday in Johannesburg against the Netherlands.
"We usually see football players in boxes when Rafa is playing," read a statement on his website. "But this time their roles will be changed.
"Rafa Nadal will announce that he will be in South Africa next Sunday supporting the Spanish team."
The reversal, which will enable him to "enjoy the party," came only hours after the world number one hinted that knee treatment would require him to stay in Europe.
But the two-time Wimbledon winner seems to have quickly relaxed that restriction after Spain beat Germany 1-0 on Wednesday night.
"Like the great majority of Spanish people, Rafa lived with huge intensity and emotion the memorable victory of the Spanish football team against Germany, which put them in the first-ever World Cup final," read a statement.
Rafa watched the match at home (in Majorca) with his family, and, once the match finished, he went out to celebrate the triumph with the rest of the people.
"It is well known that Rafa is very keen on football and that he has many friends in the Spanish team. While he was in London, he kept in touch with them through SMS, messenger, even through media.
"Rafa sent them support messages and (Spain coach) Vicente del Bosque congratulated Nadal on winning his second Wimbledon title."
Nadal, who is unlikely to return to the court before the Toronto Masters in mid-August, has plenty of time to rest upon his intended return from South Africa as he prepares for the North American hard court season.