Fans hitched to Nadal bandwagon growing
WIMBLEDON, England — The British lady with the straw hat sitting in the stands behind Rafael Nadal’s chair began the Wimbledon quarterfinal match cheering for the other player, Robin Soderling.
By the third set, as Nadal took control, the woman had switched allegiances.
“Vamos!” she shouted between points.
The Nadal bandwagon is becoming bigger now that he’s back in the semifinals at Wimbledon. And with six-time champion Roger Federer eliminated, the topranked Nadal becomes the favorite.
The Spaniard plays today against No. 4-seeded Andy Murray, trying to become the first British man in 72 years to reach the Wimbledon final. The other semifinal pits No. 3 Novak Djokovic against No. 12 Tomas Berdych, who upset Federer on Wednesday.
It’s an impressive cast, even with Federer absent from the semifinals for the first time since 2002. Murray and Berdych have been long touted as future Grand Slam champions, while Djokovic has rediscovered the form that helped him win the 2008 Australian Open.
And then there’s Nadal, the King of Clay who has also become a formidable force on grass. He was the runner-up to Federer at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007, won when they met again in the 2008 final and missed last year’s tournament because of knee tendinitis.
Nadal has won 12 matches in a row at the All England Club, and 23 straight at Wimbledon against players other than Federer.
“He’s obviously a very tough player on any surface,” Murray said, “but he plays great tennis here.”