LONDON, June 25- Rafael Nadal admits he declined an invitation to meet Queen Elizabeth II because he wanted to focus on his Wimbledon second round match.World number one Nadal was given the chance to meet the Queen when she visited the All England on Thursday for the first time since 1977.
But the Spaniard decided he couldn’t risk upsetting his pre-match routine before a clash with Holland’s Robin Haase.
While some of sport’s biggest stars including Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Andy Murray spent time with the Queen during her visit, Nadal was concerned that he might be left with little room to prepare for the Haase clash – scheduled to be the last match on Centre Court – if he met the monarch and the matches before his finished quickly.
"It was disappointing for me but the Wimbledon club knows I have my routines before the match," Nadal said.
"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).
"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.
"I had to practice at that time, so it was impossible for me to meet her at that moment."
Nadal had hoped the Queen would stay to watch his match but she left after Murray’s victory – denying the Spaniard a belated chance to impress the sovereign.
"Seriously, I thought the Queen was going to be at my match and I would love to have the chance to meet her after the match. But it wasn’t possible because I think the Queen left before," Nadal said.
"For me it was disappointing. I was excited to meet her but it was a very important match for me too."
Nadal, a five-time French Open champion, was adamant he meant no disrespect to the Queen, but had no intention of apologising as he doesn’t want to do anything to damage his bid to regain the Wimbledon title he won in 2008.
"I am playing in Wimbledon. It is not a joke. I love this tournament," he added.
"I have a lot of respect for the Queen. I have a lot of respect for this tournament.
"It was always my dream to play here. It is a match-day for me so I have my things to do and I try to do what I think is best to win the match."
In the event, Nadal produced a spluttering display against the unheralded Haase and fell two sets to one behind before recovering to win 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Nadal claimed he was well aware how dangerous Haase could be on grass and he hopes the experience of surviving a tough match so early in the tournament will serve him well in the latter stages.
"I feel more confident after the match. Before the match, I could tell he was going to be a very difficult opponent because he’s a big server," he said.
"On this surface, it is very difficult to stop him. I’m very happy to be in the third round because this was a difficult match.
"Everybody prefers to win in three sets, but it’s not possible a lot of times, especially on this surface because all depends on a few points."