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Soccer blues for Nalbandian?

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 17:23 IST
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David Nalbandian didn't fare any better at Wimbledon than his soccer team did in Germany. Nalbandian asked to play Friday's third-round match early so he could watch Argentina take on Germany in the World Cup. Officials complied, and his match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain began at midday on Court 13, a remote location considering Nalbandian was a 2002 finalist and was seeded No. 4.

Verdasco won 7-6 (9), 7-6 (9), 6-2, and Nalbandian had plenty of time to catch the start of the soccer match, which Germany won in a penalty shootout.

"David made it known that he would like to watch the football," said tournament referee Andrew Jarrett. "It's not always possible to work around requests, but in this instance we were able to accommodate it ."

When asked if the early start had hampered his preparations, Nalbandian replied: "Oh no."

"I didn't play good," he said. "I couldn't return any serve. I missed a lot of chances. That's part of the game." While Wimbledon is ready to help players follow the matches, spectators won't get the chance.

Club chief executive Ian Ritchie says the England-Portugal quarterfinal match on July 1, 2006 and any others over the final week of Wimbledon _ will not be shown on the big screens on the grounds. "While we fully appreciate and understand that many of our visitors will be interested in the World Cup, their safety and the tennis must remain our first priorities," Ritchie said. The England-Portugal match starts at 4 p.m. local time, a time when Britain's Andy Murray could be playing his third-round match, or during another between Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal.

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