Spain's King Juan Carlos dined with compatriot and tennis star Rafael Nadal at a restaurant in the Balearic Islands, expressing his friendship and support for the 11-time Grand Slam champion as he tries to recover from a nagging knee injury.
The presence of two of Spain's most famous faces caused a stir Friday evening among a group of mostly foreign tourists who caught sight of them in this city's tourist zone.
Spokespersons for the royal family told Efe the monarch telephoned Nadal earlier in the day to invite him to dinner and express his support for the tennis great, who has been suffering from left knee tendonitis since this year's Wimbledon.
Last month, in a royal reception for the Spanish Olympic team, Juan Carlos had voiced words of encouragement for the man who was to be Spain's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony, an honor that went to basketball player Pau Gasol after Nadal withdrew from the London Games due to his injury.
The world No. 3's last tournament match was a loss to then-100th-ranked Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in late June at Wimbledon, also the venue for the Olympic tennis tournament, a defeat regarded as one of the biggest upsets in that prestigious event's long history.
The 26-year-old from the Balearic island of Mallorca had arrived in the All England Club fresh off winning a record seventh French Open title.
Since the injury, Nadal not only has withdrawn from the Olympics but also pulled out of two hard-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events - one being played this week in Toronto and another scheduled to begin Sunday in Cincinnati.
Those tournaments are the biggest tune-up events for the U.S. Open, the year's last Grand Slam tournament, which will get underway on Aug. 27. EFE