Professional footballers have spent the majority of their lives focused on mastering their art but, away from the beautiful game, which other sports do they take an interest in?
The official Chelsea website continues to survey the squad to get a brief insight into their other sporting passions, and with Wimbledon now in full flow, today’s is a tennis special.
I only ever dreamed of being a football player but I like to watch basketball, the NBA, and when Kobe Bryant came to a match at Chelsea some time ago, I had a picture with him. I also like tennis on TV, and Rafael Nadal is my favourite player. He’s a fantastic player, I’ve never met him but I would like to.
Nadal, who recently won the French Open, suffered a shock first-round exit at Wimbledon earlier this week when he was beaten in straight sets by Steve Darcis.
He is, however, is one of the finest players of his generation, and has won the tournament on two previous occasions, in 2008 and 2010.
When I was younger I was quite good at tennis so that’s always been the other sport which I look out for. I played when I was at school and won a few tournaments, so it’s a sport I’ve always enjoyed. Obviously because of football I don’t really get a chance to play much anymore, but I still watch the big tournaments like Roland Garros and the US Open. I particularly like watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, they are both such great players and games between the two of them are always fantastic to watch.
The rivalry between Federer and Nadal is seen by many as the greatest in tennis history, with matches between the two players more often than not exhilarating contests. Of the 30 matches the two men have played against each other, Nadal has come out on top 20 times, with Federer winning the other 10.
From 2006 to 2008, they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final, with the 2008 Wimbledon final between the two men one of the most memorable matches of all time.
Tennis is the most popular individual sport in Ake’s homeland The Netherlands.