Very recently in Argentina he had refused to board a private aircraft, full of Spanish politicians, on their way home after losing the 2012 Olympics to Japan. He simply said, “The way things are in Spain I don’t think that it is a good moment to make the State pay for the flight.” Over three hundred Spanish politicians and officials had found an excuse to go to Buenos Aires for the selection ceremony, staying at expensive hotels and charging it all to the public coffers; hence Nadal’s cutting refusal to do the same.
And then he finds himself at the US Open at the Arthur Ashe Stadium with the Queen of Spain in the VIP box, invited by the event’s organisers. Then the Minister of Public Health and the Spanish Ambassador to the UN – neither of whom had been invited – turned up, charging the 1,250-euro tickets for the best seats in the stadium to public expenses: The Minister of public health charged her ticket to the Ministry of Public Health and the Ambassador charged his to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The tennis star studiously ignored her when she approached as photos were being taken, even though she obviously wanted to shake hands with him, as did the Ambassador, Fernando Arias.
The organizers only extend invitations to royalty and heads of state and not to politicians, ministers and diplomats, as the UN Headquarters is in the city and there would be literally hundreds of public figures trying to get in for free.