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World Cup? Swedish star at Wimbledon says ‘real men play ice hockey’


London (AFP) – Swedish tennis star Robert Lindstedt plans to confine himself to his London hotel room for his fiancee’s safety when England and Sweden face off in the football World Cup, while compatriot Rebecca Peterson is feeling the pride.

Lindstedt, who is playing at Wimbledon, said he was so loud when Sweden score that it would be better to stay indoors rather than risk heading to a bar to watch Saturday’s quarter-final.

He also cheekily added that “real men prefer ice hockey”.

Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0 in the round of 16 to reach the last eight, so Lindstedt could not resist having a pop at Swiss tennis great Roger Federer at the first opportunity at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

“I ran past Roger when he was going on court. I wanted to see him and tell him even more but since we were going on, I just said, ‘Go Sweden!’. He heard me!” said Lindstedt.

Lindstedt, 41, a 2014 Australian Open men’s doubles champion and a three-time Wimbledon doubles finalist, warned England against over-confidence.

“I’m happy for them that they actually got through a penalty shoot-out. They’ve suffered a lot,” he said England’s victory over Colombia.

“But looking back at England-Sweden matches, they’ve all been really competitive. The English always seem a bit more confident than we are but they’ve never really blown us out of the water. So it’s going to be interesting.

“I thought of going somewhere but I’m too loud if Sweden scores and I have my fiancee here, so for her safety I think we’ll watch it in the hotel.”

Lindstedt is fed up of hearing people singing the “Football’s coming home” refrain from the 1996 England song “Three Lions”.

“They’ve said that every single championship!” he said, adding: “When it comes to sport, I do prefer ice hockey. Like real men do.”

– ‘Pressure on England’ –

Nearly half his age, fellow Swede Peterson, 22, is out of Wimbledon, losing in straight sets to Donna Vekic on Wednesday, though she was cheered on by supporters in Sweden football jerseys.

“I saw a few of them wearing a shirt. I’m really happy there was a lot of people watching me and supporting me, it really means a lot,” she said.

“I saw the match against Switzerland and I’m really happy for Sweden.

“You still feel so proud of the team and you really want to watch it.

“We’re becoming more like a country, it’s different, the atmosphere.

“I hope they can win. It will be amazing. All the pressure is on England, for sure.”

Meanwhile Kyle Edmund, the last surviving Briton in the Wimbledon men’s singles, tweeted a picture of him with his Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren, both in respective national football jerseys and seemingly squaring up to punch each other.

“When your coach is a Swede and you tell him it’s coming home… let’s go England!” he wrote.

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