He may not accept it but he loves the English summer and tries to spend some quality time with his family and friends there. It may be his way of unwinding and getting fresh before the demands of a new season, or a new series.Tendulkar’s trip to London, this summer, was however extra special. For, he made his first-ever trip to Madame Tussauds where his wax figure came up recently, gracing the A-list lineup along with greats like Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods and Jesse Owens.He joined his contemporaries Brian Lara and Shane Warne but still he is the first Indian sports personality to be portrayed here. Tendulkar also caught up with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who incidentally is a huge fan of the little champion.He also joined greats like Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras in the Royal Box to watch his favourite, Roger Federer, make history. He just has one little regret though: his plan of watching Michael Jackson didn’t materialise due to the American icon’s unfortunate, and unexpected, death.
“You can say it struck a jarring note on what was otherwise a great trip. Michael Jackson’s death came as a shock because I was actually looking forward to his concert in London,” Tendulkar told TOI in an exclusive interview.”It was unnerving for me because I grew up listening to his music. I missed his concert in Mumbai, way back in 1996 because we were playing the Titan Cup final after five days. I was looking forward to this show.”On the positive side, Tendulkar made his first ever trip to Madame Tussauds. “My family had been there before but this was the first time for me. It was a terrific experience. All the personalities there are special. Their precision and accuracy in producing the wax figure is unbelievable,” quipped Tendulkar whose wax figure came up at a cost of Â£150,000.
Yet another first for Tendulkar was catching up with Daniel Radcliffe. The Harry Potter star took Tendulkar’s autograph at Lord’s on his 18th birthday in 2007. But so engrossed was Sachin in obliging his fans that he didn’t even notice signing up for Daniel.”I first met him when we were touring England in 2007. After the Lord’s Test, we drove down to Nottingham for the second Test and it was there that I got a call from my wife, Anjali, who asked me about my meeting with Harry Potter. I said, no, I haven’t met him. But she insisted I did because the statement had come from Daniel himself that he got his best birthday present. As it turned out, just before the day’s play at Lord’s, I was obliging fans on my way back to the dressing room. And when you sign autogrpahs you aren’t always looking up at the person. So I missed the opportunity to meet him and say hello to him then. However, this time around I met him at Lord’s during the T20 World Cup and I got a chance to say hello to him.”
A summer in London is incomplete without a trip to the Centre Court at Wimbledon. Tendulkar, who grew up admiring John McEnroe, made an appearance at the Royal Box to watch Federer make history. “I am a huge Federer fan, so obviously I was backing Federer. But at the end I didn’t want a loser there.”Tendulkar, who knows former champion Michael Schumacher and Australian Mark Webber on the Formula One circuit, hasn’t had the chance to meet Federer. “I would love to say hello to him sometime somewhere,” says Tendulkar.While he isn’t too passionate about golf, Tendulkar enjoys following Formula One. But, after the limits on spending this season, this year’s Formula One has been different. “To be honest, this year I haven’t been able to follow much. And, this year, it hasn’t been the same.”