updated 07/07/2008 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/07/2008 AT 8:30 AM ET
They came, they saw, and still he didn’t conquer. Even though reigning Wimbledon tennis champ Roger Federer had buddies Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale screaming support during an epic final on Sunday, it was not enough to hold off hotshot Rafael Nadal in what has already been called the greatest final of all time.
But if they gave grand slam titles to spirited supporters, Rossdale would surely be crowned world champ. During a match that slugged on for nearly five hours on-court, Rossdale’s repertoire of fist punching, seat jumping and hollering boosted the energy level from the usually placid competitors’ guest box.
In the five-set match (which spanned seven hours because of rain delays), Spain’s Nadal clawed back to win the final set against Federer, preventing the Swiss champ from winning a sixth Wimbledon title.
Federer and Rossdale have been friends for years – in the past, they have even been spotted playing tennis together in Los Angeles. Earlier in this two-week tournament, the tennis ace joined the Rossdales and their son Kingston, 2, as they went ape at the London Zoo.
During Sunday’s match a pregnant Stefani, wearing a red, white and black herringbone off-the-shoulder dress, had to remove her sunglasses as the light faded in the evening gloom for what turned out to be the longest final in Wimbledon history – and the first Spanish victory for 42 years.
If losing was hard for Federer, it appeared similarly painful for his famous fans. Moments after winning, Nadal leapt on top of a commentators’ box – directly in front of pop’s power couple – to embrace his family. While hundreds stood and applauded, only Rossdale, Stefani and Federer’s girlfriend, Miroslava Vavrinec, remained in their seats.