One wouldn’t think it could get worse for Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon after last year’s shock loss to Lukas Rosol. But it did.
Today in the first round at Wimbledon a frustrated Rafa fell to the 135th player in the world, a guy named Steve Darcis. Last year Rosol, now Darcis? Rafa is making household names out virtual nobodies.
But credit to Darcis, like Rosol he too didn’t cave under the pressure of posting one of the biggest upsets in the world stunning the 2-time Wimbledon champion 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Nadal wasn’t at his best from the start, but we’ve seen that before from him early on the grass. And this was following the pattern. But in the second set breaker when it was time to step up Rafa just couldn’t.
His backhand let him down and surprisingly Darcis didn’t blink. And when the limping began in the third set the upset was sealed. Rafa had finally lost in the first round at a Slam.
“Yes, [I am surprised] a little bit,” said Darcis. “Nobody was expecting me to win.
“I knew that it would be very, very difficult. But it was a great match from the start to the end. [Nadal is] just the second guy in the Top 10 that I have beaten. It’s one of my greatest wins. So I’m really, really happy today.”
For Rafa, it was a perplexing performance. It’s not the grass, not’s not the lack of play on that surface. And I just don’t think it’s the opponent. He just struggles early at Wimbledon.
“It is tough losing in the first round. But the tour continues, life continues, and this is a sport of victories. It’s not a sport of losses,” said Nadal.”Nobody remembers the losses. People remember the victories. And I don’t want to remember that loss.”
Nobody remembers your losses? I Do. Everyone does, because they are so rare and just so random. But the big question going forward as the tour shifts to hardcourt is the left knee, and for now Rafa ain’t talking.
“I say before I think is not the day to talk about these kind of things,” Nadal said about his knee. “I am confident that I will have a good recover and be ready for the next tournaments. I played much more than what I dreamed before here after the injury. So that’s a fantastic and very positive thing for me. I know the grass is a difficult surface for the way that I need to play to play well here.”
Nadal didn’t deny the knee was an issue, so to me that means it was. And it also means for guys like Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who both breezed today, that week two just got a little bit easier.
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