Rafael Nadal is out of Wimbledon after a shock 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 day one defeat to world number 135 Steve Darcis. This was his first round one defeat for 35 Grand Slams, the equivilamt of nearly nine years.
Darcis played his absolute best tennis, beating a player ranked in the top five for the very first time. The Belgian played offensively, taking the game to Rafa – unable to match the game of Darcis, who was tipped at 100/1 to win the match with the bookmakers prior to getting underway. The right-hander is certainly through on merit.
The 29-year-old has even had to slip on the Challenger Tour in order to get some wins under his belt yet today he shared the same court with Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion.
The Spaniard did appear to struggle with injury at times but didn’t blame it in his post-match press appearance, a true sporting gentlemen. I’m quite sure it had a part to play in his loss, without taking away much credit from the incredible Darcis, though.
Last year Lukas Rosol, then ranked as the world number 100, minced the two-time SW19 champion at the second round stage – that was his last competitive grass court match prior to today. I never thought something similar would happen this time around.
The shock outcome is most likely to benefit Andy Murray and Roger Federer, who are in the same half of the tournament draw as this match. Federer opened Centre Court proceedings with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 6-0 over Hanescu of Romania and the British hopeful won 6-4 6-3 6-2 over Becker of Germany. The US Open champion looked incredibly sharp and was tested at times by the namesake of the great Boris, but, to be brutal, Murray must continue to work on his second serve.
– Nathan Morley