Nadal loses Wimbledon shocker, again

Rafael Nadal has been in the final of six of the past eight
majors in which he has played. The two shortcomings: Wimbledon in
both 2012 and 2013.

Yes, Nadal followed up
year’s shocking second-round loss
to unknown Lukas Rosol by
losing this year in the first round to another relative unknown,
Steve Darcis:

Nadal and Darcis, who pulled off
in straight sets, don’t exactly compare on the stat
sheet. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape.

Current ranking: Nadal 5; Darcis 135.

Year-to-date record (prior to Wimbledon): Nadal
43-2; Darcis 2-6.

Career won-loss record (prior to Wimbledon): Nadal
626-124; Darcis 72-80.

Career titles: Nadal 57; Darcis 2.

Grand Slam wins: Nadal 12; Darcis 0.

Career prize money: Nadal $55,740,464; Darcis

Twitter followers: Nadal 4,562,473; Darcis 3,199
(and climbing fast).

And then there’s this dandy of a stat:

Perhaps then we should’ve seen this upset coming, even though
Darcis, from Belgium, has never been past the third round at a
Grand Slam event. Here’s what he looks like while beating a
Grand Slam champion
, if you’re curious:

(Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Nadal, who was 34-0 in the first round of majors before Monday,
played a very defensive match and appeared to be favoring his
oft-injured legs near the end, once again raising concerns about
his longevity playing his aggressive style.

In 2012, Rosol swung for the fences and buried Nadal behind the
power of his strokes. It still took him five sets to pull it off.
Here’s the final game of that one:

You can’t say Nadal is uncomfortable with the abrupt clay-grass
switch in the tennis schedule. He has twice won Wimbledon after
winning the French Open — one of the rarest feats in the sport.
But clearly his game doesn’t transition as easily as we’d like to
believe over to the bouncier surface. And as the miles pile up on
those active knees and legs, the concerns will only get greater.
Have we seen the last of Nadal ruling the All England Club?

Much had been made Friday about Nadal being drawn into Roger
Federer’s section, but that dream quarterfinal will not be
realized. Good news for Roger, though.

And the final word: