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 last year's shocking second-round loss to unknown Lukas Rosol by losing this year in the first round to another relative unknown, Steve Darcis:
Darcis serving for 1st set on Nadal. If you don't know who Darcis is, join the club. He has a career losing record on tour— Greg Couch (@gregcouch) June 24, 2013
Nadal and Darcis, who pulled off Monday's stunner 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 $1,748,333.
Twitter followers: Nadal 4,562,473; Darcis 3,199 (and climbing fast).
And then there's this dandy of a stat:
Nadal down set to Darcis, ranked 135. Only player in top 70 Darcis beat this yr? Rosol, who beat Nadal at #wimbledon last yr— Greg Couch (@gregcouch) June 24, 2013
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 12-time 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:
Federer has never lost a match like this— Greg Couch (@gregcouch) June 24, 2013