Wimbledon 2013: Rafael Nadal did not trust his knee on a surface that makes his sliding game impossible
The two-time champion is out of Wimbledon
Two weeks and one day after lifting his 12 Grand Slam title Rafael Nadal has crashed out of Wimbledon, beaten by the hitherto little-known Belgian Steve Darcis.
There was a suspicion that Nadal's knee injury contributed to the defeat, but tough he developed a limp late on for most of the match it was more a case of his not appearing to trust his knee's fitness on a surface which it is hard for him to slide on.
Darcis, 29, had only won one previous match at Wimbledon, but did beat Thomas Berdych here in the Olympics.
He said: “I think it is a big shock as no-one was expecting it. Rafa did not play his best tennis, but I knew the first game on grass is always difficult and he lost early last year.”
Nadal went out to Lukas Rosol last year in the second round. This was his first opening round exit in a 35-Gland Slam career. He is also the first reigning French Open champion to go out in the first round at Wimbledon since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997.
The match lasted just shy of three hours with Darcis winning the first two sets on the tie-break, the second off which went to 10-8. Darcis, however, broke in the third set and victory seemed certain when, at 3-4 down, Nadal sprinted towards a drop shot and pulled up lame.
He battled on, at one point having a break point, but lost the game. The two-time Wimbledon champion successfully held serve to stay in the match but Darcis, working him around the court, forced a match point. He delivered an ace and fell to his knees as if he had won the tournament itself.
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss