Wimbledon AndThe Rosol Factor

Two days after beating Rafael Nadal in one of the most stunning upsets in tennis history, Lukas Rosol lost his third round match to Philipp Kohlschreiber, the number 27 seed.

I fully expected Rosol to lose but not for the reasons that many espouse. Those people, be they fans, pundits, or players find his victory so implausible that it’s almost unacceptable.

That’s to bad because he did what he did. It was neither a fluke nor an aberration.

It was a prime example of an athlete inexplicably performing at a level so far above expectation that he surpasses even his own inner reality. He goes to a place where, at that time in his career only he could be–in the zone.

The zone in which Rosol found himself against Nadal produced a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. It would have been virtually impossible for him to duplicate the dizzying level of play displayed in that masterpiece of domination. After all, he had just played the match of his life.

That’s why I expected him to lose today.

Regardless of the loss, Rosol should find great solace in what he accomplished in this 2012 Wimbledon.

Not only did he exceed all expectations, including his own, but he proved to himself that he is more than a run-of-the-mill tennis player. He is an exceptional pro with extraordinary ability.

He’s certainly far better than the number 100 ranking he began the tournament with.

Rosol did more than simply pulling off one of the greatest sports upsets ever.

The ramifications of his win are more profound than immediately detectable because the tennis world is still too shocked to grasp the scope of things yet to come.

Basically, he wreaked absolute havoc on the mens singles draw.

He not only upset Nadal, he upset the natural order of things. He changed the flow, altered the entire dynamic of the tournament.

Nadal’s absence opens a plethora of possibilities. The top three surely feel more confident about their chances. They may feel that they now simply have to slug it out amongst themselves.

It may not be as simple as that. Julien Benneteau came within two points of ousting Federer.


Because of “The Rosol Factor.” I think Benneteau took a page straight out of Rosol’s game book. He jumped all over Federer from the opening bell as though he was the number three ranked player and Federer was 27th.

It damn near worked.

In addition to changing the overall complexion of the draw, I think Rosol’s accomplishment gives hope and inspiration to all the remaining players thought not to have a realistic chance of winning the title.

Rosol struck a blow for all the struggling pros out there who seem to just be “fillers” (warm bodies to fill tournament draws). He closed what is probably more of a perceived than actual gap between top-ten players and all the rest.

He served notice to the top guys that, “Hey, we’re out here and though we may be far behind you guys in ATP points, we’re not that far behind in ability.”

American pros, Mardy Fish being one of the more vocal, understandably complain of the shift tennis has taken in the last decade from faster surfaces to slower ones.

It’s true. While the game is more physical than ever before, it’s being contested on slower surfaces or under conditions intentionally introduced to somewhat offset the technological advances in rackets and strings.

If such measures were not implemented matches would be over far to quickly. Fans would get very little bang for their buck. Fans matter. They’re the ones buying the tickets. No fans, no revenue-generating professional tennis.

Rosol’s win also demonstrated that power tennis can still be played on the slower playing grass conditions now found at the All England Club.

Undoubtedly, Lukas Rosol’s  win was good for tennis. It was different. It was unusual. It was startling. It was compelling.

People will remember this tournament for years to come. And, in large part, it will be due to the Wimbledon-altering vibrations caused by what Lukas Rosol did to Rafael Nadal.

Whether one of the three remaining top seeds wins or someone more improbable, “The Rosol Factor” will have exerted undeniable influence.

One thought on “Wimbledon AndThe Rosol Factor

  1. In horse racing parlance, term would be that Rosol “bounced”. Either that, or his trainer, Rick Dutrow, was unable to attend his most recent match to provide the necessary “training supplements”

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