In the first Rosolian occurrence of the 2012 Olympic men’s tennis tournament, Tomas Berdych was eliminated in the first round by Steve Darcis.
Why is this notable? Well, Berdych is ranked number seven in the world. Darcis is ranked exactly 68 spots below him at number 75.
It’s a huge upset. If there were a tennis Richter scale, this result would measure at a magnitude of about eight on a scale from 1-10.
Nadal’s second-round loss to Lukas Rosol a few weeks ago in the second round of Wimbledon was a 12, yeah, a 12. 10 because of the shocking loss and an extra 2 points for the dominant execution employed by the100th ranked guy to dispatch the number two ranked player in the world.
The seismic activity generated by that event shook the entire tennis world resoundingly.
Just as an earthquake shifts the earth’s crust causing profound, sometimes devastating changes, so too does a significant loss by a highly seeded player shift the dynamic of a tennis tournament. That’s especially true of this Olympic event which only rolls around once every four years.
It’s not like the professional tour where an athlete will get another chance in a couple of weeks at the next tournament. Uh uh…he/she will have to wait 1,460 days to maybe, and that’s a very tenuous maybe, get another shot. A lot can happen in that span of time that can prevent the chance from even being available again.
Olympic participation is precious because it’s so rare.
On one hand, Berdych’s loss is surprising, but on the other, to me, it’s not.
I’ve previously reasoned that the very nature of the Olympics, where athletes are competing for their country instead of themselves, for national pride rather than individual achievement, for medals instead of dollars, presents ideal conditions for a Rosolian event (huge upset).
That’s what happened to Berdych.
Consider these stats. Berdych is 6′ 5″, weighs 201 pounds, all of which is muscle, is the #7 ranked player in the world and has all the tools to win a slam. Conversely, Darcis is 5′ 10″, weighing in at 161 pounds, soaking wet. Hell, he’s a little guy. Currently ranked 75th in the world, Darcis has won only two minor ATP events with a career record of 46-56.
Who would you put your money on?
Berdych was victimized by a guy who had everything to gain for his country, Belgium, and nothing to lose.
Darcis was flying under the radar. Nobody expected the type performance he produced in his 6-4, 6-4 win.
It’s Olympic motivation, Olympic magic. Athletes become capable of rising above their normal skill level, indeed above their own self-expectations. They become inspired competitors seemingly at times imbued with acutely enhanced abilities.
Prior to the 2012 Wimbledon, I didn’t know who Lukas Rosol was. I do now. So does the entire tennis world.
Prior to the 2012 Olympic games, I didn’t know who Steve Darcis was.
I do now.
Hmm, wonder if Steve Darcis knows Lukas Rosol?