For the second time in two years, Rafael Nadal, shockingly, has been eliminated early, even earlier than last year, actually as early as possible, in first round of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.
Nadal had never lost in the first round of any slam, never.
Belgium’s Steve Darcis is the perpetrator in this “Who Done It” story.
He done it! I saw it. Didn’t believe I was seeing what I was seeing but I truly was seeing what I saw.
Darcis whupped him, and man, he whupped him good! It wasn’t a bludgeoning like Lukas Rosol administered in second round last year, but it was a comprehensive, decisive beating.
There was one thing eerily similar, the look on Darcis’s face. It was a look of sheer confident determination. It was as though Darcis, as did Rosol in 2012, found himself in “the zone,” and once there, adrenaline spikes, the planets align just so, the belief that one is about to do something spectacular becomes absolute and he or she fulfills that destiny.
Surely no one could have seen this coming. It was mind-boggling. I mean, how could the same freaking thing happen to the same guy, at the same tournament, in consecutive years?
I know, I know, of course I know it happens to lots of lower ranked players more often than not. That’s to be expected. But to happen to one of the greatest to ever play the game, a 12-time slam winner, the King Of Clay, the most point hungry, ultra-competitive, never-say-die player of this era, is almost incomprehensible.
Listen, Steve Darcis may be ranked 135th in the world but he is the same Steve Darcis that stunned Tomas Berdych in the 2012 Olympics. He was ranked 75th then, Berdych number seven in the world.
I’m just saying…the guy had upset potential.
After having watched the match twice in it’s entirety, it remains unclear to me if Nadal’s knee contributed to this years’ defeat. I suppose to some extent, it’s always a factor. If not, it wouldn’t be taped. To what degree, if any, it influenced the outcome maybe remains to be seen. If Rafa is again forced to the sidelines for multiple months, I suppose we’ll have an answer.
Honestly, to my eyes, and they were bugging out of my skull witnessing the improbable event unfold, it didn’t appear that Nadal’s movement was compromised. I did see him shake the faulty appendage once or twice but several seconds later he was in an all-out ball-whacking-turf-sprinting war for a single freaking point.
What I do feel I detected at 3-3 in the second, was an unfamiliar look of resignation on Nadal’s face. It was a look of, “Oh s**t, here we go again!” It was as though he was thinking about last year.
Even worse, it was as though he thought he would lose and that just ain’t Rafa-like…not in the least.
Regardless, I do think this loss is a particularly demoralizing psychological blow for Nadal from which some recovery will be required. However, he is a soldier and soldiers continue to march. They find the will to extract something positive from adversity. That’s what fuels them to return to battle and fight on.
I think Nadal will bounce back and I don’t think it will be from another seven-month hiatus.
I believe that.
I hope I’m right.