For the second consecutive year, Rafael Nadal, surprisingly, shockingly, eerily, has been eliminated from the 2013 Wimbledon Championships early, very early, the earliest possible time, first round.
Nadal has won a grand total of one match in the last two years at the All-England Club. That fact is mind boggling. I’m speaking of one of the greatest players of this era, a two-time Wimbledon champion, unequivocally the greatest clay court player ever, the seventh man in history to have won all four slams. It bares repeating. This man, this living legend has won a single match at Wimbledon in the last two years.
As though that alone was not astonishing enough, the two men to have banished him were both ranked outside of the top 100 players on the planet.
In 2012 Lukas Rosol defeated Nadal in a fashion unimaginable prior to it’s occurrence. It wasn’t simply a defeat, it was a masterpiece of utter domination. Rosol hit every ball with almost reckless abandon yet stunning precision. The look in Rosol’s eyes was one of calm resolve, as though he knew that his destiny, his improbable victory on that day was a foregone conclusion.
How could it have happened? The only plausible explanation is that while Nadal may have not been 100% physically, Lukas Rosol, on that day, at that period in time was “In The Zone.”
This year the vanquisher was non-other-than Steve Darcis, the same man who pulled a stunning upset of Tomas Berdych in the 2012 Olympics. Berdych was an overwhelming favorite to win. I’m sure a few bookies were forced into a career change after that one and even more bit the dust after this years’ first-round defeat of Nadal.
But the mayhem didn’t stop there, not even remotely. The greatest player of all time, “The Maestro,” “The Man,” defending champion, Roger Federer was eliminated in the second round.
Yes, it’s true.
The unthinkable did happen this Wednesday past. The victor was 135th ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky. Ever heard of him? I hadn’t but I have now. This guy took the game to Federer. A shocked Federer was continually pressured by a net-rushing, precise volleying, diving daredevil.
I’ve maintained that Radek Stepanek is one of, if not the best practitioner of the all-but-lost art of serve/volley.
Move over Radek, you’ve got company.
Stakhovsky masterfully disrupted Federer’s rhythm. The guy was everywhere. But whenever the opportunity presented itself, it was a one-man charge of the light brigade. The great Fed seemed unable to counter.
The first week got more and more freaky. Players were dropping like flies. The most notable of several additional casualties on the men’s side was the injury to and subsequent loss of Tsonga.
And NO, it didn’t stop there. On the women’s side, in the “freaky first weeky,” both the numbers two and three seeds suffered “wicked flops” to the turf that ended their participation in the remainder of the tournament.
It’s definitely been interestingly bizarre for sure, almost spooky.
In fact, creepy is exactly what the first week has been and I know why.
Have you not noticed how smoothly Andy Murray is moving thru unscathed by injury or upset-minded upstarts? He’s got help and not just from coach Lendl. No, it’s a far more supernatural sort of help.
It’s Fred Perry! Well not Perry himself but his devilishly devious ghost.
Scoff and laugh if you want but I’m telling you, after 77 years of a male British player, since Perry himself, not winning Wimbledon, his spirit is highly irritated.
So, he’s haunting this championship.
At 3-3 in the second set, Nadal certainly looked as though he’d seen a ghost or something. He clearly was markedly unsettled. His normal exterior aura of unflappable determination seemed damaged. There were fewer exclamations of “Vamos,” fewer fist pumps.
Tsonga injured and out.
The great Fed out in the second round.
Yet again…boo! and double boo!!
And all the while Andy is conveniently moving coolly along.
I’m telling ya, Fred “poltergeist” Perry is rattling chains, clacking bones together, whipping up a bit of wind to blow a ball out that should have landed in, or in that should have been out, wetting down the turf under specific players feet just enough for a costly slip when they can most ill afford it…you know, it’s a good old fashion ill-boding preternatural intervention.
Hey, 77 freaking years and the living couldn’t get it done. A little help from the “other side,” well why not?
I know, I know, sounds nuts huh? But if Murray wins with all that has transpired to seemingly pave his path to the championship, well…
What about Maria and Vika you ask? They have nothing to do with Murray’s chances. Okay, I agree. Maybe ghost Perry figured, “Well hell, Serena is gonna win anyway and one of those two poor girls would probably end up being the victim, I’ll just spare them further humiliation.” So down they went. If it had been one of the two, then I could consider it coincidence, but both…no way.
The only thing that could make this tournament totally outlandish would be if Serena were to lose. It would certainly give ghost Perry something more to cackle about while he’s casting spells on those men most dangerous to a Murray victory.
Though I think Jerzy Janowicz is a very dangerous floater, Djoker is the most serious threat. He’s playing great ball, really great ball.
As well as he’s playing, it would take some serious chain rattling, bone clacking, sudden mysterious chilly winds and slippery turf, but based on the first week of pandemonium, I think it’s doable.
“Cripes, what was that? I could of sworn…”
“Damn, sure is chilly in here. Maybe it’s just the AC.”
“But, but it’s not even on!”