The date was July 28, 2012 and Rafael Nadal had just stepped out onto the famous Wimbledon Centre Court for what was expected to be a routine second round encounter.
Fast forward a few hours and Nadal’s Wimbledon dream lay in tatters around him as a shell shocked crowd raucously applauded the world number 100, Lukas Rosol.
Rosol absolutely tore Rafa to shreds under Centre Court’s new roof, landing vicious winner after vicious winner. It is not as though Nadal played poorly either, Rosol was just on another planet on the day.
Tim Henman, who was working as a pundit on the night, was simply blown away by Rosol’s magnificent performance.
“It was a freak performance. It didn’t matter who was at the other end. Nadal was doing all he could to stay in the rallies and make life difficult but Rosol was too good.” said Henman.
It was a night that was expected to kick-start what had been a stuttering career for the 26-year-old Czech who displayed a level of power and precision that left Nadal absolutely helpless.
It all began to look rather good for Rosol in the aftermath of the Nadal humbling as he soared up the rankings in the months that followed.
Eventually, when he and Nadal met again in the same place two years later, he was ranked amongst the top 50 players in the world.
Once again he gave the beligerent Spaniard quite a fright, although Nadal managed to overcome him after losing the first set.
Nonetheless, Rosol was on course for what looked to be a very successful few years as he moved inside the top 30 only months later.
Since 2014 however, things simply have not gone to plan for Rosol who has experienced an alarming decline since Nadal disposed of him in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Jump to 2018, and his career is a sad state of affairs really.
Rosol finds himself ranked 276 in the world and plying his trade on the ATP Challenger Tour.
He has been knocked out in the first round in his last two tournaments, and has won just $4,537 on tour all year.
Having made just one quarter-final in 2018, Rosol’s career is lurching from one disappointment to the next.
It really is a far cry from that famous night at SW 19 that looked certain to light the fuse on an explosive career.
Perhaps it really was a once in a lifetime performance.
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