Rafael Nadal lost in the first round of a Grand Slam for the first time is his career as he went down in straight sets to world number 135 Steve Darcis at Wimbledon
The French Open champion looked out of sorts throughout and never produced any sort of consistency from the back of the court, but a below par performance was compounded by the underdog from Belgium playing brilliantly to secure a 7-6 7-6 6-4 victory.
Darcis served solidly throughout and was regularly troubling Nadal on the Spaniard’s serve, but he could only convert three of eleven in total.
The way in which the 29-year-old dealt mentally with the big points was also astonishing, as he did not get disheartened when squandering set points, especially in the second set tie-break.
Darcis summed up his performance in the game where he served for the match, where one point he chased down a Nadal drop shot to hit a winner when he looked out of the point.
He looked more like the number five seed out of the two and it was fitting he secured possibly the greatest upset ever seen at the All England Club with an ace – his serve being the strongest shot of the match.
However, it cannot be ignored that Nadal was not at 100 per cent and the difficulty his knees were giving him was plainly evident in the third set.
Planting his foot to hit backhands was troubling him greatly and he ran around to the forehand at every opportunity.
Wimbledon were criticised for seeding Nadal fifth, with an expected meeting between him and Roger Federer in the quarter-final had many saying it would be too early.
Federer would not have been worried about facing Nadal on this form, especially as the defending champion looked imperious in swatting aside Victor Hanescu.
Federer hardly had to break sweat to run out 6-3 6-2 6-0 victor and he is looking in the mood to win a record eighth Wimbledon title.
His likely semi-final opponent, Andy Murray, was in similarly ominous form as he dispensed with German Benjamin Becker in straight sets.
The home favourite continued his good form from Queen’s to win 6-4 6-3 6-2 and secure a spot in the next round as he looks to go one better than last year and lift the trophy.
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