London - Twelve-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal crashed to one of the
most humiliating defeats in Wimbledon history at the hands of Belgium's
world number 135 Steve Darcis on Monday.
clinched a shock 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 win to condemn the
fifth-seed Spanish superstar to a first ever loss in the opening round
of a major.
It also came just two weeks after Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion, had celebrated a record eighth French Open title.
sensational result was the first time since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997
that a French Open champion had lost in the opening round at Wimbledon.
Nadal's last loss to such a low-ranked player was to Joachim Johansson, the world 690, at the 2006 Stockholm Open.
defeat, which followed Nadal's second round shocker at the hands of
Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic at last year's Wimbledon, brought to
an end his 22-match winning streak in 2013.
Darcis, 29, and nicknamed 'Shark', had come into Wimbledon with just two wins under his belt on the tour all year.
was expecting my win today. I don't know what to say. I'm really
happy," said Darcis, who has now matched his best performance at the All
England Club having reached the second round in 2009.
"OK, Nadal didn't play his best tennis, but I knew the first match on grass is always difficult. For me it is a big win.
"I tried to come into the net, it worked pretty good.
lost early last year as well, but if you try to focus on him it is
tougher. I try to focus on myself and I think I did great today.
"I always played good on grass, maybe not here because I had tough draws, but I have two wins against top 10 players on grass."
had won 43 of his 45 matches and seven titles since his return to the
tour in February after a seven-month injury lay-off to rest his
notoriously suspect knees.
But the 27-year-old had warned in the
minutes following his historic Paris triumph that he was genuinely
concerned over whether or not his knees would hold up at Wimbledon.
decided not to play a grasscourt warm-up and he looked like a novice on
the surface rather than the man who swept to two Wimbledon titles.
who has never got beyond the third round of a Grand Slam, capitalised
on the Spaniard's crippling uncertainties by sweeping through the first
Nadal had lost the first set in both his opening
rounds in Paris, so this was familiar territory and he broke to lead 6-5
in the second set.
But Darcis bravely hit back in the 12th game
before holding his nerve for a two sets lead on his fifth set point in
the tiebreak as Nadal continued to struggle with his rhythm, his angles
and his confidence.
Darcis broke again for 2-0 in the third set as
Nadal, a shadow of the man who unleashed a constant barrage of pinpoint
groundstrokes to lay the foundation of success in Paris, was half-paced
The Belgian went to 5-3 in the decider and
claimed his famous win after 2hr 55min with his 13th ace of the match
having also fired down 53 winners.
Twelve-time Grand Slam champion
Rafael Nadal crashed to one of the most humiliating defeats in
Wimbledon history Monday at the hands of Belgium's world number 135
Journeyman Darcis clinched a shock 7-6 (7/4), 7-6
(10/8), 6-4 win to condemn the fifth-seed Spanish superstar to a first
ever loss in the opening round of a major.
Darcis next plays Poland's Lukasz Kubot.Results on the first day of Wimbledon (x denotes seeded player):
Steve Darcis (BEL) bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x5) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (10/8), 6-4
Lukasz Kubot (POL) bt Igor Andreev (RUS) 6-1, 7-5, 6-2
Stephane Robert (FRA) bt Alejandro Falla (COL) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5
Benot Paire (FRA x25) bt Adrian Ungur (ROM) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
John Isner (USA x18) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) bt Pablo Andjar (ESP) 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
Dustin Brown (GER) bt Guillermo Garca-Lpez (ESP) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) bt Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x11) 6-4, 7-5, 6-3
Nicolas Almagro (ESP x15) bt Jurgen Zopp (EST) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 7-5
Guillaume Rufin (FRA) bt Marinko Matosevic (AUS) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Radek Stepanek (CZE) bt Matt Reid (AUS) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
Jerzy Janowicz (POL x24) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x30) 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-3, 6-2
Julian Reister (GER) bt Luks Rosol (CZE) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (4/7), 6-4
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Rogrio Dutra Silva (BRA) 6-4, 6-0, 6-4
Roger Federer (SUI x3) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 6-3, 6-2, 6-0
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x6) bt David Goffin (BEL) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-3
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 7-5
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Xavier Malisse (BEL) 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3
Julien Benneteau (FRA x31) bt Tobias Kamke (GER) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-2
Juan Monaco (ARG x22) bt Bastian Knittel (GER) 6-4, 6-2, 6-3
Rajeev Ram (USA) bt Luks Lacko (SVK) 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2
Kenny De Schepper (FRA) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-2
Marin Cilic (CRO x10) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x14) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) bt Albert Montas (ESP) 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) bt Marc Gicquel (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS x20) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-4, 7-5, 7-5
Tommy Robredo (ESP x32) bt Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) bt Jan Hjek (CZE) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) bt James Ward (GBR) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-6 (13/11), 7-6 (7/4)
Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Benjamin Becker (GER) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Monica Puig (PUR) bt Sara Errani (ITA x5) 6-3, 6-2
Silvia Soler (ESP) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1
Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) bt Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-1, 6-3
Eva Birnerov (CZE) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA x26) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Sloane Stephens (USA x17) bt Jamie Hampton (USA) 6-3, 6-3
Andrea Petkovic (GER) bt Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-3, 6-2
Petra Cetkovsk (CZE) bt Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-3, 6-1
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x9) bt Estrella Cabeza (ESP) 6-0, 6-2
Marion Bartoli (FRA x15) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3, 7-5
Christina McHale (USA) bt Alexa Glatch (USA) 6-4, 6-4
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Samantha Murray (GBR) 6-3, 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROM x22) bt Stefanie Vgele (SUI) 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)
Lucie Safarova (CZE x27) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-4, 6-0
Karin Knapp (ITA) bt Lucie Hradeck (CZE) 6-3, 6-4
Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) bt Melanie Oudin (USA) 7-6 (9/7), 1-6, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Petra Kvitova (CZE x8) bt Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) bt Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-4, 6-3
Garbie Muguruza (ESP) bt Anne Keothavong (GBR) 6-4, 6-0
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x25) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-3
Carla Surez (ESP x19) bt Lourdes Domnguez (ESP) 6-2, 6-2
Mirjana Lucic (CRO) bt Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 6-1, 6-4
Eugnie Bouchard (CAN) bt Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Ana Ivanovic (SRB x12) bt Virginie Razzano (FRA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-0
Jelena Jankovic (SRB x16) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-2, 7-5
Vesna Manasieva (SRB) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 3-6, 6-1, 9-7
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL x20) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-5, 6-4
Alize Cornet (FRA x29) bt Vania King (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) bt Tatjana Malek (GER) 6-1, 6-0
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) bt Elena Baltacha (GBR) 6-4, 6-1
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x2) bt Maria Joo Koehler (POR) 6-1, 6-2