Rafael Nadal was sensationally beaten at The Championships on Monday...
Steve Darcis, currently No. 135 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, won 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 on No. 1 Court to give the fifth seed & 12 times slam champion Rafael Nadal his first loss in the first round of a Grand Slam championship in his 35th grand slam appearance.
Darcis, who had never before beaten a Top 5 player, finished the match with his 13th ace. He converted three of his 11 break point opportunities for victory in two hours and 55 minutes.
“Sometimes you play well and you have the chance to win,” said Nadal, who arrived in London six days ago. “Sometimes you play worse and your opponent plays well and you lose. I just want to congratulate Darcis. I think he played a fantastic match. At the end [of the day it] is not a tragedy. That is sport.”
“Two weeks ago I was in a fantastic situation, winning a fantastic tournament (at Roland Garros). Two weeks later, I lost here in the first round. That's the positive and the negative thing about this sport. It is tough losing in the first round.”
The first break of the match came in the 11th game when Nadal lost his serve at 5-all to give Darcis a 6-5 lead but broke back immediately to force a tie-break in the first set. Nadal looked like he might fight back from a 3-6 deficit in the tie-break, but Darcis converted his second set point chance with a forehand volley to win the first set tie-breaker 7-4.
Here are the first set stats :::
The second set again looked like a copy of the first set with the first 10 games going on service, but, this the Spaniard broke the 29 year old Belgian serve for a 6-5 lead in the second set, but this time Darcis recovered to reach a tie-break. Darcis moved into a 6-3 lead, but Nadal won three straight points. Nadal saved his fourth set point at 6-7, but then squandered an 8-7 advantage when he sliced a backhand into the net.
Here are the second set stats
Darcis opened up a 2-0 lead in the third set as he broke the Spaniard broke in the 2nd game. Nadal could have broken back in the eighth game, but struck a backhand into the net and Darcis went on to coolly seal the biggest win of his career.
Here are the 3rd set stats
Clearly, Rafa had a completely off day & there were many points during the match when he just didn't want to take the ball on the backhand side. Rafa Nadal looked physically drained in the 3rd set, may be, his knee was hurting, but in his post match presser, stated diplomatically that he doesn't want to speak about his knees (Scroll down for the interview video).
Darcis is the lowest-ranked player to defeat Nadal at any event since World No. 690 Joachim Johansson at the 2006 If Stockholm Open. Gustavo Kuerten was the last reigning Roland Garros champion to lose in the first round of Wimbledon in 1997.
Nadal, who had reached nine finals in nine tournaments since returning from a knee injury in February, was on a 22-match winning streak. He dropped to a 43-3 match record on the season.
Last year, Nadal lost to Lukas Rosol in the Wimbledon second round.
Coming into The Championships, Darcis lost in the Topshelf Open qualifying round (l. to Bohli). The former World No. 44 had lost in the first round in 12 of his 18 previous major championship appearances.
Scroll down for pictures, video highlights, interview quotes, post match pressers from both players.