25th of June 2013 Author: Johnny Karp
Former Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal suffered a shock first-round exit as world number 135 Steve Darcis achieved one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history. The Belgian player recorded a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 win on Court One to give Nadal his second successive early exit at Wimbledon. It was his first competitive grass match since Lukas Rosol beat him last year. Meanwhile reigning champion Roger Federer had an easy afternoon as he defeated Victor Hanescu 6-3 6-2 6-0.
Nadal, who has just won the French Open title for a record eighth time earlier this month, showed signs he was struggling to adjust to the grass surface in the opening set and Darcis took full advantage of that. Then Nadal rescued four set points in the second set tie-break but failed to capitalise on his own set point and Darcis converted his fifth chance. The Belgian broke in the first game of the final set and then served out for a huge win. Nadal became the first reigning Roland Garros champion to lose in the first round of Wimbledon since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997.
The Spaniard refused to blame it on the knee injury though, he said: "There were not a lot of good things for me. I tried my best all the time I had my chances but I did not make it. It is difficult to adapt your game on grass. Now is not the right time to talk about my knee. The only thing I can do is congratulate my opponent. It is not a tragedy, I lost, it is sport. I'm confident that I will recover and be ready for the next tournaments. I have played far more than I expected after my injury and I will try my best for the next couple of years."
Darcis said: "Rafa did not play his best match here, it is hard when it is your first match on grass. I just wanted to play my own game, coming to the net and not playing far from the baseline. I did not target his knee, tennis is hard enough when you are thinking about yourself. I have always played well on grass, perhaps not here where I have had some tough draws, but I am really happy. I do not know what to say."
With Nadal out of the tournament, here's how the outright tournament win odds at Bet365 are looking at the moment:
Novak Djokovic - 10/11
Andy Murray - 9/4
Roger Federer - 4/1
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 20/1
Juan Martin Del Potro - 40/1
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