Rafael Nadal showed why he is known as the King of Clay and not the King of Grass, bowing out of the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament in the first round. A straight set loss to 135th-ranked Belgian Steve Darcis (7/6, 7/6, 6/4) was certainly not on his to-do list, and yet he now has a gaping hole in his schedule. Maybe he has a pre-planned appointment to play some more poker on Pokerstars.
Two years ago, Nadal was defeated by Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon, but this had to have been even harder to swallow, as the fifth seed lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.
When the draws were announced for this year’s Wimbledon, much was made of the path that defending champion Roger Federer would have to take to repeat. As it stood, Federer would have needed to go through both Nadal and last year’s Wimbledon-based Olympics champion Andy Murray. Federer easily made his way through his first round match with a 6/3, 6/2, 6/0 victory over Victor Hanescu in a little over an hour. Murray also won in straight sets, defeating Benjamin Becker 6/4, 6/3, 6/2 and still stands in the way of Federer, but not until much later in the tournament.
After last year’s Wimbledon tournament, Nadal was out of action for seven months due to issues with his knees. When Nadal returned earlier this year, he went on a string of nine straight tournaments where he did no worse than reach the finals. He actually won seven of those tournaments, including claiming the French Open Grand Slam title. Obviously that string of finals appearances is over, so let’s just hope that he does not need to miss the next seven months again.