HE may be the King of Clay, but Rafael Nadal tasted bitter defeat on the green grass of Wimbledon. Nadal fell victim to the giant killing act of world number 135, Steve Darcis, in what was the shock of the first round, and quite likely will be the upset of the tournament.
Perhaps he came into the game lacking match sharpness having not played a competitive match since his record beating eighth win on the clay at The French Open. He has been dubbed the King of Clay because of his near invincible form on the surface, particularly since his return from injury.
It was the Spaniard’s first competitive game on grass since his second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon last year. That defeat marked the start of a seven month injury lay-off as, it revealed the extent of a knee injury he had suffered.
Playing on Number one court it took two hours and fifty-five minutes for Nadal to lose 7-6(4), 7-6(8) and 6-4 to the little known Belgian.
Now Roger Federer has an even better chance of matching Nadal’s record of eight Grand Slam singles titles at the same tournament. Federer already has seven Wimbledon singles titles and is chasing his eighth to draw level with the Spaniard’s number of French Open titles.