I was going to write up a post about Rafa Nadal’s chances of winning Wimbledon 2013, unfortunately, he lost before I could get started. Who would have thought that Nadal would lose his first round match against Belgian player Steve Darcis, who is ranked 135? Very few people would have put money on that happening, I certainly wouldn’t have.
How bad was Nadal’s loss at Wimbledon?
Considering it was the first round and in straight sets, I would have to say this was one of the most painful losses in his career. It’s painful because this is the first time in his professional career that he’s lost in the first round of a major. Early in his career Nadal has lost in the third and fourth rounds of majors but never the first, surely a major blow to his ego.
If you remember Wimbledon 2012, when Lukas Rosol took out Rafa, Nadal’s exit was less than graceful. The Spaniard was not the most energetic of losers in 2012, but this year he handled it with more balance. He shook hands with Darcis, the chair, and gathered his things; then went to the gallery and signed autographs. Not many, but definitely enough to show he accepted defeat and was not upset with the loss.
Were Nadal’s knees to blame for his loss?
There were a few moments in the match, where Nadal seemed to grimace with pain after missing a ball or hitting an error. Particularly after a few longer rallies where Darcis dictated and moved Rafa sideline to sideline. Not the ideal style of play for a player who’s knees have been the reason why he missed nearly an entire season of tennis.
There were times in the match where I thought Rafa was going to call it a day and retire from the match. He looked like he was in a great deal of pain.
I can’t sit here and say the only reason why Darcis won his opening round match against Nadal was because of a pair of screwed up knees. All credit goes to Darcis, he rallied hard, played some incredible points, and most important, never gave up on himself. He play an incredible match, just so happens that today he played better than Rafa did.
Will Nadal take 7 months off after his 2013 Wimbledon loss?
Last year, when Rafa fell, he took a long seven month vacation off to rehabilitate his knees. Now the biggest question is being asked, “Is Rafael Nadal going to skip the rest of the 2013 tennis season?”
I don’t know what his plans are, but I think he’s going to have to head home and think really hard about what he’s going to do moving forward. If his knees are preventing him from playing a complete game, then he is going to have to look at his exit strategy from professional tennis. He’s not going to be able to continue to do the same thing over and over again; play clay, lose early on grass, skip hardcourt, etc.
Perhaps in 2014, if Nadal does plan on playing Wimbledon again, he should consider playing a grass court tuneup tournament. It just might help him adjust to the conditions.
On a side not, Steve Darcis used the same model tennis racquet that Lukas Rosol used last year when he took out Rafa; the Wilson BLX Six.One 95