Shock defeat for Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon
Nadal stunned by world number 100
LONDON — Rafa Nadal suffered a stunning loss at Wimbledon on Thursday, stopped in his tracks by unknown Czech Lukas Rosol who played the match of his life to cause one of the biggest upsets in grand slam tennis.
Just as the men’ game was getting used to the metronomic progress of big three Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer to every grand slam semi-final, Nadal was stunned 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4 by world number 100 Rosol in the second round.
The world number two, who had reached the Wimbledon final the last five times he played at the All England Club and won the title twice, came up against an inspired opponent who struck a succession of outrageous winners to complete victory under the closed roof on Centre Court.
“In the fifth set he played more than unbelievable,” Nadal told a news conference. “First three sets I didn’t play well.
“It wasn’t the best decision for me to close the roof but I have to accept it and he came back to play unbelievable in the fifth.
“He is able to hit the ball very hard without feeling the pressure so everything was going right for him in the fifth. I am very very disappointed.”
The lanky Rosol was gracious in victory although there seemed to be some bad feeling during the match when the players collided at a changeover.
“So many emotions and I am really happy for this and I still don’t believe it because it is just like a dream for me,” the Czech said. “I never expected something like this. I was just hoping to play three good sets. I am very sorry for him but I played my best match ever. It means so much for me.”
Asked later about his run-in with Nadal, Rosol said: “I was as surprised that he can do it on the Centre Court Wimbledon. It’s like something wrong. I didn’t expect it also. Was his choice.
“I thought that he wants to let me go (past the net) first, but then he start to walk fast. I stopped because I didn’t want (him) to (bump into) me. He hit me... I think he just wanted to (ruin) my concentration.
“I knew that he will try something but ... it’s okay.”
Nadal, who won a record seventh French Open title this month, looked on course to reach the third round in routine fashion when he came through a marathon first-set tiebreak 11-9.
But Rosol, who has never gone beyond the third round of a grand slam, broke serve in the opening game of the second set and stunned Nadal with a succession of venomous serves and pinpoint groundstrokes.
Nadal was powerless to stem the tide and was clearly upset by the 26-year-old Czech’s aggressive style but the 11-times grand slam winner dug in to break serve at the start of the fourth set and repeated the feat to level at two sets all.
Officials decided to close the roof to enable the match to be finished and after a half-hour delay the players returned.
Most people expected Nadal to ease through the deciding set but Rosol had other ideas.
The Czech immediately broke serve and continued to subject the world number two to a barrage of big serves and outrageous winners, sealing victory with an ace to set up a third-round match against German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
It was the first time Nadal had lost before the third round of a grand slam since he was beaten by Gilles Mueller in the second round at Wimbledon in 2005.
ROSOL SURPRISED BY NADAL SHOULDER CHARGE
Wimbledon giantkiller Lukas Rosol admitted he was surprised by Rafael Nadal’s uncharacteristic shoulder charge in the third set of his stunning second round triumph over the great Spaniard.
A clearly rattled Nadal, who had played in the last five Grand Slam finals, slumped to his worst defeat at a major in seven years when Rosol, the world 100, clinched an historic 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 Centre Court triumph.
Nadal had become clearly irritated by Rosol’s constant movement during his service motion and made his anger clear to the umpire.
After the Czech had broken for a 2-1 lead in the third set, the two players collided at the changeover.
“I was surprised that he can do it on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. I didn’t expect it, it was his choice,” said the 26-year-old Czech.
“I thought that he wants to let me go first, you know, but then he start to walk fast. I stop because I don’t want to hit me. He hit me, and then three times he apologize. And I say, Okay, okay, okay. It was okay.”
Rosol, whose five previous visits to Wimbledon had all ended in first round defeats in qualifying, believes the incident was Nadal’s way of trying to break his stride as he took an iron grip on the match.
“He wanted to take my concentration. I knew that he will try something. He talked to me a little bit. I think it’s normal somebody do it like this.”
Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, refused to make excuses for his defeat and would not discuss why he had complained to the chair umpire.
“The bad thing of this is anything that I will say now will sound against me,” said Nadal, the 11-time Grand Slam title winner, who captured a record seventh French Open earlier this month.
“So is not the right moment for me to say what happened out there because it’s gonna sound an excuse, and I never want to put an excuse after a match like today. But the umpire say a few things weren’t right.”
Rosol’s triumph won immediate praise from American legend Jimmy Connors, a former Wimbledon champion.
“Rosol wasn’t scared of Nadal tonight, he took ball on the rise & didn’t give a $hit. Had absolutely nothing 2 lose by doing so,” said Connors on Twitter.