The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 24, 2013

Nadal falls in 1st round at Wimbledon to 135th-ranked player

(Continued)

“Not the day to talk about these kind of things,” Nadal said. “I am confident that I will have a good recovery and be ready for the next tournaments.”

Darcis finished the match in style, serving his 13th ace as Nadal failed to chase the ball.

Darcis is the lowest ranked player to beat Nadal at any tournament since Joachim Johansson — ranked No. 690 — defeated the Spaniard in 2006 in Stockholm. Gustavo Kuerten, in 1997, was the last reigning French Open champion to lose in the first round at Wimbledon.

Nadal was coming off his eighth championship at the French Open this month. But on this day he never looked like the player who has won 12 Grand Slam titles and established himself as one of the greatest players of his generation.

Last year, Nadal was ousted in the second round by 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol, a match that finished under the closed roof of Centre Court.

After that loss, Nadal took the rest of the year off to recover from the knee problem, missing the U.S. Open and Australian Open. Since returning to action this year, he had made it to the finals of all nine tournaments he entered, winning seven.

After winning the French Open, Nadal pulled out of a grass-court tuneup in Halle, Germany. He came to Wimbledon without any serious grass-court preparation.

“The opponent played well,” Nadal said. “I had my chances. I didn’t make it. So in grass (it’s) difficult to adapt yourself, to adapt your game. When you don’t have the chance to play before, I didn’t have that chance this year, is tougher. I didn’t find my rhythm.”

Ten years after his first Wimbledon championship, Federer opened play on Centre Court as defending champion and looked right as home as he dismantled Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-0.

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