Lifestyle & Belief

Wimbledon 2012: Rafael Nadal loses, for once


Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic (R) shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after sending him out of Wimbledon on day four.


Clive Rose

Rafael Nadal is out of Wimbledon, after losing to Lukas Rosol in the second round.

Nadal of Spain, the world's number-two tennis player and reigning French Open champion, was defeated 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 by his Czech opponent, who is currently ranked 100th.

Probably not for much longer. Rosol, facing the longest of long odds, pulled out a stunning performance, hitting hard and fast from beginning to end of the three-and-a-quarter-hour match.

On just the first of the three match points he lined up in the final game, he finished the business with an ace – his 22nd of the match.

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The New York Times called it "one of the biggest of Wimbledon upsets," noting incredulously that 26-year-old Rosol lost in the first round of qualifying in the last five years at Wimbledon, and had played just three main-draw matches on grass before today.

The Guardian was left similarly speechless, weighing Rosol's achievement by the fact that Nadal has not gone out this early in any Grand Slam for the past seven years.

Rosol himself described his victory as "a miracle." 

"I never expected something like this," he told BBC Sport. "Before the match I was thinking to play three good sets so I don't lose 3-0."

Nadal, meanwhile, said he was "very, very disappointed," but paid tribute to his opponent and put the whole thing into context: "It's not a tragedy, it's only a tennis match."

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