Lifestyle & Belief

Rafael Nadal loses to Steve Darcis in the first round at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal has suffered a shocking a first-round Wimbledon defeat to Belgian Steve Darcis.

Nadal, an a dual All England Club champion who just won a record eight straight French Open titles, lost to Darcis, unseeded and ranked 135th in men's singles, in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.

It is the first time Nadal, who was clearly struggling with knee soreness throughout the match against Darcis, has crashed out of the first round of a Grand Slam event.

Darcis, known as The Shark, pounded 13 aces and 53 winners to completely outplay Nadal.

He scored the match point win an ace, CBS reported.

The loss has opened up the draw for title contenders Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Murray, Britain's number one, beat Germany's Benjamin Becker 6-4 6-3 6-2 in his first-round match on Centre Court, the BBC reported.

Nadal was beaten in the second round last season by Czech Lukas Rosol.

Having limped around the court, refusing to use knee pain as an excuse, The New York Times wrote, Nadal — the world no. 5 — said:

"I tried my best. Was not possible. That’s all I can say, just congratulate the opponent. At the end, it’s not a tragedy. That is sport."

Darcis, describing himself as "really, really happy", said:

"Of course, he didn't play his best tennis. But I knew it is the first match on grass for him. Me, I played already four. So I think it helped me today."

Asked about Nadal's questionable fitness, Darcis added:

"Of course, you don't beat Nadal if he's playing his best tennis, I think.