Rafael Nadal called for a sense of perspective but his conqueror Lukas Rosol hailed a “miracle” after one of the most startling Wimbledon upsets under the Centre Court roof.
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Two-time champion and second seed Nadal was heavy favourite against the world number 100 from the Czech Republic, but instead found himself knocked out in round two. He was beaten in five sets by the man from Brno, never managing to show the form that has earned him 11 grand slam titles and over £32million in prize money.
Nadal had reached eight of the last nine grand slam finals, but for Rosol this is just the second time he has reached the third round of a slam in largely nomadic career. He said: “It is a miracle for me – I never expected this.”
Nadal was phlegmatic afterwards, despite slumping to his worst grand slam return since a second-round Wimbledon defeat to Gilles Muller seven years ago. He said: “I am very disappointed, sure. It’s painful because it’s always tough to lose.
“But you play against an inspired opponent and you are out. That’s all. It is not a tragedy, only a tennis match. At the end, that’s life. There is much more important things. Sure, I wanted to win, but I lost. That’s it.”
A clearly frustrated Nadal, a winner at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, had looked ill at ease all match. He complained to the umpire about Rosol’s movement when preparing to receive serve, claiming it was “not fair”, while he was also animated when the players were asked to leave the court to allow the roof to be closed at the end of the fourth set.
The Majorcan was unwilling to offer excuses in the aftermath, though, only adding that he was unhappy with the amount of time – nearly 45 minutes – that it took to close the roof. He said: “I was surprised. My feeling is that it is a completely new stadium with a new roof. The normal thing is to cover the roof in five or 10 minutes. That was my thought.
“It’s too simple to say he was too good. In the fifth set he played more than unbelievable, but the bad thing of this is anything that I will say now will sound against me. Now is not the right moment to say what happened out there because it’s going to sound like an excuse.
“I never want to put an excuse out after a match like today. But the umpire said a few things that weren’t right.”
Nadal also gave a nod towards needing rest, with Wimbledon coming after a gruelling clay-court season that saw him win a record seventh French Open title just 18 days ago. He carefully ruled Rosol out of challenging for the title, though, asking: “How old is he? Twenty-six. He didn’t in the past.”
The Press Association
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