Rosol: I still don’t believe it
Originally published on: 29/06/12 00:00
Rafael Nadal insisted his shock second round Wimbledon defeat to Lukas Rosol was “not a tragedy” despite being dealt his earliest Grand Slam exit in seven years.
The two-time Wimbledon champion succumbed to a remarkable show of fearless tennis from the little-known Czech, who broke immediately in the fifth set after the Centre Court roof was closed and proceeded to consistently pummel the ball to all corners to see out a 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4 triumph and the biggest win of his life.
“At the end, when the opponent wants to play like he wanted to play in the fifth [set], you are in his hands. Everything was going right for him in the fifth,” said Nadal.
“But, well, that’s sport. You win, you lose. Last four months were great for me. Was probably one of the best four months of my career, playing unbelievable in the clay court season. You arrive here, and a little bit of everything. You play against an inspired opponent and I am out. That’s all. It’s not a tragedy. Only a tennis match.”
Nadal’s last loss this early in a Grand Slam tournament came at the same stage at Wimbledon in 2005, in defeat to Gilles Muller, but this match was all about Rosol. The 6’5” 26-year-old struck 65 winners and didn’t drop a point on his last two service games to see out a historic triumph in three hours and 18 minutes.
“Today I was somewhere else and I’m really happy for this,” said Rosol, who admits he benefited from the delay after the fourth set, in which time the Centre Court roof was closed and he could regroup to contest the decider.
“After the fourth set I had pain a little bit,” admitted Rosol. “I just came to the locker room and I took a shower. I was by physio all the time. When I came on the court I didn't feel anything. I was just like somewhere else and I believe myself and I knew that I could make it.”
Rosol had never won a tour-level match on grass before this year, finally defeating Victor Hanescu and Marcos Baghdatis to get on the board at Queen’s Club, where he fell to eventual champion Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals.
“If I play on grass more I think I can get better,” added Rosol, who, reflecting on his scalp of 10-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, later equated the feat to “some B team in the Czech Republic beating Real Madrid.”