WIMBLEDON – They always happen, the seemingly unfathomable upsets. It happened to seven-time champion Pete Sampras back in 2002 at Wimbledon on the old Graveyard Court when an unknown Swiss George Bastl shocked him 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.
And on Thursday night at Wimbledon a totally unknown the same age as Nasal, Lukas Rosol, who had just played in nine Grand Slam matches in his career to 188 from Nadal, blew through the two time Wimbledon champion 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the second round,
The 100th ranked Rosol compared his upset of Nadal to a B-level soccer team from Czech Republic beating Real Madrid.
“Where is this match in my career? It’s the highest,” he said. “Never, never happened to me. Also, Wimbledon Centre Court, I didn’t expect it. I was going on the court before just to see how it’s looks like, everything, how many people is there. still don’t believe it a little bit. ”
Rosol simply murdered the ball and hit right through the Spaniard with booming serves and hard flat groundstrokes and returns. For most of the night, Nadal was on his heels. After he grabbed the fourth set in stellar fashion, the light began to die, the roof was closed (it took a good 40 minutes for the men to return to play), Rosol came back and belted 90mph plus returns to break he 11-time Slam champ. Then he sat on his lead, focused hard and smoked aced after ace, winning the contest at loves with three booming ones.
“Maybe [the fear] was inside,” he said I closed it inside. I just don’t want to show him what is in me. In the fifth set, I didn’t feel anything. I was just so even much concentrate on myself, and it works.”
He finished the contest with 65 winners, 29 unforced errros, and 22 aces, winning 76 of 92 first serve points. While those may just appear to be pretty numbers, consider this: Nadal nailed 41 winners and committed 16 unforced, which means that the tall Czech had to play a superior brand of ball all the way through.
After undergoing the most stunning loss in his hallowed Wimbledon career to Baste, Sampras sat for what seemed like an eternity on Court 2, staring at his racket face, playing with his strings and trying to figure out the labyrinthine house of mirrors that has become his career.
“You just sit there, you’re a little bit numb,” Sampras said after his second round defeat. “I kind of felt lost.”
Nadal did not look lost, just stunned that a guy who had a career record of 19-32 could lay at that level against some one with a 583-212 record. But he did and has been said so often when it comes to Nadal on fast courts (and yes Wimbledon is still quite quick, especially on a hot day and even more so when the rood is closed): when Nadal groundstrokes, second serves returns are landing short he is vulnerable to flat hitters. His sporadic play cost him.
He was a bit upset, but took it in perspective because the man understands sports and realizes that no one wins every time and everyone takes odd losses. While Nadal has won Wimbledon twice and reached he final two other times, he s not the dominator on grass that he is on clay.
“Playing in this surface these kind of matches can happen,’ he said. “Today happened, and I didn’t have the right inspiration in the first three sets in a few points. To win these kind of matches I must have this inspiration in that moments; I didn’t. Later was impossible, no? That’s happens when you play against a player who is able to hit the ball very hard, hit the ball without thinking and feeling the pressure.
At the end, when the opponent wants to play like he wanted to play in the fifth, you are in his hands, no? Everything was going right for him in the fifth…I not gonna say in the point of my career today the only thing that going to work for me is the victory, but more or less. So I was very far to win the tournament. I just was in the second round. That’s painful, because always is tough to lose. 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. Is not a tragedy. Is only a tennis match. At the end, that’s life.
Sampras’ loss could be said to be more surprising because he fell to a lucky loser ranked No. 145 who had never won a grass court match prior to Wimbledon. Bastl was a 27-year-old journeyman without much firepower or brilliance.
The difference between these two stunners was that when the 31-year-old Sampras left 2002 Wimbledon he hadn