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Nadal Stunned in First Round of Wimbledon

By Andrew Goodman

To me, the most exciting aspect of sports is the unpredictability of a game. While there may be a favorite to win a game, nobody can ever be sure. You can run statistics, ask the experts or even the players themselves, but nobody can definitively predict a winner. In this case, close to nobody did.

On the opening day of Wimbledon, Steve Darcis defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Darcis was ranked 135th yet prevailed over the 5th ranked Nadal. The tennis world was shocked by this upset victory, as it is the first time Nadal was knocked out of a Grand Slam event in the first round. Nadal is now 37-1 in the first round of these events, and will surely never forget this one loss.

Darcis, a relatively unknown tennis player defeated Nadal, a former two-time Wimbledon champion in three straight sets. The first two sets were both close, but Darcis prevailed 7-6 (4) in the first set and 7-6 (8) in the second. In the final set, Darcis put Nadal away 6-4. Darcis was even surprised by his victory, claiming that "Rafa Nadal didn't play his best tennis today."

Going into today's match, Nadal had a 22-match winning streak and had already eliminated one of the Big For of men's tennis. Nadal recently won his eighth championship at the French Open just one month ago, but today did not play like any type of champion. The last time a player lost at Wimbledon in the first round after winning the French Open was in 1997, when Gustavo Kuerten was ousted in the first round. This loss comes just a year after Nadal was upset last year at Wimbledon in the second round by 100th ranked Lukas Rosol.

Darcis is the lowest ranked opponent to beat Nadal since Joachim Johansson defeated him in 2006. Johansson was ranked 690th, so some may consider that lose far more upsetting, but it wasn't on a stage as big as Wimbledon. Darcis claimed that part of the reason Nadal played so poorly was that he had not prepared on a grass court, and "the first match on grass is always difficult."

To emphasize just how big of an upset this match is, let's take a look at the two player's resumes entering today's match:

Steve Darcis

Rank: 135

Highest Rank: 44 (May 12th, 2008)

2013 Record: 2-6

Career Record: 72-80

Career Titles: 2

Career Earnings: $1.75 million

Rafael Nadal

Rank: 5

Highest Rank: 1 (August 18th, 2008)

2013 Record: 43-2

Career Record: 626-124

Career Titles: 57

Career Earnings: $55.74 million

As you can see, all of the numbers made Nadal the easy favorite, but these types of matches are what makes sports great. Once the ball is in play, anything can happen!

What do you think of Nadal's loss? Can he just brush it off, or is he losing his touch? Comment below!