Steve Darcis, 29, the relatively unknown Belgian, has performed the first and likely to be the biggest upset at the 2013 Wimbledon Championship by defeating World No. 4, Rafael Nadal, in straight sets.
Nobody was expecting my win today. OK, Rafa didn’t play his best tennis today, but I knew the first match on grass is always difficult…I tried to do what I like to do, come to the net as soon as I can, not play too far from the baseline…I think I did great today…I think I don’t know what to say right now I’m really happy.
Here’s what you need to know about this underdog…
1. Darcis is Ranked 135 in the World
The highest ranking he ever achieved was 44 back in 2008.
2. He Has Entered the History Books After Beating Nadal Today
He defeated Rafa Nadal today at Wimbledon, just weeks after Nadal won the French Open.
3. He Became a Top 100 Player Six Years Ago
He first joined the Top 100 in the world by winning the Dutch Open in 2007.
4. He Has Already Equaled His Best Ever Wimbledon Performance
He has only made the second round of Wimbledon once before, in 2009. Before today, he had won just a single Wimbledon match. Though during the 2012 Olympics, Darcis beat Thomas Berdych on the Wimbledon courts.
5. Darcis Earns a Small Fraction of What Nadal Makes in a Year
In 2012 Darcis made just over $300,000 in prize money, whereas Nadal made nearly $5 million, not to mention the extra $25 million Nadal picks up in endorsements.
6. His Next Opponent is Lukasz Kubot
He will go on to play Lukasz Kubot, a Polish player ranked 99 in the world, in the second round.
7. Darcis’ Best Ever Grand Slam Performance Was in 2011
Darcis’ best ever performance at any Grand Slam event was making the third round of the French Open in 2011.
8. He Spoiled Nadal’s Comeback Party
This was supposed to be Nadal’s glorious return to Wimbledon after injury ruined the tournament for him last year when he lost in the second round to Lukas Rosol, the Spanish star said yesterday:
I was not ready to play here [in 2012]. That’s the real thing. I play with an infiltration (painkilling injection) from the first day,” Nadal, seeded five this year, told reporters after practising on Saturday.
Last year I played here because it’s a tournament that I love. I tried my best. But after Roland Garros my knee was not there any more. After here I was not able to compete in one more tournament during the rest of the season.
The Independent reports on today’s events:
There was a suspicion that Nadal’s knee injury contributed to the defeat, but tough he developed a limp late on for most of the match it was more a case of his not appearing to trust his knee’s fitness on a surface which it is hard for him to slide on.
9. Darcis is a Major Sports Fan
Darcis is a fan of Lebron. He also enjoys fishing in his spare time, and is a major soccer fan of Belgium’s biggest team, Anderlecht.
If anybody criticizes lebron as a player next season or questions his ability to be clutch, they are instantly void of any credibility
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) June 21, 2013
10. His Idol Growing Up Was Pete Sampras
Though playing primarily on clay, Darcis says he regards himself as a better player on grass, though he won his first ATP title while playing on a clay surface. Darcis lists his other tennis heroes as fellow-Belgians, Olivier Rochus, Xavier Malisse and Kristof Vliegen.
His trainer is also Belgian, Reginald Willems, and his father, Alain, works as a tennis coach.
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