London: Lukas Rosol is so far down the tennis pecking order, he does not feature in the men’s ATP guide, has a skeleton profile on Wikipedia and was even a total nobody in tennis circles.
He may as well have landed from Mars as far as the Centre Court crowd were concerned but after Thursday it is unlikely Rafael Nadal or any other sports fan will forget the Czech’s name.
Playing a brand of fearless and brash tennis many journeyman dream of but only the brave produce, Wimbledon debutant Rosol caused one of the biggest ever upsets seen on a tennis stage when he jettisoned Nadal in the second round with a heart-pumping 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory.
It left the Spaniard shell-shocked, the crowd stunned and Rosol blinking in disbelief as he added his name to a select band of players who have dared to bring the mighty down to their knees.
Peter Doohan conquered Boris Becker in the second round in 1987, George Bastl tamed Pete Sampras at the same stage in 2002 and Ivo Karlovic felled defending champion Hewitt Lleyton on the opening day in 2003 but Rosol’s heroics surpassed them all as Nadal has been an omnipresent force in the final three days of a Grand Slam.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion featured in the last five Grand Slam finals, made it to the final Sunday at Wimbledon in his last five appearances and along with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, has formed an exclusive club with the trio winning 28 of the last 29 majors between them.
It was against those daunting statistics that Rosol pulled off the unthinkable.
“I still can’t believe it. It’s like dream for me. This is like some B team of a Czech club beating Real Madrid.”
As Rosol sunk to his knees in his moment of glory, Nadal was left to digest his worst showing at one of the four majors for seven years.
“I am very, very disappointed. It is always is tough to lose,” Nadal said. “However, it is not a tragedy. It is only a tennis match.” (reuters)