OMG. Can you believe the upset!? Sara Errani knocked out of the first round of Wimbleodon to a Puerto Rican teenager named Monica Puig? Okay, maybe that one’s not going down as the biggest upset in history, but it did underline one very obvious and important thing to remember: We’re not on clay anymore. (As did Hewitt’s upset of Stan Wawrinka. . .)
If Sara’s loss hinted that the clay/grass transition isn’t really as easy as we’ve gotten used to viewing it these past few years Rafa’s shocking loss to No. 135 Steve Darcis of Belgium proved beyond a doubt that surface still matters. Which is a bit ironic, since Rafa, himself, having pulled off the Roland Garros/Wimbledon double twice in his career already, seemed to prove the conspiracy theorists were right and that all the surfaces were being dumbed down to resemble one medium-slow hard court. To put it bluntly, knees or no knees, I don’t think Rafa would have folded so quickly on the red stuff.
I’m still a bit shocked. That was the kind of loss that made me wonder if Rafa had considered not playing Wimbledon at all. He looked deflated, slow, confused. I know we’ll be hearing about the knees soon, though Rafa refused to fess up to any injuries today – I’m assuming that his health was at least part of the story, no offense to Darcis. Rafa pointed to another obvious reason he lost today – someone had to. Such is sport. It’s easy to get lulled into thinking that first rounds simply exist to give the Rogers and Marias of the world a chance to preview their new duds. (Looking good, Rog, BTW.) Did anyone else sense a bit of satisfaction in Rafa’s responses in today’s press conference: “Why don’t you people listen? I TOLD YOU I could lose!” It’s funny, but also true.
That’s all I got for now – running off somewhere and will have to report back later. But what a way to start the fortnight, hey? What’s next?