London: Twelve-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal crashed to one of the most humiliating defeats in Wimbledon history at the hands of Belgium's world number 135 Steve Darcis on Monday. (Agencies)
Journeyman Darcis clinched a shock 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 win to condemn the fifth-seed Spanish superstar to a first ever loss in the opening round of a major. It also came just two weeks after Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion, had celebrated a record eighth French Open title.
The sensational result was the first time since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997 that a French Open champion had lost in the opening round at Wimbledon. Nadal's last loss to such a low-ranked player was to Joachim Johansson, the world 690, at the 2006 Stockholm Open.
The defeat, which followed Nadal's second round shocker at the hands of Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic at last year's Wimbledon, brought to an end his 22-match winning streak in 2013.
Darcis, 29, and nicknamed 'Shark', had come into Wimbledon with just two wins under his belt on the tour all year. "Nobody was expecting my win today. I don't know what to say. I'm really happy," said Darcis, who has now matched his best performance at the All England Club having reached the second round in 2009.
"OK, Nadal didn't play his best tennis, but I knew the first match on grass is always difficult. For me it is a big win.
"I tried to come into the net, it worked pretty good. "He lost early last year as well, but if you try to focus on him it is tougher. I try to focus on myself and I think I did great on Monday. "I always played good on grass, maybe not here because I had tough draws, but I have two wins against top 10 players on grass."
London: Twelve-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal crashed to one of the most humiliating defeats in Wimbledon history at the hands of Belgium's world number 135 Steve Darcis on Monday.