Wimbledon 2012: How Lukas Rosol's Performance for the Ages Took Down Rafa Nadal
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As of 2012, Lukas Rosol had lost five consecutive times at Wimbledon.
In the qualifying tournament. In the first round.
To quantify the outcome of his fiction-like match with world No. 2 and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal as shocking would be an understatement.
As Rosol described to BBC Sport after the match, "...it was like a miracle."
Even this characterization of the match may be undervaluing the superbly valiant effort displayed by the world No. 100 from the Czech Republic.
On paper, Rosol had zero chance. No one could have predicted such an obscenely backwards result. Commentators and experts alike surely all had penciled in Nadal in the third round without a dash of hesitation.
Even Nadal, who always displays unwavering humility, probably had thoughts of a Halle rematch with Philipp Kohlschreiber lingering in the back of his mind.
Rosol himself stated after the match, "I never expected something like this..." It was like "...some B team in Czech Republic beating Real Madrid."
But in this match that truly pitted David vs. Goliath, Lukas Rosol had every intention of unleashing his talents and abilities for the world to witness.
Throughout the duration of the match, Rosol served as a Herculean force unleashing an everlasting onslaught of prodigious blows to the Spaniard.
He stuck to his guns and what mighty guns they proved to be.
Even after a fourth set where the momentum seemed to heavily shift towards Nadal, Rosol kept coming.
Every stroke was hit with same intention—to bypass Nadal and to leave no questions in the process.
I have never seen such a high level of such tantalizingly powerful ball striking from anyone on any stage as what Rosol put forth today.
The unyielding blows off the ground and from the serve was an amazing spectacle to witness. Ripping the cover off the ball with each shot and failing to falter at the most significant of occasions was truly sensational.
Never have I seen such an overwhelming underdog allude such an incredibly high level of confidence and court presence.
At every changeover, Rosol was quick to leave his chair and march swiftly over to his end of the court, bouncing up and down all while maintaining extraordinary amounts of composure and energy—very Nadalesque to say the least.
Stepping inside the baseline and delivering unconscionable levels of power, control and racket-head fluidity to each ball all while maintaining a relaxed and calm aura was authentically awe-inspiring.
How far will Rosol advance at Wimbledon?
And that fifth set.
What a joy to witness.
The level of play Rosol displayed throughout the fourth set was amplified even further. His game was elevated to a condition—one that would seem barricaded by physical and mental impossibilities—necessary to beat Nadal in a fifth set at Wimbledon.
After breaking Nadal in the opening game backed by two purely vicious forehands, he cemented his stamp on the match with dominating holds of serve in the fifth set. The combination of placement and power off the serve intertwined with unstoppable groundstrokes provided Rosol with the confidence to handily serve the match out, hitting three aces in the final game.
The pressure, the occasion, the opponent, the disruptions—none of it bothered Rosol, and made this improbable victory more impressive.
I salute and commend Lukas Rosol for he has just crafted a true masterpiece. While speculation over Nadal's future will assuredly be discussed, this day is undoubtedly about Lukas Rosol, and it would an injustice for it to be any other way.
***Look for my next article detailing how this match is indicative of many of the patterns and trends often overlooked in tennis.***
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