When No. 5 Rafael Nadal lost to Steve Darcis on Monday, the world went silent, and then it exploded (figuratively, not literally). If the 2013 Wimbledon results thus far are any indication of what's to come, fans should prepare to restart their computers at a moment's notice—I'm not sure that Twitter can withstand another onslaught of shock:
Nadal's shocking exit isn't the only story fans are furiously tweeting about. On Monday, Roger Federer beat No. 47 Victor Hanescu in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 in only 68 minutes on the gentleman's side. On the ladies' side, 19-year-old Mónica Puig upset another fifth seed Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2, while No. 2 Victoria Azarenka trounced Maria Joao Koehler 6-1, 6-2 despite doing a bit of gymnastics early on in the match.
The big story on Tuesday was 19-year-old Laura Robson. The hometown favorite salvaged the hopes of deflated British fans as she upset No. 10 Maria Kirilenko in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, and was the only British woman to move on to the second round.
The No. 5 Nadal had never lost in the first round of a Grand Slam event up until Monday, where he was defeated by the 135th-ranked Belgian in straight sets. The tweet of the day was surely this one:
The universal view is that Nadal embodied class and humility after the loss, as the main headlines following the match were variations of "Nadal Puts the Gentleman in Gentleman's Singles." Twitter echoed this sentiment:
However, Rafa fanatics could not contain their frustrations:
Rafa Nadal making no excuses for his defeat. Mark of a great sportsman.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 24, 2013
Nadal may refuse to blame his knee for his early departure from the tournament, but the fact that his play thrives on clay and suffers on grass cannot be overlooked. In an interview with David Ornstein and Paul Birch of BBC Sport, three-time Wimbledon champ Boris Becker noted the discrepancy.
"His foot placement wasn't the way it normally is, especially when he had to move. When he was set, he was good. But when he had to move, he wasn't the same and he didn't have that solid base he had on the clay," Becker said.
Then of course Nadal's "conquerer"—how Darcis was deemed by many—withdrew due to injury before his next match (that's a whole other storyline), provoking tweets such as this one:
On the winning side in the first round, while Federer zipping through his match with Hanescu was expected, Puig's victory left many agape (and excited, in Ricky Martin's—yes that Ricky Martin—case), and showed that Puigmania now applies to sports other than baseball:
Puig's are taking over the world!!!! Teen Monica Puig of Puerto Rico serves upset - Yahoo! Sports http://t.co/tZu3dePezx— Toby (@SweetLiverLips7) June 25, 2013
She even got those who are just dabbling in casual fandom interested:
Never paid much mind to tennis. Seeing the superb showing by @MonicaAce93 in Roland Garros and yesterday at Wimbledon has me interested!— A.A-L (@LoSoSpAdEz) June 26, 2013
Robson, on the other hand, ignited her fellow countrymen and women with her win:
Had such a lovely day at Wimbledon! I now want to be Laura Robson #ProudToBeBritish— Hollie Cowell (@hol_94) June 26, 2013
And now she has some of the greats talking about her too. In an interview with Paul Birch of BBC, Martina Navratilova (18 Grand Slam titles) sees a bright future for Robson.
I'd say Laura Robson will go on to be a top-10 player for sure, maybe top five," Navratilova said. "She has got all the goods. It's just a matter of whether she can take it to the next level. You never know whether a player will plateau out or not but it looks to me like she has the potential."
Pat Cash, who won Wimbledon in 1987, agrees. And more:
Just watched a future top 5 and i think a slam winner Laura Robson crush 10 th seed Kirilenko— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) June 25, 2013
The rest of the tournament at this point seems utterly unpredictable. Top-seeded players are dropping left and right, so you might have to adjust your expectations a bit. No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga—who can be thanked for Federer's French Open demise—is another powerhouse who went down. Early fan reactions were regarding actual finished matches, whereas now they are just exasperated with the state of the courts: