Defending Wimbledon champion and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal lost his first match on grass this season at Hurlingham Club to Lleyton Hewitt with a 6-4, 6-3 scoreline and sent his worshippers into a delirium.
He was hampered by injury after the French Open and was treated for tendinitis, which forced him to pull out of the Queen's.
Hewitt was attacking Nadal from the word go, and he broke Nadal in the fifth to gain a 3-2 lead. With one break of serve, he seized the first set 6-4. Hewitt broke Nadal in the second set to a 4-3 lead and went on to win the set and the match when Nadal hit a backhand volley out.
Nadal is now going to face Stanislas Wawrinka on Friday at the same club to check whether he would be available for Wimbledon. When asked about the chances of Nadal defending the title, his coach and mentor Toni Nadal replied, "If it's me, I'm (flying) to Mallorca."
That statement from the coach does not augur well for his nephew and his chances for the defense of the title.
The news from Nadal's camp is grim, and it will not be a surprise if Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon in a bid to save his career, ending all the speculation.
Nadal was seen playing the match without tape, and he had given himself a chance to see the mileage of his un-taped knees before the most prestigious of tournaments, which commences on Monday.
The news has been leaking for quite some time now, and it should please the tournament sponsors and the fans should he manage to win few matches with his presence at SW19.
The Swiss native had a fairy tale run at the French Open, and it is very likely that it would continue at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The probability of him playing two five-set matches if he makes it to the finals, like he did in the French Open, is very unlikely since this is the tournament where he most relishes to win any number of times.
It is a much-needed boost to every player on the circuit, not to mention the Federer supporters, who wish to see their man unparalleled and unrivalled when it comes to matching records and being anointed as the Greatest of All Time.
While one section of the supporters should be seen seemingly confident of their man clocking a 15th Grand Slam, the other section of the supporters are left wondering why Toni and his camp allowed Nadal to continue playing tournaments in the clay season.
It is high time Toni Nadal and his contingent really address the problem that his nephew has and see he could long a bit longer than his knees would permit him.
Till the official news arrives from the Spanish camp, Rafael Nadal, his fans, sponsors, and the officials could not do anything other than keep their fingers crossed.
A premature career termination of one the fiercest competitors that the tennis world has ever seen is the last thing that any tennis fan would have wished.
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