Nadal sent packing in first round at Queen's, Wawrinka and Murray win
Just when it seemed safe for Rafael Nadal devotees to peer up from behind the sofa the Spaniard suffered a horror show at the hands of Ukrainian spin wizard Alexandr Dolgopolov at Queen's Club on Tuesday.sports Updated: Jun 17, 2015 00:34 IST
Just when it seemed safe for Rafael Nadal devotees to peer up from behind the sofa the Spaniard suffered a horror show at the hands of Ukrainian spin wizard Alexandr Dolgopolov at Queen's Club on Tuesday.
Former world number one Nadal looked rejuvenated last week when he won the Stuttgart grasscourt title having endured a title-less run on his beloved European claycourts and arrived at the Aegon Championships with a spring in his step.
But the form the 14-times grand slam champion displayed in Stuttgart was only fleetingly in evidence as he went down 6-3 6-7(6) 6-4 in the first round to a player ranked 79th in the world.
Despite a dispiriting loss in front of Spain's former king Juan Carlos, who was sat in the front row, the 29-year-old tried to remain positive with Wimbledon a little under two weeks away.
Nadal's early loss at the traditional Wimbledon warm-up event means his chances of climbing back into the top eight of the ATP rankings from his current 10th spot in time for the All England Club fortnight are gone.
Nadal, 29, said he would most likely return home to Mallorca, satisfied with his preparation for Wimbledon where he will bid for a third title having been champion in 2008 and 2010.
"I never played more than this (on grass) before Wimbledon," the Spaniard told reporters. "The year I played five matches, that was the year that I won (at Queen's) in 2008 and this year I already had five matches.
"There is nothing very negative. I won a tournament last week. This week I lost an opportunity, but, my feeling, my thoughts are no different today than yesterday.
"I am better, I am playing better than before and enjoying more on court than before."
Barring withdrawals, however, Nadal is unlikely to be seeded in the top eight at Wimbledon, meaning a potentially nightmarish draw.
The big guns could await in the last 16 and he might want to avoid Dolgopolov too.
Nadal never really got to grips with the spins the Ukrainian can conjure and when he did get a chance to claim victory, his own gremlins returned to haunt him.
"Games on grass are like this," he said. "I was a break up in the third, and then he played some good points. I missed a few balls. Then especially with the 30-40, 4-4, one forehand I missed and that's it.
"I didn't play a bad match. I played a great second set and I was playing a good third.
"But at the end, he played well and he was a little bit better than me. That's all that I can say today."
Second seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who claimed Nadal's French Open crown this month with a memorable defeat of Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros immediately hit top gear when he swatted away Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-3 6-4 in 49 minutes.
Wawrinka will face big-serving South African Kevin Anderson on Wednesday.
Top seed and home favourite Andy Murray got in the Wimbledon spirit by donning a pristine all-white kit in a 6-4 7-5 defeat of Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun, a player he beat on the way to winning the title at the All England Club in 2013.
Also on the menu at the select west London club was defending champion Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria who completed a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over American Sam Querrey, the 2010 winner, after bad light stopped their match the day before.