First, it was Rafael Nadal, who didn’t even make it out of the first round, losing to 135-ranked Steve Darcis. It was stunning seeing the third seed Spaniard not even win a set against a dude nobody had even heard of. But even the shock of seeing Rafa get booted out in the first round paled in comparison to what could very well be the most chaotic day at the All-England Club in recent history.
It’s already being called “Bloody Wednesday” and for good reason. In one day, contenders from both the men’s and women’s side all fell by the wayside for one reason or another. Six-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to retire with a knee injury. No. 10 Marin Cilic also retired with a knee injury, although unlike Tsonga, Cilic never even made it to the court. No. 18 John Isner also retired because of, you guessed it, another injured knee.
Even the women’s side wasn’t immune from a topsy turvy Wednesday. The two women who figured to give world number 1 Serena Williams the biggest challenge to a Wimbledon repeat are both out of the tournament. Two seed Victoria Azarenka also withdrew with a knee injury while three seed Maria Sharapova suffered the humiliation of getting whacked out of the tournament after losing to unheralded Michelle Larcher De Brito. Two former world number 1 seeds – Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic – also got eliminated from the tournament.
And then there was Roger Federer.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion put a stunning cherry on top of this unpredictable sundae by losing to 116-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round, abruptly ending a 36-Grand Slam streak of reaching at least the quarterfinals. It was also his earliest defeat at Wimbledon since 2002 and the earliest exit in any Grand Slam event since 2003.
Yep. The last time Roger Federer didn’t make it past the second round of a Grand Slam, LeBron James wasn’t even playing in the NBA yet.
How’s that for mind-blowing?
Then again, “mind-blowing” has become the central theme of the first two rounds of Wimbledon. And if this form continues, we might be in for even more lunacy in the coming rounds.
Get your guards up, Novak and Serena. You two could be next.