Rafael Nadal reached five Wimbledon finals between 2006 and 2011 in as many trips to London, winning two titles and losing finals to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard was a player to beat at the All England Club in 2008 and 2010, beating Federer in that memorable 2008 final and knocking down Tomas Berdych two years later to regain the title.
Nadal was in another title match in 2011, seeking a third crown against a top-form Novak Djokovic, who ousted him in four sets to claim his first Wimbledon trophy. That was the last notable Wimbledon for Rafa in over half a decade, struggling to find proper form on grass in the years that followed and picking up just eight wins between 2012 and 2017!
Speaking of those dark years at the most prestigious Major, Rafa said his worst performances in London came in 2012 and 2013, when he shouldn’t have played Wimbledon but wanted to try. After five straight finals, Nadal suffered a shocking second-round loss in 2012 against world No.
100 Lukas Rosol, who won 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in three hours and 18 minutes. Playing all or nothing from start to finish, the Czech picked up Rafa’s pace, earning two more points and dominated the World No. 2 with a single break early in the decider.
Nadal had the lead after the fourth set, but they had to leave the court for a while and continue indoors due to darkness. Rosol recovered his best tennis and only gave up three service points to achieve the best win of his career.
A year later, Nadal would finish No. 1 for the year, but that honor didn’t come as a reward for a deep run at Wimbledon. Hitting rock bottom, Rafa suffered elimination in the first round against world no. 135 in the world, Steve Darcis, who surprised him 7-6, 7-6 and 6-4 in just under three hours.
Rafael Nadal’s retirement is not just around the corner
Rafael Nadal’s retirement is not around the corner anytime soon, considers Toni, the Spaniard’s uncle. «In his mind, he is not retiring for now. Another thing is what the doctors say or that he has more pain than what he touches,» he said, reconstructed from various sources.
«The moment is still good and if he is fit, he will continue. In the end it is a difficult fight against a great champion like Djokovic. Overcoming Djokovic is difficult because Djokovic is fresher than him,» he said. «He will have options at Roland Garros and after France. We’ll see.»