Nadal scalp more bitter than sweet memory for ‘Shark’ Darcis
The 35-year-old Belgian didn’t even have time to celebrate the famous scalp of the Spaniard as he suffered a serious shoulder injury which forced him out of the tournament.
Darcis — known as ‘The Shark’ for sporting a tattoo of the predatory fish on his arm — was speaking after he had bowed out of this year’s Wimbledon.
He lost to another Spanish opponent, Roberto Bautista Agut, retiring when 6-3, 6-2, 4-2 and hindered by a lung complaint.
“Yes, it changed my life a lot because the next year I did not play one match,” said Darcis as he reflected on that famous win over Nadal.
“It changed it a lot, not because of the match but the injury.
“Of course it was good to beat Nadal but the rest of the year was so bad. It was just a tennis match and nothing more.”
Darcis, who has won two ATP titles, will hope he gets another chance next year to leave Wimbledon on a happier note.
On Wednesday, he engaged in a heated debate with German umpire Roland Herfel when he was warned for spitting on court.
“He told me not to spit on the court otherwise I would get a fine,” said Darcis.
“Ok if I get a fine I will give the fine to the doctor as I have been there since one week and I am not getting better.
“I don’t think you can say that when you are an umpire. I think he should go home and find another job.”
– ‘Still life in the shark‘ –
Darcis, who reached a career high ranking of 38 in May 2017, said despite fighting back from several injuries down the years, the wear and tear might force him to call it a day come the end of the season.
“I didn’t play last year and it has been tough for me,” said Darcis.
“I try to fight and come back because I like the game. I don’t know if I will still fight.
“Okay I won the first round but I am not here (Wimbledon) to lose the second round.
“I will be back in the top 200 but it is not where I want to be. I will try for a few more months then see if I carry on.”
Darcis, who also played a pivotal role in Belgium reaching two Davis Cup finals (2015 and 2017), said it was all very well for giant 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic to say he thought many players would play into their 40s.
“Karlovic is 2.10m and serves three aces a game, I push my serve and I have to run,” said Darcis.
“If I am Karlovic I can play till 50 years of age; with me it is a bit different.”
Darcis’ style of game was entirely ill-suited to his lung complaint and he had no option but to retire.
“I could not breathe, I was coughing and my head was spinning, it just was not fun,” he said.
“I was not going to run myself into the ground for just a tennis match.”
However, despite the ailment and the thoughts about retirement there was still some fire left in his belly.
“There is still life in the shark,” he said.
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