The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

Nadal scalp more bitter than sweet memory for ‘Shark’ Darcis

Related

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 24, 2013 Belgium’s Steve Darcis celebrates beating Spain’s Rafael Nadal during their men’s first round match on day one of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament at the All England Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 24, 2013. – Beating Spanish legend Rafael Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon in 2013 should have been a happy memory to live off for the rest of his life, but for Steve Darcis it was bittersweet. 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. (Photo by CARL COURT / AFP)

Beating Spanish legend Rafael Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon in 2013 should have been a happy memory to live off for the rest of his life, but for Steve Darcis it was bittersweet.

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.”

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 24, 2013 Belgium’s Steve Darcis (L) shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal (R) after Darcis won their men’s first round match on day one of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament at the All England Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 24, 2013. – Beating Spanish legend Rafael Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon in 2013 should have been a happy memory to live off for the rest of his life, but for Steve Darcis it was bittersweet. 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. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)


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.


Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

No comments yet