Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon may have ended in an early exit to rank outsider Steve Darcis, but the Spaniard remains good value at 6/1 to claim a second US Open crown later this year.
Many pointed to the reoccurrence of his previously-documented knee injury as the key cause of the 27-year-old’s early exit. But rather than point to such excuses following defeat, Nadal was keen to emphasise the impressive performance of his opponent after the match.
“I tried my best out there in every moment. The opponent [Darcis] played well, I had my chances. I didn’t make it,” he told reporters afterwards.
While the comments offered little consolation to fans of the King of Clay, they did point to nerves or a potential lack of focus as the chief reasons behind the poor display. The score certainly backs up this suggestion, with the Spaniard losing two of his three sets in closely-fought tie-breaks.
Nadal’s record since returning from injury certainly backs up this optimistic view of the Spaniard’s future in the game, with the 12-time Grand Slam winner enjoying a fine run over the last few months.
Heading into the action at SW19, Nadal had lost just twice in 2013, making the final of every event he entered.
And while victory over David Ferrer in the French Open final was hardly a surprise, this success certainly bodes well for the Pearl of Manacor’s chances in New York City.
Away from Roland Garros, Nadal’s last major success came at the 2010 US Open with the DecoTurf hard courts of Flushing Meadows proving more complementary to his sliding playing style compared with the green grass of Wimbledon.
The Spaniard’s last two visits to the British major have now ended in first-round exits while his previous two trips across the pond have resulted in two US Open final appearances.
More significantly still, his recent impressive title win at the ATP Indian Wells event – his first title since the comeback – provided some indication of what to expect later this year.
Meanwhile, an early defeat at Wimbledon could play into Nadal’s hands, with the Spaniard able to take extra time in his preparations for the next grand slam event.
He may be down, but he’s certainly not out.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing