THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013
Darcis: "Nobody Was Expecting Me To Win"
by ATP Staff|
When Steve Darcis saw his draw for The Championships, his first reaction was “@#!*. It’s bad luck.”
On Monday, the World No. 135 surprised himself and rocked the tennis world after he beat 2008 and 2010 champion Rafael Nadal 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 in the first round.
“Yes, [I am surprised] a little bit,” admitted Darcis, who had never before beaten a player in the Top 5 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. “Nobody was expecting me to win.
“I knew that it would be very, very difficult. But it was a great match from the start to the end. [Nadal is] just the second guy in the Top 10 that I have beaten. It's one of my greatest wins. So I'm really, really happy today.”
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Darcis, who had beaten World No. 7 Tomas Berdych in the London 2012 Olympics first round, believes that one of the keys to his victory over Nadal was his serve.
“I think today I served very well [and] I could use a lot of slice.”
His performance in both tie-breaks showcased great mental fortitude.
In October last year, Darcis led the ATP World Tour with the best tie-break record according to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index. It was a fact that amazed him.
When ATPWorldTour.com asked Darcis what his strategy was in tie-breaks, he said, “First, I focus on my serve and I ensure that I hit a lot into court. It’s very important to win your service points at the beginning of the tie-break, as they go very fast.
Darcis led Nadal 6-3 in both tie-breaks and held on to win.
“I just try to return every serve and then fight. Every point is important in a tie-break, as it’s a bit like a lottery so you also need a bit of luck.” He has a 48-27 (.640) lifetime record in tie-breaks.
Darcis also hit 13 aces past Nadal.
In 153 tour-level matches, since turning professional in 2003, he had only hit more aces in two previous matches. Twenty aces against Dmitry Tursunov in the 2011 US Open and 15 aces at the 2008 If Stockholm Open against fellow Belgian Olivier Rochus, who watched his Nadal win from the No. 1 Court box.
“I really wanted to do something today,” said Darcis. “I really tried to fight. I knew I would have a chance if I played a good match. That’s what happened today.”
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