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Are Rafa Nadal's glory days gone forever?

Are Rafa Nadal's glory days gone forever?

03/07/2015 at 08:53Updated 03/07/2015 at 10:11

Defeated at Wimbledon by another player ranked outside the top 100 and comfortably beaten by Novak Djokovic at the French Open, Rafa Nadal's shock defeats no longer feel like a shock at all.

WHAT HAPPENED

Dustin Brown's win meant for the fourth year in a row two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the tournament by a player ranked outside the world's top 100.

It left the Spaniard in a reflective mood as he insisted there are no guarantees he will ever get back to his former standard.

"I don't know if I will be back to the level of 2008 or 2010..." Nadal said after his 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4 defeat.

Rafael Nadal speaks during his post-match press conference

Rafael Nadal speaks during his post-match press conferenceAFP

"My motivation is try to be back to that level. But I am going to keep working on that. But if I don't make that happen..." he said, trailing off.

Rafa's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, was more to the point, condemning his nephews performance against the world 102.

"He played really bad," said Toni. "Bad shots. Very bad with his forehand."

Rafa is now likely to end the year without a grand slam singles title for the first time since his debut French Open crown in 2005.

He insists the show will go on, stressing "It's not the end. [It's] a sad moment for me... but life continues. My career, too...",

THE PAPERS' VERDICT

Standing at 6'5" and with long dreadlocks, Dustin Brown is about as photogenic as they come. His enthralling, old-school serve-and-volley win over Nadal made him the obvious choice for both front and back pages.

Some still decided to go with a crestfallen picture of Nadal though...

While others thought Andy Murray's sweaty wrist-band was the image of the day.

HOW THE PUNDITS REACTED

Tim Henman (BBC): "I think Roger Federer or Andy Murray would have beaten Brown today. They both return better and are more confident. When you have won 14 Grand Slams and 60-odd tour titles, it amazes me how fragile Rafael Nadal's confidence is. He has talked about how he really struggles with nerves in matches and that amazes me. He needs to find a solution to that because he is still young."

John McEnroe (BBC): "Five hundred professional tennis players are inspired to hang in for a couple of years longer because of what they have just seen there. Nothing is impossible. Brown's level of play on this court was spectacularly high."

WHAT THE MEDIA SAID:

Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2015

Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2015AFP

OUR VIEW

It's sad to see a great titan of the game in such a state - but having been so good while still so young, and having stayed so good for so long, it seems time has caught up with Rafa Nadal. It's now sounds almost trite to repeat the line about the relative strain placed on the human body by Federer's balletic grace versus Nadal's thundering aggression. But there's now little doubt that it's true. Chris Chase is right: he's the oldest 29-year-old in sport.

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