Rafael Nadal says Wimbledon 2013 defeat is 'not a tragedy'

WIMBLEDON 2013

  • Venue: All England Club, London
  • Date: 24 June - 7 July

Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD Channel, Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live, plus 10 live streams available on the BBC Sport website, tablet, mobile and connected TV.

Rafael Nadal said his shock first-round defeat by Steve Darcis at Wimbledon was "not a tragedy" and refused to blame his exit on his persistent knee injury.

While Darcis, the world number 135, played some inspired tennis, Spain's two-time champion was clearly hampered.

"It's tough losing in the first round but life continues," said Nadal.

Who is Steve Darcis?

Age: 29

World ranking: 135 (highest was 44, May 2008)

This season: Darcis had won only two ATP Tour matches before today

Best result at Grand Slam: 3R French Open, 2011

Previous Wimbledon record: 1R 2008, 2012; 2R 2009

Career titles: Amersfoort 2007, Memphis 2008

Nickname: Shark

Interests: Supports Anderlecht and enjoys fishing

"All I want to do is congratulate Steve Darcis, he played a fantastic match. Talking about my knee is an excuse and I don't want to use excuses."

Fifth seed Nadal's loss comes just two weeks after he won a record eighth French Open. It is the first time Nadal has lost in the first round of the 35 grand slam tournaments he has entered.

Nadal's exit potentially gives Britain's Andy Murray an easier route to the final as they were in the same side of the draw.

Second seed Murray beat Germany's Benjamin Becker 6-4 6-3 6-2 on Centre Court.

Murray was Britain's only winner on a day when six homegrown players were knocked out.

Defeats for wildcard James Ward and teenager Kyle Edmund has left Murray as the sole representative in the men's draw, while Elena Baltacha, Johanna Konta, Anne Keothavong and Sam Murray also lost.

Reigning champion Roger Federer eased into the next round with a 6-3 6-2 6-0 win over Victor Hanescu.

But his long-term rival Nadal was badly out of sorts as he went down 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 to Belgian Darcis.

Nadal, who was barely able to use his backhand and limping at times. was playing his first competitive grass court match since losing to Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon last year.

And he was clearly irritated by repeated suggestions from journalists that his knee was entirely to blame for the reverse.

He also reacted tetchily to suggestions he had focused too much on the clay-court season and not prepared for Wimbledon thoroughly enough.

"On grass it's difficult to adapt your game when you don't have the chance to play before and I didn't find my rhythm," said Nadal, 27, who decided to rest instead of playing the grass court tournament in Halle, Germany.

Rafael Nadal

Wimbledon 2013: Nadal offers no excuses after shock exit

"The calendar was for me perfect, winning seven tournaments out of nine [after his comeback from injury].

"A couple of weeks ago I was in a fantastic situation [Nadal won the French Open for an eighth time] and now I've lost in the first round.

"But I try my best in every tournament. People only remember victories and I don't want to remember the losses."

While Nadal was out for seven months following his defeat by Rosol, he said he expected to be back in action far sooner this time around.