Steve Darcis - the Dark Horse at Wimbledon?
Rafael Nadal created history in France two weeks ago, but that didn’t undermine the morale of his 29-year-old Belgian opponent Steve Darcis in any way whatsoever. Darcis, brimming with confidence, sent Nadal back on his way to Majorca following a straight sets victory. In any case, upsets aren’t new to Darcis at all; only last year, he managed to defeat Tomas Berdych in straight sets at the London Olympics. It could very well be said that Darcis has a history of causing upsets at Wimbledon.
From what I saw yesterday, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that the Belgian has the game play to be a top ten player. He is a 29 years old, and as I watched him put Nadal on the defensive yesterday, I kept wondering where he has been all these years. Coming to the first aspect of the game, his serve, he served thunderbolts yesterday – not at the level of Roddick or Ivanisevic, but still good enough to bail him out of tough situations. Darcis used his serve to his advantage very well against Nadal, comfortably holding his serve and fending off break points against him; in fact, he regularly served aces when he needed them.
Nadal himself has a ferocious forehand which provides him the upper hand against most of his opponents, but Darcis’s forehand yesterday could match up to Nadal’s; just like last year, the King of Clay lost to someone with a forehand that was firing on all cylinders. Darcis has a single-handed backhand – and I feel anybody who can play the single-handed backhand with power and conviction is a potential top 30 player. A two-handed backhand may have the power, but the more traditional single-handed backhand provides the acute angles; the player can hold his own in crosscourt rallies and Darcis used this aspect to his advantage quite well, despite Nadal being left-handed. Darcis’s court coverage was good, not noteworthy for either being too good or too bad. After all this, I would just have to say that I’m surprised why Darcis hasn’t even managed to get into the top 32 all this while.