It seemed like an innocuous match up, as Gilles Muller had lost 22 matches against top 5 players. He clearly wasn’t a big match player, and rightly so, he was given no chance of beating the mighty Rafa Nadal.
But funnier things have happened in sport.What transpired on Court Number 1 today was beautiful, hurtful for Nadal fans, but beautiful for the sport of tennis. A 34-year old, in the twilight of his career, never having been known for his killer instinct on the big stage, upstaging one of the fiercest competitors in the sport.
The fifth set went on for more than 2 hours and while it was completely dominated by Gilles Muller, it always felt like Nadal would eventually find his way through. A 2 set lead given away, 5 match points squandered; it all seemed like the perfect script for a Rafa Nadal comeback, but Muller refused to step aside. He wanted his moment, bad, real bad; and he took it from Nadal, hands down.
This is how Twitter reacted:
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2017
Rafael Nadal falls to 26-3 against lefthanders in majors, with 2 of those losses coming to Gilles Müller.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2017
Wouldn't have been me shaking nadal hand after that he's been picking his arse all day
— Kenny McLean (@kennymclean66) July 10, 2017
Classy from Nadal not only waits for Mueller but then signs autographs. Must be gutted to go out.
— Matthew Pinsent (@matthewcpinsent) July 10, 2017
Rafa Nadal in defeat:
17 unforced errors
80% 1st serves points won
7 more points won than opponent
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) July 10, 2017
What a wonderful, wonderful advert for tennis! Two absolute warriors & two absolute gentlemen. Thank you, Muller & Nadal! #Wimbledon
— Ellie Walter (@EllieLWalter) July 10, 2017
— Salaheddin (@XOTLWEOVERDOSE) July 10, 2017
Nadal's last 5 Grand Slam losses:
36 46 63 64 1315
46 63 16 63 36
16 62 46 63 67
67 64 63 67 26
63 64 46 36 46
— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) July 10, 2017
First earthquake of 2017 Wimbledon: Gilles Muller with a zenmaster upset for the ages of in-form Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13.
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 10, 2017
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) July 10, 2017
This Nadal-Muller set has just this second now lasted longer than the entire running time of the original Star Wars.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) July 10, 2017
Just switched on to this incredible Nadal/Muller match. Tennis at this level is quite simply awe-inspiring. #wimbledon
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 10, 2017
'How do you feel after that epic match against one of the game's great players?'
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) July 10, 2017
— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) July 10, 2017
— Jelena Djokovic (@jelenadjokovic) July 10, 2017
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) July 10, 2017