I’ve gotten so used to Rafa being knocked back and then drawing on that deep inner lava flow that makes him who he is and then sneer-serving his way to total razing victory that it simply never occurred to me, even during the stress of most of the fifth set, that he would lose. But Rosol, ranked 100th or so in the world, playing in the main event at Wimbledon for the first time, coming off five straight years of first-round Wimbledon qualifying-tournament losses … Rosol just would. Not. Spook.
The serves kept cracking. Sometimes you catch a break. At one point, I think in the third set, Rafa sprinted at the net after a serve, and Rosol’s return wrong-footed him, and he fell awkwardly, with his legs splayed in unpleasant directions, and took a long time getting up. He went back (slowly) to the baseline, then tried to do a little bob-and-weave to get his juices flowing, only right after he started he stopped and just stood there with his head down. It was the first time I could remember seeing Rafa look like raw determination was failing him."
More awesome stuff from Grantland. Painful to read, but awesome