With a gap in Six Nations action, rugby correspondent Sam Harrison rounds up the action from week 15 of the Aviva PremiershipWritten by Sam Harrison on 23rd February 2017
Rosol announces himself on biggest stage with Nadal scalp
Frankie Conway believes the Czech has the potential to kick on after one securing of Wimbledon's greatest ever shocks against the 11-time major winner
Written by Frankie Conway
If asked before Wimbledon, the average tennis fan would have given you a quizzical look if you mentioned the name Lukas Rosol. With a ranking of 100 and only 18 ATP tour match wins to his name prior to the event, the 26-year-old would have had no trouble concealing himself when walking through the busy All England club crowds. Not anymore. Rosol has arrived.
In a quite astonishing display of power hitting, the Czech man pulled off one of the biggest Wimbledon upsets of all time by beating the 11-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal in five captivating sets on Centre Court on Thursday night. In particular, his final set display will live long in the memory. The world number 100 was totally fearless. Neither the historic setting nor his esteemed opponent seemed to trouble the Wimbledon debutant. A self-belief rarely seen from a player with such a ranking appeared to emanate from Rosol as he blew Nadal away with winner after winner. The Spaniard had no answers.
At the age of 26, though, many will be asking why we have heard nothing of Rosol prior to this match and perhaps more pertinently, whether we will be hearing anything more of him in the future. Former British number one Tim Henman described Rosol’s performance as ‘freakish’, implying Nadal’s conqueror may fizzle out as quickly as he arrived. But such a statement may prove hasty.
Indeed, Rosol exhibited many qualities that great champions possess. He clearly has weapons, with his big booming serve and slingshot style forehand spearheading his arsenal. This means he will always pose top players problems with his power. In other words, he has the ability to control matches, rather than be dictated to. The second factor in Rosol’s favour is his obvious self-confidence. Big names and big occasions don’t appear to quell him. On the contrary, they seem to bring the best out of him. That is always a good indicator of a potential star player - their ability to perform when it matters on the big stage.
But the real defining factor that will determine whether Rosol will make the breakthrough into the upper echelons of the sport is if the Czech man can reproduce such performances on a consistent basis, particularly in the more mundane events on the ATP calendar. His low ranking would tend to indicate that this has been a problem for him. Having the drive to put in the hard yards on a daily basis in training and the motivation to perform at their best in every single match they play is a quality few players possess. But if the Czech number three uses Thursday’s win as the spark to reignite his career, Rosol undoubtedly has the talent to climb the rankings and quickly. One thing is guaranteed though. Ask your average tennis fan if they’ve heard of Lukas Rosol now and you know what the answer will be.