Roger Federer stunned in the second round at Wimbledon
As the coda to a crazy Wednesday at the All England Club, No. 116-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky topped seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5), ending Federer's run of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances (starting at 2004 Wimbledon). SI.com caught up with senior writer Jon Wertheim, who is on site at Wimbledon, to get his thoughts on what he thinks is a larger upset than Rafael Nadal's first-round loss to Belgian Steve Darcis.
SI.com: Federer didn't struggle with injuries like so many before him today. What was his biggest downfall against Stakhovsky?
Wertheim: Federer was plagued by a guy who played lights-out tennis; Stakhovsky had an unbelievable grass court match. This guy is outside the Top 100, but he pulled out a gutsy match against the No. 3 seed.
SI.com: No one could have predicted Federer would have trouble after his first round match, right?
Wertheim: Federer is the seven-time champion here at Wimbledon, and the player that could have given him major trouble was eliminated before dinner time on the very first day. This looked like a destiny tournament for Federer. Out of his possible first- and second-round matchups, if one asked who looked more dangerous on paper, most would answer Victor Hanescu, his first-round opponent. And Federer routinely beat Hanescu. No one anticipated this at all. Just this morning, Federer was saying that he felt great about the rest of this tournament.
SI.com: Which is bigger: The Federer or Nadal upset?
Wertheim: I would say Federer's upset. Given Nadal was coming off a spectacular French Open victory on clay, his loss was certainly shocking. But Nadal lost in the early rounds at Wimbledon last year, and this is the first time since the George W. Bush years that Federer has lost this early at Wimbledon. Federer just doesn't lose these kinds of matches at a major, especially at Wimbledon, which he's won seven times.
SI.com: Who's now favored in this half of the men's draw?
Wertheim: It looks like an Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic final now. But who knows anything anymore? Serena Williams being abducted by aliens wouldn't surprise us at this point.
SI.com: What should the remaining top seeds do to help their chances?
Wertheim: Serena should wear a body cast tomorrow.
But realistically, if you're Murray or Djokovic, I suspect you think about the risks in their upcoming matches. They've both seen so many players go down, so if they're up 5-2 in a set, they must realize that putting in the extra effort running for a tough shot may hurt them. I think they will play conservatively with so many other upsets. Murray at this point is likely playing with a different level of pressure than he started the tournament with. He needs to go one match at a time.
SI.com: Where does Federer go from here?
Wertheim: It's one match, so we can't overreact. Like Federer mentioned in his press conference, he'll follow the 24-hour rule (players celebrate a win or mourn a loss for 24 hours after the match), and then he'll get back to work. However, Federer's getting older, and now it's been more than a year since he's even been to the final of a major. His streak of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances has been broken. We can't put too much weight on one match, but fans and media alike have to wonder how many more of these tournaments he's going to endure. Federer would be a great designated hitter in major league baseball or a great Ray Allen in the NBA, but one doesn't have that option in tennis.