After a decade as a professional, the man known as ‘the shark’ finally showed his teeth as Steve Darcis knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon at the first-round stage.
While 12-time grand slam Nadal was left to lick his wounds following a maiden opening-round loss at a major, Darcis was left reflecting on his best-ever win.
Since joining the main tour in 2003, the 29-year-old from Liege has made little impact on the sport, lifting just two titles – the last of which came in 2008.
He performed like a multiple winner yesterday, though, cashing in on Nadal’s apparent lack of fitness to secure a win that stands alone on his resume.
Known as ‘the shark’ because of his love of the fish – he has one tattooed on his shoulder – recognition has been a long time coming for Darcis, who quickly hailed his finest hour.
“It’s one of the greatest wins. It was a great match from the start to the finish,” said the world number 135, whose career earnings stand at a little over £1.5million compared to Nadal’s £55m.
“I think I served very good. I used a lot of slice and I don’t think he liked it very much. He didn’t play his best tennis and it was his first game on grass this season. I have played four.
“I don’t know if he was injured. He looked okay but it was his first game on grass and that is always difficult.”
Next up for Darcis will be a meeting with Lukasz Kobot as he looks to better his best slam return of a third-round appearance at the 2011 French Open.
Before then, though, he has something else to do.
“I will try to catch a DVD of the game so I can keep it at home,” he said.“I have one child now and maybe I have more so I can tell the grandchildren.” I think a lot of people will talk about this game for a few years. Me too.”
Not afraid of wanting to maximise his time in the spotlight either, Darcis has another wish he would like to come true.
“I have a tattoo on my shoulder like the shark, because my star sign is the fish,” he said.
“I love sharks, my tattoo is in an S like Steve. I did it a few years ago and have done a lot of work on them. I have never swam with sharks, but maybe one day I can now do it.”