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Giant-Killer! Unknown Steve Downs Nadal


Wimbledon

June 24, 2013

… And makes it an  amazing opening day for the Debenture Holders On Court One.

Who could ask for more than a day like this? Scintillating tennis watched from seats so good it almost felt like we were peering over the umpire’s shoulder..
A dramatic giant-killing as Rafael Nadal fell in straight sets to a little-known Belgian called Steve Darcis.

My son Luca and I saw it all in stunning detail thanks to our debenture seats – and we will never forget it.

How lucky we were to see the King of Clay and French Open Champion before his premature exit from a tournament he has conquered in the past.

It wasn’t that Nadal played badly. It was just that the outrageous confidence, shrewd thinking and above all cleaner hitting of the outsider carried the day.

The action was breathtaking from start to finish. And it just goes to show that Centre Court doesn’t have a monopoly on the most memorable clashes in SW19. Court One stole the show and not for the first time.

For me, the debenture seats stole the show too. You can watch as many matches as you like from a press box – and usually the views aren’t bad at all. But this debenture experience was something else. Sittting at umpire height , but set back from the net far enough to take in the court and atmosphere, this was a rare thrill.

In our debenture seats we could understand the true speed of the shots like never before, the variation of height, weight and pace that went into crafting each and every  gem of a rally.

There’s no doubt about it. A debenture seat brings a different dimension to watching top tennis . You are not only guaranteed a good view, you’re pretty much guaranteed the pleasant company of knowledgeable fellow tennis-lovers.

And when it was time to get a bite to eat, our debenture tags and tickets gave us the right to enjoy the informal intimacy of The Lounge, a restaurant perched above some of the outside courts. It was as though we had our own private window onto another part of the Championships. And the salmon – “perfectly cooked” as my son put it – was a sheer summer delight.

As usual, the first day of Wimbledon was special. But my first debenture experience – and the unexpected drama that unfolded – made this particular opening day truly unforgettable.

Victoria Azarenka and her worrying fall, followed by her swift recovery; those colourful Australian fans hoping Lleyton Hewitt might roll back the years….and above all that man Steve.

No one gave Darcis a chance. Now they’ll all be hopong to avoid him. Four giants have become three. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will all believe it can be their year.

The drama has only just begun. Take your seats, ladies and gentlemen, for the rest of the show.

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