Rafael Nadal lost a clay court final on Sunday to 27-year-old journeyman Horacio Zeballos, a player who never advanced past the second round of any tournament last season.
While this would normally be entered into the category of unbelievable or shocking, the most stunning thing is that this isn’t all that much of a surprise.
Yet it is still strange to recite the names of the last two players who have beaten Nadal; Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon back in June 2012 and Zeballos on Sunday afternoon in Chile.
Indeed, for Nadal, the reality of returning to tournament action after being away for seven months due to problems with his perpetually aching knees is that he will need time to get back into playing shape. For no matter how good Nadal looked in spots throughout the last week at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, there were signs that Nadal was clearly weeks – or months – away from his top form.