Nadal drifts out
Rafael Nadal's early exit from Wimbledon means he is no longer favourite to end the season as World No 1.
By Tim Clement - Twitter: @SkyTimClement
Last Updated: 26/06/13 11:18am
Rafael Nadal's shock defeat to Steve Darcis not only prematurely ended his Wimbledon hopes but has also seen him lose favouritism to end the year as world No 1.
The Spaniard suffered an early exit at SW19 for a second successive year, losing in straight sets to the 135th-ranked Darcis, putting an end to his 22-match winning streak.
Nadal had enjoyed a phenomenal comeback following a seven-month lay-off, reaching finals in all nine of his tournaments, claiming seven titles.
Despite being seeded fifth for Wimbledon, the two-time champion actually currently leads the 'Race to London' rankings by nearly 2,000 points. That prompted Sky Bet to make him 1/2 favourite to end 2013 as world number one heading to the All England Club, having been 16/1 after missing the Australian Open.
However, the current leader of the rolling 12-month rankings system, Novak Djokovic, is now considered most likely again at odds-on, with Nadal drifting out to 13/8 despite having no points to defend for the remainder of the campaign.
The shift reflects doubts over how capable the 27-year-old is of competing on the hardcourts, which are considered the most damaging to his tendonitis-plagued knees.
It also indicates the greater concern - another spell on the sidelines.
Nadal refused to comment on the state of his body following Monday's loss and indicated that he expects to be ready for his next tournament.
Which tournament that is remains to be seen, but it would be a surprise to see him in competitive action before the next Masters event in Montreal, which begins at the start of August.
The Wimbledon men's betting has shifted significantly following Nadal's exit, but bookies have stopped short of considering the door open to an outsider.
Following the first round, Djokovic is now evens (from 6/5) favourite with Sky Bet, while Andy Murray is 5/2 (from 7/2) but it is Federer, who was placed in the same quarter as the Spaniard, who has moved most significantly, coming in from 7/1 to 4/1.
There were no such significant upsets in the women's opening round, although Laura Robson managed to oust 10th seed Maria Kirilenko against the odds.
The 19-year-old Brit made light of the 28-place gap in the rankings to prevail in straight sets, prompting her outright price to come in from 150/1 to 100s.
With world 117 Mariana Duque-Marino awaiting in the next round after upsetting Julia Goerges, Robson now has a great chance of repeating her fourth-round run at the US Open.
Serena in sight
However, significantly bettering that would be a different task all together, with Serena Williams looming large in her quarter.
The world No 1 is a short as 4/9 to land a fourth title in five years here, a price which hardly looks worth challenging given the problems Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova endured on day one.
Azarenka's (9/1) participation was briefly cast in doubt when she hit the deck in agony after twisting her knee before prevailing in straight sets, while Sharapova (6/1) was taken to a tie-break before seeing off French talent Kristina Mladenovic.
While Darcis' victory might have ignited hope of the fellow underdogs, the established order remains otherwise intact heading into the second round.