David Nalbandian is one of the enigmas of modern tennis. Many would regard him as the most talented current player never to have won a Grand Slam title, though that ability was hard to identify last night as the world No 7 lost 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to Canada's Frank Dancevic, the world No 95. It was only Nalbandian's second first-round defeat in 27 Grand Slam appearances.
The 26-year-old Argentine, who lost to Lleyton Hewitt in the 2002 Wimbledon final and has been a regular thorn in Roger Federer's side, never looked in contention, despite a late rally in the final set.
Dancevic, 23, who lost in four sets to Nalbandian in the second round here 12 months ago, was just the man to take advantage, having shown a liking for grass-court tennis earlier this month when he won the Challenger tournament at Surbiton. Nalbandian, who was seeded to meet Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, has never looked the fittest of players and in a reluctant post-match press conference admitted that he had been combating injuries in his preparation for Wimbledon. Asked to explain what his problems were, Nalbandian said: "I can't tell you."
He added: "I didn't play well, but I never thought it was going to be like this. You have that kind of day sometimes. I tried. I was missing shots by a close margin, particularly on important points. I broke once but I couldn't turn it around."