Tennis: Rosol rocks year after Nadal stunner

Lukas Rosol's five-set win over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon a year ago stunned the Spanish star as much as tennis fans worldwide and gave a much needed boost to the 27-year-old Czech's career.

As if Rosol were determined never to leave the spotlight after the epic win on June 28, 2012, he has since climbed from the 100th spot in the rankings to the current 35th and won his first ATP title.

Rosol was also on the Czech team that won the Davis Cup last year and has led the Czech Republic to the semi-finals this year.

He has also pleased tabloid readers, first by finding a new girlfriend, a popular TV anchor, then by having to cope with the death of his estranged father shortly before his ATP triumph in Bucharest in late April.

"It was the most emotional moment of my life," Rosol said after breaking into tears during his post-game speech.

But he has had few reasons to cry since seeing Nadal off in the second round of last year's Wimbledon in one of the biggest shocks in the tournament's long history.

"I have better insight, I have collected experience from good games, maybe I've calmed down and the main thing is I'm healthy," Rosol said in a recent interview for the tenisportal.cz website.

"But I don't think the game with Nadal was a breaking point," added the man who had dubbed the Nadal stunner "a miracle" and "a dream" a year ago.

Rosol beat Nadal 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in more than four hours in a game for which he will be remembered for a long time.

"Rosol played a fantastic fifth set. He probably would beat me if I was healthy," Nadal, who has been grappling with a knee injury most of the past year, said in a recent interview.

Nadal missed the Davis Cup finals in Prague last November in which the Czech Republic team comprising Rosol beat Spain 3-2 to lift the trophy.

Rosol played only two dead rubbers in the 2012 edition but he has become a stable and very useful part of the Czech team this year.

After Tomas Berdych, the Czech number one player, pulled out of the quarter-finals in Kazakhstan and with Radek Stepanek, the team's number two, only recovering from an injury, Rosol was quick to steal the limelight.

The 196-centimetre-tall (6ft 5in) fast-serving Rosol -- who hit 22 aces against Nadal including the last two serves of the match -- won both singles in Kazakhstan and became a hero across the country.

After divorcing Czech sprinter Denisa Rosolova in 2011, Rosol has confessed to drawing energy from his relationship with popular anchorwoman Michaela Ochotska. The couple got engaged during the French Open.

Life seems brimful of potential for Rosol, who could meet Nadal in the quarterfinals of this year's Wimbledon.

"If we meet again, I'll try to play like I did the last time but it's really a bit too far," said Rosol, well aware that favourites may prove short-lived at the All England Club.

In the first round, Rosol faces Germany's 121st-ranked Julian Reister, while Nadal is playing Belgium's Steve Darcis, world number 135.

frj/phz