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The U.S. soccer team’s bid for glory in Brazil captured America’s attention this week, but meanwhile the Wimbledon Championship has seen some shockingly early exits from the biggest names in tennis.
The unexpected action at the All England Club in London has surprised tennis fans, sent top-ranked players packing and brought relative unknowns to the forefront of viewers’ attention.
Here are the five biggest surprises of Wimbledon so far.
Serena Williams breaks down in tears
Five-time champion and No. 1 seed Serena Williams left the Grand Slam tournament in tears on Tuesday after withdrawing from her second doubles match with her sister Venus Williams when the sisters were down 0-3 against Stefanie Voegele and Kristina Barrois. Looking sickly and distraught, the official reason for her distress was a viral illness, which came after she was knocked out of the singles tournament on Saturday by France’s Alize Cornet.
“I am heartbroken I’m not able to continue in the tournament. I thought I could rally this morning because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me,” the 32-year-old later said in a statement.
Even Rob Lowe found the sight of the former champion reeling in pain too much to watch.
The clips of Serena Williams at #Wimbledon2014 today are hard to watch. Never seen anything like it.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) July 2, 2014
Rafael Nadal loses to 144-ranked Australian Nick Kyrgios
It was a case of David vs. Goliath on Centre Court on Tuesday, as 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal was knocked out by a 19-year-old from down under. Nick Kyrgios (pronounced KEER-ee-os) became the first man to reach the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon debut in 10 years when he beat the No. 2 seed Spaniard 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
“I didn’t know what to do. Drop to the ground, throw my racket. I turned to everyone who’s been supporting me,” said teenager from Canberra. “My mind is buzzing.”
Kyrgios would go on to lose to Milos Raonic in four sets Wednesday, but Aussie fans are still rallying around the 6’5″ future star.
Much love Nick Kyrgios, knocking off world No. 1 Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/CJJpa6q7ln
— Steve Tunks (@Tunks04) July 1, 2014
Australian star Hugh Jackman took time away from preparing for his upcoming Broadway role and watching the World Cup to cheer on his countryman.
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) July 1, 2014
Andy Murray curses his way off court
Defending champion Andy Murray made no secret of his disgust at being beaten by Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. Even with royals Kate Middleton and Prince William cheering him on, the Scottish tennis star lost in straight sets 1-6, 6-7, 2-6. His unexpected and expletive-filled exit sparked a storm of Twitter responses, with many English people sending him back north of the border.
Andy Murray’s Scottish again
— British Logic (@BritishLogic) July 2, 2014
Maria Sharapova makes early exit—and offends billions of cricket fans
Despite five match points in three grueling sets, Maria Sharapova couldn’t hold on long enough to beat Angelique Kerber, and she finally succumbed to the 26-year-old German in the fourth round.
“I felt like I worked too hard within the match to let it go the easy way. So I did everything I could in the end to try to save those,” Sharapova said. “I did, but I didn’t save the last one.” Having been a beloved favorite at Wimbledon since she was 17 and the champion in 2004, the 6’2″ Russian was the No. 5 seed entering the tournament.
Sharapova left the tournament but stayed in the headlines and on social media when she insulted billions of cricket fans by confessing that she didn’t know who Sachin Tendulkar was, even though he was watching her match from the royal box with David Beckham. The Indian cricket legend’s fanbase, which is larger than the populations of many countries, went out to spam every post on her Facebook page and start the Twitter chant: “Who is Maria Sharapova?”
This will happen when Maria Sharapova realises who Sachin Tendulkar is…… pic.twitter.com/YDvZl8eajo
— Amit.A (@Amit_smiling) July 2, 2014
Eugenie Bouchard became the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam singles final when the 20-year-old qualified to play Petra Kvitova on Saturday. She may be joined by compatriot Milos Raonic, who still has to face Roger Federer in the semis before moving on. Both players had extra special reasons to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, and Bouchard broke out the national flag on Twitter.
She also has one very familiar fan, as Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons has been attending “Genie’s” matches over in England.
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