Whenever Roger Federer has stepped onto Centre Court over the previous 9 days, there was a lingering worry that this is likely to be the last time Wimbledon’s favorite son will likely be seen in motion at the All England Club. On Wednesday (July 7), Hubert Hurkacz, a person who had received solely 4 matches on grass earlier than this fortnight, might effectively have made these fears a actuality after he produced an impressed show at hand his childhood idol a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 mauling within the quarterfinals.

Before Wednesday, the eight-times champion had contested 404 units at Wimbledon since making his debut in 1999 and by no means earlier than had he misplaced one 6-0 at the grasscourt Major. If the 407th set he contested at the All England Club does transform his last hurrah, will probably be a tragic ending to the Wimbledon profession of a person John McEnroe describes as a ‘tennis god’ whose beautiful photographs have wowed and thrilled followers for over twenty years.

“I don’t know if we will ever see the great man again here,” former champion Boris Becker stated, voicing the fears of many hundreds of thousands.

A despondent Federer couldn’t rule it out both. “I don’t know. I really don’t know,” admitted the 39-year-old Swiss, who had been bidding to develop into the oldest man within the Open Era to succeed in the last 4 at Wimbledon. “I’m not used to that kind of situation…, especially not here.”

It had been 18 months since Federer last played 5 matches at the identical event as two surgical procedures on his proper knee stored him out of the game for greater than a yr after his semi-final loss at the 2020 Australian Open. For him, the selections he made with his fortieth birthday looming in August – to go underneath the knife, or spend many hours in rehab, or pull out of last month’s French Open after he had received his third-round match – had been all as a result of he needed to carry up the pineapple-topped Challenge Cup for a document ninth time.

The indisputable fact that the dream resulted in a 0-6 nightmare should harm, and harm unhealthy. “I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. That’s how I feel,” stated Federer, who missed out on successful a document twenty first Grand Slam title in the identical enviornment two years in the past after squandering two match factors within the last in opposition to Novak Djokovic.

“You put everything on the line, and when it’s all over you could just go sleep because you’re so exhausted mentally. The last 18 months have been long and hard.”

When issues go flawed within the method they did on Wednesday, the Swiss nice will depart Wimbledon with extra questions than solutions about his future. Facing a Polish opponent who had by no means beforehand strung collectively greater than two wins at a Grand Slam, not many had thought Federer’s pursuit of a 14th Wimbledon semi-final, and forty seventh throughout all 4 majors, would come unstuck in the way in which that it did.

When the Swiss survived three break factors to steam forward 3-0 and 4-1 within the second set, the followers stopped biting their nails and settled again into their seats assured it will solely be a matter of time earlier than Federer levelled at one-set-all with Hurkacz.

But the dazzling Federer winners, which have flowed off his racket like liquid gold over time, had been in brief provide in opposition to the Pole who was simply two when the Swiss made his Wimbledon debut. Instead there was a gradual circulate of shanked backhands, netted volleys and wayward forehands – not the sort of photographs that had earned him 369 match wins at the majors.

When he stumbled and missed making contact with the ball in what ought to have been a simple smash – the alarm bells began ringing louder and the chants of “Let`s go Roger, let`s go” additionally hit fever pitch.

However, all of the cheers and standing ovations on this planet couldn’t save Federer on Wednesday because it appeared his 39-year-old physique lastly stated sufficient is sufficient. A Federer forehand into the tramlines handed Hurkacz the most important win of his profession.

“Clearly there’s still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays they don’t happen naturally anymore,” Federer stated.

“I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I can’t do what I want to do.”

(with Reuters inputs)


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