End of an era on Centre Court as Roger Federer may have waved his final farewell
There was always a danger it would end like this for Roger Federer.
While the dreamer lurking inside Federer’s soul may have envisaged one final forehand winner on finals day, a last flashing moment of glory for the most popular tennis player of all-time, reality was always likely to get in the way and so it proved as Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz inflected a 6-3, 7-6, 6-0 defeat on the eight-time Wimbledon champion in front of a stunned Centre Court crowd.
Hurkacz may be a top 20 performer, but Federer would have expected to beat him with plenty to spare given his improving form over the course of this latest push for a ninth Wimbledon title.
Yet this was the day when Federer suddenly looked every day of his nearly 40 years, with the magic he has always brought onto his favourite court so badly missing as he looked slow, lethargic and in the end appeared to be eager for his misery to end.
The ovation that enveloped Centre Court from a packed crowd as Federer served at 5-0 down in the third set sent a shiver down the spine and as the great man fumbled the ball as he tried to serve, it was clear that the enormity of the moment had hit him.
This felt like the end and it almost certainly was for a champion who has never performed like this at Wimbledon until now and never lost a set 6-0 in this tournament until what is likely to have been his last.
And they say to never meet your heroes…@HubertHurkacz knocks out his idol, eight-time champion Roger Federer, in straight sets to advance to his first Grand Slam semi-final#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/Qri1uriPDF
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2021
“He won’t want to carry on unless he feels like he can win,” declared John McEnroe as he commentated on a match that has a real sense of finality about it and while Hurkacz deserves credit for holding his nerve to beat his idol, he was not up against the real Federer.
This was a Federer who looked off the pace in the first set, missed glorious chances to win the second set tie-break and then had nothing left to even think about a comeback.
If that is the best he can offer in a Wimbledon quarter-final, the retirement decision has been made for him and while he will not want his career to end like that, this was the risk he ran as he carried on beyond the age of 39.
Tears will be shed around the tennis world when confirmation arrives that Federer’s glorious career has come to an end.
It’s time to get those tissues ready.
‘I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and happy again,’ says Naomi Osaka after opening win at Olympics
Smooth start for four-time major winner Naomi Osaka.
‘A disappointing day’ for ‘erratic’ Ashleigh Barty as she crashes out of singles at Tokyo Olympics
Ashleigh Barty makes an early exit from Tokyo Olympics.
He’s done it! ‘I couldn’t be more proud of myself,’ says Cameron Norrie after winning maiden ATP Tour title
It’s a maiden ATP Tour singles title for Cameron Norrie.
‘I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles,’ says Andy Murray after Olympics blow
Andy Murray will concentrate on doubles with Joe Salisbury.
Eyes of the world to remain on Naomi Osaka after her return to the spotlight
Naomi Osaka must turn her focus back to the court.
Novak Djokovic urges Tokyo 2020 officials to change schedule after opening win
Novak Djokovic called for organisers to rethink the Olympic tennis schedule.
Naomi Osaka posts social media message after lighting the Olympic flame
Osaka lit the Olympic flame as the Tokyo Games were opened with an understated ceremony held behind closed doors.
Big win for Andy Murray as he starts his Olympics campaign alongside Joe Salisbury
Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury marked themselves out as medal contenders with a brilliant first-round performance
Former Olympian suggests Naomi Osaka has made her life more difficult after media boycott
Osaka is set to return to action for the first time since she pulled out of the French Open at the Olympics
Andy Murray reveals his daughter gave him inspiration after Wimbledon defeat
Murray revealed a chat with his daughter helped him reassess his Wimbledon disappointment as he targets an Olympic medal.