Wimbledon 2018: Is this the end of Roger Federer's reign over Wimbledon?
And so it is over. The man who had created his own legend was today left staring reality in the face. His reign as a Wimbledon god may just have come to a permanent end.
Roger Federer, the champion and style king, has left the scene. Perhaps now Father Time has seen enough of his greatness.
Federer, the great Swiss master but now 36 fell in five sets to South African Kevin Anderson, losing 2-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 in the quarter-final that lasted four hours 14 mins.
It left Court One in shock, for Federer was the all-time master of the grass here and Wimbledon was his work place.
He said: “I feel awful now, terrible, the mental fatigue has set in and the disappointment, I don’t know how long it will take to get over it.
“I feel I’ve got unfinished business, so I’ve got to comeback next year. I love being here.
“But I never thought about losing. I got off to the right start and felt in control. Just when I needed it I couldn’t get going and didn’t feel 100 per cent. I had my chances and didn’t see it coming.
Credit for him for hanging around for so long.”
The South African fought back bravely against the heavy favorite
Federer will wonder how the contest got away from him after winning the first two sets and having match point in the third.
It was the most gripping match of the Championships and inevitably questions will be asked about Federer’s future.
He has shown himself to be vulnerable at times, especially on his forehand and is finding it so difficult to stay in the moment. Mind over matter has never been a problem before, maybe it is now as time beckons.
Anderson detonated another 28 aces, 120 for the Championships and said: “When I was two sets down, I just told myself to keep fighting.
“To beat Roger Federer has to be one of the great achievements of my life, it will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.
“I kept telling myself to believe, that it could be my day, that it had to be after coming back into the match, after that first set.”
The Anderson serve caused Federer difficulty throughout the match
It was at times breathtaking tennis, electrifying commitment and nail biting entertainment for Court One.
Within two minutes of battle Federer had broken Anderson and, from then on, quickly dampened the South African’s considerable power despite carelessly dropping the third set, the first he had lost in the fortnight so far.
Former champion Boris Becker claims the difference between Centre Court and Court One is like night and day. For the Swiss master, at first it was just another challenge.
Federer used that early break to put even more pressure on Anderson and started to make him run. In his youth, the 6ft 8ins South African was a competitive 800 metres runner.
And he needed all his movement to stay with Federer as his mighty 130 mph service came under examination.
Anderson, however, is used to battling the odds. He has had virtually a season ticket for his local hospital in Florida after suffering knee, shoulder, groin, hip, thigh and ankle injuries.
But nerves also appear to have affected him, he was being driven outside his comfort zone, rushing his shots, with his massive serve, his favourite shot under siege.
Federer broke him again to love for a set won 6-2 in just 26 minutes. All that super smoothness transferred into such positive domination.
Anderson will face American John Isner in the quarter-final after he beat Milos Raonic
Even though he was getting battered Anderson fought to hang in the game, fist pumping his own winners and driving himself to stay in the contest.
It brought his tennis up to another level and suddenly some of the prodigious power began to give Federer less time to act out his match strategy.
Anderson drew gasps of astonishment when he broke Federer, for a 2-0 lead the great man the victim of some big hitting. It was the first time Federer had been broken at Wimbledon since last year’s Championships.
Although Federer got the break back at 3-2 it was apparent that Anderson had found a way to do damage of his own, as he led 6-3 in the tie breaker.
But Federer had other ideas found that extra class to take the tie breaker and beat off what for some minutes was a massive effort by the South African.
The two players leave the court after four hours and 14 minutes
In the third set at 5-4, with Anderson serving to stay in the match, Federer missed the chance to go 30-0 up, netting an easy back hand.
Anderson fought him off but went match point down, until some more big serving got him out of trouble and took the battle to 5-5, where he hurt Federer again by breaking for a 6-5 lead.
For once the Federer forehand was mis-firing, he lost four break back points in the 12th game and with it the set.
Anderson then levelled it by taking the fourth set, Federer increasingly frustrated looked under pressure for the first time.
In the fifth they fought like gladiators to take the score to 11-11. First to blink was Federer.
He lost his serve and this time Anderson killed off the greatest grass-court player of all times.
The Swiss had set his heart on a ninth title. He may not win another.