Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. won the biggest match of his career today but the attention was focused on the man he slayed in the quarter-final of The Championships, namely Roger Federer, the Wimbledon legend and holder 8 titles.
It's super special for me,. Playing here and the special things [Federer] has done here, it's a dream come true. Hubert Hurkacz
With the 39-year-old’s hopes of winning a ninth title dashed following his 6-3 7-6(4) 6-0 defeat, there is now much speculation as to whether the Swiss icon will return to Wimbledon when he reaches his fourth decade next month.
Federer, after two knee operations last year targeted Wimbledon and the Olympics this year, had played himself into some sort of form during the earlier rounds but that seemed to desert him on this day.
Credit though must go to Hurkacz who completely outplayed him much to the surprise and shock of the packed Centre Court.
A top 20 player himself and 15 years Federer’s junior, he arrived on Centre Court full of confidence having revealed yesterday: “Roger is a special player. I mean, what he’s achieved throughout his whole career, it’s unbelievable. Then the way he plays is also special.
“Being out there playing quarterfinals against him, it’s really amazing. But obviously I’m out there to play my best and give myself best chance of winning the match.”
The fact that he grew up idolising the Swiss, was no obstacle. Would he be nervous? ‘No, No’ was the quick and positive response.
And so it proved as he came out to inflict on the former champion, his first ever straight-sets loss at SW19 in 19 years, including his first ever bagel at the championships.
For a brief moment it looked as if Federer would recover after losing the first set as he led 4-1 in the second but for some reason, his timing was off and he was spraying errors around the court in a very unlikely Federer manner.
In contrast Hurkacz’s concentration was exemplary and didn’t let the occasion get to him, even when speaking to the crowd who throughout the match, were trying to lift the spirits of their favourite.
But when they realised the writing was on the wall at 11-minutes past 6 o’clock as Federer strode out to serve to stay in the match, they gave him a standing ovation.
They obviously sensed it could be the last time they might see him on Centre Court.
Hurkacz wrapped up his victory in an hour and 49-minutes, becoming the second Polish man to reach the semi-finals at a grand slam after Jerzy Janowicz here eight years ago.
“It’s super special for me,” Hurkacz, who fired 10 aces and produced 36 winners, said in his on-court interview.
“Playing here and the special things [Federer] has done here, it’s a dream come true.”
The BBC pundits were quick to air their reactions.
“I noticed the mis-hits, awkward looking points from Roger and obviously the last set of course, 6-0,” Boris Becker said.
“The other side of the coin – yeah your opponent didn’t have the best of days (to put it mildly) but you still have your job to do and put it out of your head that you are playing Federer the legend.
“All credit to him for that. There are certain rules even Roger Federer has to obey – and it’s matches. You don’t get that in practice. You only find out how good you are when you put yourself in that position, and today he wasn’t good enough.”
John McEnroe, who called the match on BBC, added: “I can’t believe it’s just happened, but he is human.”