As one of only two men to have beaten Roger Federer this year, Tommy Haas might have been hoping that his Wimbledon swansong would have a fairytale ending.
The 39-year-old German, awarded a wildcard for his 16th and final appearance at the All England Club, had to accept his body was “not cooperating anymore” as he slumped to a 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5 first-round defeat by Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans.
Haas, who made his Wimbledon debut in 1997 when grand-slam winning compatriots Boris Becker and Michael Stich were still playing, was in reflective mood after being given a standing ovation by the crowd crammed around an intimate Court 16.
In his 21-year professional career, he has been poked and prodded by a surgeon’s knife more times then he cares to remember.
What he is capable of producing was in evidence just three weeks ago when, ranked 302, he stunned the sporting world by humbling Federer in the second round of the grasscourt tournament in Stuttgart.
That result earned Haas the bragging rights of being the lowest-ranked player to beat the 18-times grand slam champion since 1999 — but it carried little weight at Wimbledon on Monday.