The draw made it that two men playing their last Wimbledon were squaring off in the first round, so only one of them would triumph. Four hours later, it is Jarkko Nieminen who lifted his arms in triumph after logging his very first win over Lleyton Hewitt, edging the Aussie 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9.
The 2002 champion had his chances during the match. He was two sets to one up, even had a break advantage during the fifth, but in the end, it was the Finn who had the upper end, thus sealing the end of Hewitt’s Wimbledon career.
At the end of the match, the players exchanged a long hug at the net and after Nieminen’s celebration under well deserved applause, it was Hewitt’s turn to salute the crowd on Court 2 for one last time. A long and emotional ovation for the Aussie, to which his rival also participated until Rusty left the court.
Lleyton Hewitt is still in contention in doubles as, with countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis, they will face 15th seeds Marin Draganja and Henri Kontinen in the first round.
But we will never see the feisty Aussie and listen to his huge “Come on!!!” in the Wimbledon singles.
So long, mate! We will miss you…