Is this going to be a last Wimbledon for Lleyton Hewitt, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick and Tommy Haas?
Greatest contribution to Wimbledon’s history: It is unfortunate for Hewitt that people seem to have better recall of the occasion he lost in the opening round of the 2003 Championships, to Ivo Karlovic, than the afternoon in 2002 when he became the All England Club Single-handed Champion of the World by beating David Nalbandian. As someone wrote at the time, Karkovic beating Hewitt was “gargantuan news, literally and metaphorically”. No one has ever hustled better on Centre Court than Hewitt, but he could not hurt Karlovic, and for the first time since tennis turned professional, the defending men’s champion lost in the opening round.
What everyone will miss when he’s gone: The best “C’mon” in tennis; the effort; the fact that he cared, and cared deeply, to the end.
What next: Hewitt has done some freelance commentating during the Australian Open, and was verging on excellent.
Greatest contribution to Wimbledon’s history: She is the most accomplished, most successful, grass-court player of her generation. Some would suggest that Serena Williams is the finest women’s tennis player of all time, but she’s not even the best grass-court player in her family. Venus has won five Wimbledons, and she has won them by playing aggressive, attacking tennis.
What everyone will miss when she’s gone: The madness of Venus Ebony Starr Williams (not just what she wears, but what she says).
What next: Working on her clothing collection, Eleven, and her interiors company.
Greatest contribution to Wimbledon’s history: There is an argument to suggest that he’s the best grass-court player never to have won Wimbledon (but for Roger Federer, he perhaps could have gone to the Champions Dinner three times). The closest he came to reaching for the tuxedo was in 2009, on his third appearance in a Wimbledon final, when he lost the fifth set 16-14 to Federer. Has anyone ever played better tennis in a Wimbledon final and still lost?
What everyone will miss: The serve, the forehand, the one-liners (even when they’re cruel, especially when they’re cruel).
What next: Roddick is already the co-host of a radio show.
Greatest contribution to Wimbledon’s history: Being the unluckiest man in the history of the All England Club. In 2001, Haas was unable to complete his first round against Zimbabwe’s Wayne Black after a mid-match stomach upset caused by eating a combination of broccoli and cheese the night before, he missed the 2002 tournament to care for his parents after they were involved in a serious road accident, and was also absent from the grass-court slam in 2003 because of an operation on his shoulder. Perhaps the most tragi-comic moment came in 2005, when he stepped on a ball during the pre-match warm-up, and could barely manage a set and a few games before he retired hurt against Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, and then in 2007 he did not even make it on to court for a fourth-round meeting with Roger Federer as he had torn a stomach muscle in his previous match. “You could say that I’ve had some bad luck at Wimbledon,” said Haas, a former world No 2, who had his best run at the All England Club in 2009 when he reached the semi-finals, and lost to Federer.
What everyone will miss when he’s gone: The schadenfreude.
What next: Unlikely to be hired by Andy Murray as a coaching consultant.