Roger Federer wore the face of a man who knew that his last hopes of reaching yet another Wimbledon final had probably just evaporated following his five-set defeat to upcoming gun Milos Raonic.
The 17-time grand slam champion had made the plush surrounds of Centre Court his own during a storied career, claiming seven titles. But the prospect of him further furnishing that record appeared over as his ageing body failed to hold up to the young pretender from Canada.
Federer had never before lost a semi-final at Wimbledon, and as he contemplated that unchartered territory while he waited courtside for Raonic to finish lapping up his new-found acclaim, Twitter was already wondering whether this was the end of one of tennis' greatest stories.
Federer's powers clearly wearing thin. A fabulous player, but all good things must come to an end. Still the greatest I've ever seen.
-- Adam Sweeney (@AdamWSweeney) July 8, 2016
17 it will be. Would love to see him on court as long as he wants to play. But won't expect the 18th to come. Not anymore. #Federer
-- Sanjay Mehta (@sm63) July 8, 2016
I am die hard Federer fan and probably won't be able to support anyone after he retired just like Schumacher but I think it's time.
-- Vedant (@MagicalZizou) July 8, 2016
federer has gone and I'm so sad
-- kitty (@glitternotguns) July 8, 2016
That Roger Federer continues to make it deep in Grand Slams is ridiculous at his age and mileage. Top five favorite athlete #Wimbledon
-- Geoff Shannon (@Geoff_Shannon) July 8, 2016
Always sucks to see Federer lose in Wimbledon
-- Ashish T (@ash_jester) July 8, 2016
The Swiss was as classy as ever in defeat, waiting for Raonic before making his exit, but perhaps tellingly he stopped short before walking off the court and waving to the fans that he has given so much joy to during his career.
Was this the final goodbye? The dejected look on Federer's face as the cameras continued to follow him made it hard to rule out.
Class in defeat.
-- Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 8, 2016
Roger Federer leaves the court with a bowed head, he turns and waves to the crowd and they cheer him. Is he starting his good byes?
-- Craig Gabriel (@crosscourt1) July 8, 2016
Federer is a great sport.
Full appreciation of his place in the game and wider importance if it beyond his own hopes/ambitions.
-- DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) July 8, 2016
Sad for Federer though. Humble in victory and defeat. Proper athlete!
-- #3 (@JGalley_) July 8, 2016
What is certain is that we are talking about a champion, and a champion who has proved time and time again that writing him off is a foolish mistake.
The 34-year-old won the most recent of his 17 majors four years ago, but has shown again over the past fortnight that he is still very much at the top of the men's game. And on this evidence, it still takes plenty to beat him - especially on grass.
-- Alejandro Barrios B (@Barriosb_99) July 8, 2016
We keep saying "this might be Federer's last best chance at a major" and then he keeps returning. Impossible to bet against him.
-- Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) July 8, 2016
Federer is the greatest. And every loss feels like it could have been his last chance.
-- Aaron Wherry (@AaronWherry) July 8, 2016
All things considered, a very good tournament for Federer. Will rue the multiple chances he had in the 4th set, which is why the loss hurts.
-- Nikhila (@kokudum) July 8, 2016
But while there was reason to lament the potential end of one of one of tennis' great careers, this was also a moment to celebrate the most significant moment in Raonic's burgeoning career.
The 25-year-old established some "firsts" of his own in getting to the final.
Milos #Raonic is the first ever man born in 1990's to
: reach the final of a slam/ major ( #Wimbledon)
: have defeated #Federer thrice....
-- Vibhu batra (@VIBHUISM) July 8, 2016
Milos Raonic becomes the 1st Canadian man to ever reach a grand slam final .. and the 1st person ever to beat Federer in a Wimbledon semi
-- trey wingo (@wingoz) July 8, 2016
Beating Federer at Wimbledon? Biggest Canadian tennis moment ever.
-- Andy Redding (@Big_Andy91) July 8, 2016
-- Roger Lajoie (@TheRog590) July 8, 2016
And there's this too...
This will be the first time since 2002, there won't be Nadal, Federer or Djokovic in the #Wimbledon men's final
-- Harry Wallop (@hwallop) July 8, 2016
Perhaps this really was a changing of the guard?