For better or worse, that’s the sight of the torch of Australian men’s tennis being passed.
In a rare all-Australian encounter at the US Open, Bernard Tomic has shown the gut and fight the public desperately wants to see more of to down Lleyton Hewitt in a brutal 5 set encounter to advance to the third round of the tournament.
Hewitt, the plucky veteran, wound back the clock during the three-and-a-half hour contest, particularly after the first two sets which Tomic took handily.
It was classic Hewitt. Back to the wall. Fighting from underneath. Refusing to give an inch. But on this occasion, the much maligned Tomic was up for the challenge.
Absolutely bloody exhausted, the pair gamely threw bombs at each other as the gruelling fifth set wore on, trading breaks of serve before, ultimately, it was the young upstart who finally managed to topple the old alpha lion.
The final scoreline of 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 doesn’t truly convey how tough and tight the game was, and how fitting an exit from Flushing Meadows it was for Hewitt.
Tomic now moves into the third round, where a clash with 12th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet awaits.
And as for Hewitt, who will retire from international tennis after the 2016 Australian Open, he showed once and for all that there’s still plenty of fight in the old dog yet.
Photo: Streeter Lecka via Getty Images.