On a day where shock and awe ruled the All England Club, the seven-time Wimbledon champion was stunningly defeated by Sergiy Stakhovsky—the No. 116-ranked player in the world.
Federer didn't play horribly on Wednesday, and as SI.com's Richard Deitsch pointed out, Stakhovsky's career numbers didn't give us any hint he'd be so formidable:
Sergei Stakhovsky win over Roger Federer improves his career match record to 108-121. Federer is 905-206 lifetime.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) June 26, 2013
Throughout the match, Federer only logged 13 unforced errors and one double fault. But, as noted by Wimbledon's official Twitter account, Stakhovsky had the Swiss master on the run throughout the match:
The loss put an end to an impressive streak of excellence. As noted by ESPN Tennis, the last time Federer lost this early in a Grand Slam, Facebook hadn't even been launched:
Facebook hadn't yet launched the last time Federer lost this early in a major (2003 French Open). #ESPNWimbledon— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) June 26, 2013
While it's too early to count Federer out of future Grand Slams, it does seem clear that his time as one of the most feared players in the world is sadly drawing to an end.
Federer wasn't the only top player on the bottom half of the men's draw to lose on Wednesday, either.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was losing his match before he withdrew with an injury, as reported by Sky Sports. Now, there's nobody of note left in the bottom half to challenge Murray, who seems destined to meet up with Novak Djokovic in the men's final.
The way the world's top players are dropping like flies on both the men's and women's side, one could easily conclude that 2013 is a year that will feature surprise champions on both sides.
Or, one could come to the conclusion that after years of close calls at Wimbledon, Murray is finally destined to win the title.
At the age of 26, Murray has progressively improved at the All England Club. He made it to the quarterfinals in 2008 and the semifinals three years in a row between 2009-2011. He then reached the final last year, only to lose a heartbreaking match to Federer.
Should Murray now be the favorite to win the 2013 Wimbledon Championships?
Thus far, Murray has looked sharp in his two early matches, winning both in straight sets. Next up for the hometown hero will be No. 32-seeded Tommy Robredo, who has won half his previous matches against Murray—though it's worth noting that Murray won the last two.
The No. 2 player in the world, Murray has only lost five matches this year and has won three titles—the last of which occurred in his tuneup for the Wimbledon Championships.
Now, with a clear path in front of him to the men's final, Murray appears ready to finally claim the title that would mean most to him and his British countrymen.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78