London, June 27, 2013, Reuters:
No matter where Sergiy Stakhovsky looks when he walks around the leafy grounds of the All England Club, he cannot escape the image of a beaming Roger Federer holding aloft the pineapple-topped gold Challenge Cup.
It is on the results board, on the official Wimbledon book, on the roll of honour plaque, on official merchandise -- it is basically everywhere.
On Wednesday, however, the man who hails from Kiev and is ranked outside the world's top 100, wiped the smile off Federer's face after evicting the Swiss from his own back yard.
"When you come here, on the cover of the Wimbledon book... is Roger Federer. Our sport is Roger Federer," Stakhovsky said after becoming the latest giant killer to light up Wimbledon with a 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) victory.
"He's the greatest player we had. He's the biggest name we had and we still have.
"You're playing the guy and then you're playing his legend, which is following him because he won it seven times. He's holding all possible career records here.
"When you play Roger Federer at Wimbledon, it's like you're playing two persons. First you play Roger Federer and then you play his ego.
"When you're beating one, you still have the other one who is pressing you. You're saying, 'am I about to beat him? Is it possible?'"
Stakhovsky proved it was, even though the odds could not have been stacked more against him.
Federer's Wimbledon win-loss record stood at 67-7, Stakhovsky' 2-4. Federer had chalked up a 257-39 win-loss record in Grand Slam matches, Stakhovsky's was 11-18. Federer's grasscourt record was 122-17, Stakhovsky's 12-12. Federer's career record was 905-205, Stakhovsky's was 107-121. Federer's prize money amounted to $77,564,273, Stakhovsky's was $2,728,393.
No matter where he looked, Stakhovsky did not belong on the same court as Federer yet after Wednesday it is unlikely the Swiss or any other sports fan will forget the Ukrainian's name.
Playing a brand of fearless and brash serve-and-volley tennis many dream of but only the brave produce, Stakhovsky caused one of the biggest upsets seen in tennis.
It left the Swiss shell-shocked, the crowd stunned and Stakhovsky blinking in disbelief as he added his name to a select band of players who have dared to bring the mighty down.
Peter Doohan conquered Boris Becker in the second round in 1987, George Bastl tamed Pete Sampras at the same stage in 2002 and Ivo Karlovic beat defending champion Lleyton Hewitt on the opening day in 2003 while Lukas Rosol ambushed Rafael Nadal in the second round a year ago.
But two days after Steve Darcis brought Spain's Nadal to his knees in a first-round shock, Stakhovsky surpassed them all.