Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rusedski Crashes out as Clock Ticks

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rusedski Crashes out as Clock Ticks

Article excerpt

Byline: By Frank Malley

There was a time when Greg Rusedski was the most fearsome server in tennis. Not any more.

Last night, with the scoreboard lights twinkling and the clock reading 9.12pm, Rusedski left Wimbledon at the second-round stage for the third time in three years, eventually out-gunned on the Centre Court gloom

by Sweden's Joachim Johansson.

The scoreboard told the tale: 7-6 3-6 6-4 7-6, to the 22-year-old in the white bandana who stands 6ft 6in tall and punches every inch of his height.

But, after a fourth set tie-break fought out in near darkness and gathering hysteria which the Swede took 7-5, you had to admire the courage of the Montreal-born star who adopted the British flag 10 years ago and has committed himself to the cause with grit and determination for self and country ever since.

It was an evening when the line judges were required to bob and weave like middleweight boxers to avoid the hail of aces which came their way, regularly registering around 140mph on the radar gun.

It was tense, dramatic, at times thrilling. It was never pretty. Indeed, with rallies of more than five shots at a premium it was a good justification of the All England Club's moves to slow down the courts and the balls in recent years.

But, for all Rusedski's gutsy determination to slug it out with a man eight years his junior, it was a desperate disappointment.

"Time is running out," Rusedski had admitted after appearing to have breathed life into his seemingly dormant game when he brushed aside Spain's Alberto Martin in four sets in the first round.

No wonder. Rusedski had only once won back-to-back matches in regular tournaments this year: at Queen's when he reached the third round.

He was convinced he was due a run at Wimbledon, where he has reached just one quarter-final ( back in 1997.

But Johansson, the US open semi-finalist and a man tipped for Grand Slam success in the future, was a tough prospect.

He signalled his intentions in his first service game of the match, smashing down three aces. …

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