Final farewells: Federer defeat echoes Wimbledon exits of the greats

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Roger Federer admitted he has yet to decide if he will return to Wimbledon next year after his shock straight-sets loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

AFP Sport looks at how three previous greats bid farewell to the All England Club.

Pete Sampras

-- Sampras was a seven-time Wimbledon champion but he arrived in London in 2002 having been defeated by a young Roger Federer in the fourth round 12 months earlier. It had also been two years since his last tour title.

Having opened his campaign with victory over Britain's Martin Lee, Sampras was sent out to Court Two, the All England Club's infamous 'Graveyard of the Champions' for his second round clash with Switzerland's George Bastl.

The Swiss, ranked 145 in the world, only made the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying but he pulled off one of the tournament's greatest ever shocks when he defeated Sampras 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.

It was 30-year-old Sampras's earliest loss at Wimbledon in 11 years.

"I wasn't at my best," admitted Sampras.

"I'm not going to end my time here with that loss. I want to end it on a high note and so I plan on being back. As long as I feel like I can continue to win majors and contend, I'll continue to play."

Despite his defiance, it was to be Sampras's last visit to Wimbledon.

He retired later in 2002 but he went out on a high by winning a fifth US Open in September in his final tournament.

The old Court Two was demolished in 2009.

Boris Becker

-- Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, played his last career match at the 1999 tournament. Ranked at 77 in the world, the 31-year-old reached the last 16 where he lost in straight sets to second seed Pat Rafter.

It had been 10 years since the last of his three titles at the All England Club and 14 since his first as an unknown teenager diving to the left and right on Centre Court.

As the German star walked off for the last time, he was given a standing ovation -- even the Royal Box stood to applaud.

"My whole Wimbledon career has been an attempt to live up to 1985 and it has been a big feat. What really bugs me is that I got to seven finals and won only three of them," said Becker.

"My only real regret is that I didn't play when John McEnroe was around. But when I was coming up he was going down. The best player I beat here was Andre Agassi. But I would love to have beaten Pete Sampras."

Bjorn Borg

-- Borg won five successive Wimbledon titles from 1976-1980, revolutionising the appeal of the sport in the process. His last visit to the All England Club was in 1981 where he lost the final to John McEnroe, 12 months after having defeated the brash American in an epic final.

The Swede finished his Wimbledon career at the age of just 25 with only four defeats in 55 matches.

McEnroe admitted he was stunned when Borg called it quits even though the Swede was to eventually make an ill-conceived return to the tour.

"Bjorn and I played just 14 matches on Tour. It was unbelievably disappointing," said McEnroe.

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