Alexei Popyrin can at least say that he twice stood on the verge of winning a set against the greatest clay court player in history in his own Roland Garros kingdom.
Yet, ultimately, Australia's rising star could only experience the same sinking feeling as countless wannabes before him on Court Philippe Chatrier as he became king of clay Rafael Nadal's latest victim, slayed in straight sets 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-3).
Big-hitting 'Poppy', one of the best young talents in the game, held two set points in Tuesday's third set as he sniffed the chance of becoming only the third man ever to take a set off Nadal in a first round match.
Alas, for the 6ft 5in Sydney beanpole, he first served a double fault and then, stretching for a smash, cracked it over the baseline to allow the 13-times champion to wriggle free of trouble.
"The moment got to me. He didn't do anything special at all - he got the ball back and I missed. You can't do that against these top players. I definitely won't let it happen again," growled Popyrin, reflecting on what might have been.
Nadal, launching his bid for a record 21st grand slam triumph, takes it as a personal affront to lose even a single set at Roland Garros and fought in time-honoured fashion to preserve his record of consecutive winning sets there, which he's now extended to 26.
Even battling that extra yard to make Popyrin play just one shot -that fateful smash - was worth it for Nadal.
"I was so close. Smashes are usually my best shots that I don't usually miss," sighed the 21 year-old. "To miss one - and how I missed it, was very disappointing."
You don't get second chances against the 34-year-old Spaniard, who then went on to dominate the tiebreak and emerge triumphant, racking up his 101st victory at Roland Garros after two hours 23 minutes.
Popyrin, who'd fired 34 winners and left Nadal afterwards laughing on court about the breathtaking nature of his hitting, was let down by too many soft errors - his unforced count was 43 - but never looked overawed.
He reckoned he felt a mixture of pride and disappointment - "I expect myself to give the top players a tough time" - but he wasn't going to mope around worrying about the loss.
"I'll get over it by tonight. I'll call my girlfriend, hop on some Playstation, it's not a big deal. But I don't want to chalk down too many of my matches to experience any more - I think I'm experienced enough now."
At least, he had more words of praise from the great man Nadal ringing in his ears.
"He has everything to become a great, to become a fantastic player," Nadal said, after his second victory over the youngster in a month. "Let's see what's going on in the next couple of years."
The words prompted a huge smile from Popyrin.
"I agree! What can I say? I've got to agree with the greatest of all time," beamed the Sydneysider. "If he says it, it must be true."