In the most stunning of upsets on a day filled with surprises, third-seeded and seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was eliminated in the second round by Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, derailing Federer's chance to win an 18th Grand Slam title.
Stakhovsky, a serve-and-volleyer who is ranked No. 116 in the world and had never beaten a top 10 player in 20 previous tries, recovered from a late fall on the slippery grass of Center Court to prevail, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).
Federer had reached the quarterfinals of 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. This was his earliest exit since he lost in the first round of the French Open in 2003.
"Disbelief," Stakhovsky said in a post-match interview on the BBC. "I was just hoping in the beginning of the match he wouldn't get too far from me."
He added, "I got a little tight up a break in the fourth set," again not believing he had a chance to defeat Federer.
Earlier, Federer had been told by Wimbledon officials that he
the orange-soled shoes he had worn during his first-round victory and that he must adhere to the tournament’s rules regarding white clothing and shoes.
The shoes, custom-made for him by Nike, had an orange sole and orange trim on the side.
But the change in shoes probably had little to do with the defeat for Federer, who joined the parade of upsets that began on opening day with the loss of No. 5 Rafael Nadal and continued on Wednesday among both the men and women.
[Updated at 1:09 p.m.: During a televised post-match news conference Federer acknowledged his disappointment at exiting so early, "particularly here." But he said he would abide by the proverbial 24-hour rule -- not thinking of a win or a loss beyond one day -- and said he was not panicking.
"You can't have them all, you know?" he said. "It was a tough loss. I appreciated the ovation I got."
He quashed suggestions that his loss might represent the end of an era. "No, because I still have plans to play for many more years to come," said the Swiss native, who will be 32 on Aug. 8.
He also chided the media for hyping a possible quarterfinal confrontation between himself and Rafael Nadal, the No. 5 seed who was eliminated in the first round. "It sends a message to you guys that you shouldn't do that," he said.
Federer said his streak of reaching the quarterfinals in 36 consecutive Grand Slam matches was "a great number," but he wasn't obsessed with it. "It's a great number. I wish it wasn't going to end today," he said. "It's a great number and I can be proud of it. I'm moving on from here."
In addition, he was quick to credit Stakhovsky's performance. "It's difficult to get into a rhythm against a player like that," he said of the serve-and-volley player. "I think he did really well."]