London: Sergiy Stakhovsky, the man who hails from Kiev in Ukraine and is ranked outside the world's top 100, wiped the smile off Roger Federer's face on Wednesday after evicting the Swiss from his own backyard at Wimbledon. Since winning the first of his record 17 grand slam titles on the Centre Court here in 2003, no one had managed to eject the grasscourt master before the quarter-finals. On Wednesday, the world finally met a man who did.
Sergiy Stakhovsky is the 116th ranked tennis player in the world. Today he defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon in the second round. You would assume that is the greatest thing he has ever done, but you would be wrong because two years ago, the 27-year old Ukranian married Anfisa Stakhovsky (formerly Anfisa Bulgakova. Or “Anfissa Bulgakova.”). She happens to be a 5-foot-10 Russian model. In addition to being tall and pretty, Anfisa holds a Masters degree in Strategic Marketing.
Stakhovsky, 27, turned professional in 2003 and reached his career-high singles ranking in September 2010, when he was world no. 31. He waited for five years to win his first career title, when he won the Zagreb Indoors after qualifying for the tournament as a lucky loser ranked 209th. He beat Ivan Ljubicic in the final, thus becoming the first lucky loser to win a title since Christian Miniussi in 1991.
As a junior, the Ukrainian rubbed shoulders with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. While he lost to Murray in the final of the US Open in 2004, he managed to beat Djokovic in the quarter-finals of Luxembourg.
Before doing what most thought was impossible - i.e. beating Federer at Wimbledon - Stakhovsky had won four titles as a professional, winning the Zagreb Indoors (2008), St. Petersburg Open (2009), UNICEF Open (2010) and Pilot Pen Tennis (2010). After his twin titles in 2010, he became the first Ukrainian to lift two trophies in a season since Andrei Medvedev in 1994.
Stakhovsky also has three doubles titles to his name. He won the Kremlin Cup in 2008 partnering Italy's Potito Starace and followed it up by winning two titles with the Russian Mikhail Youzhny - the 2010 Gerry Webber Open and the 2011 Dubai Tennis Championships.
But his best day under the sun arrived in the English Summer on Wednesday, where he beat a man who has his name written in almost every tennis record book. Stakhovsky proved that the impossible was possible, 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. Federer's world ranking was third, Stakhovsky's 116.
"When you come here, on the cover of the Wimbledon book... is Roger Federer. Our sport is Roger Federer," Stakhovsky said after beating the legend 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5, 7-6(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."
Steve Darcis brought Spain's Rafael Nadal to his knees in a first-round shock two days ago, but by beating Federer on the grasscourts of Wimbledon, Stakhovsky has done the unthinkable.