The new age of Australian tennis has seen the old guard out for the final time.
Bernard Tomic had to battle on day four of the U.S. Open to defeat compatriot and the hero of his childhood, Lleyton Hewitt.
Tomic had the upper hand early when going up two sets to nil. Hewitt however, drew on all the tenacity and strength for which he has become known, to push his younger opponent and friend to the limits.
It almost worked as a strategy, too. Tomic started to feel the effects of what appeared to be cramp late in the fifth as Hewitt refused to let go, in what was to be his last appearance on the international Open tennis stage.
Lessons were there to be learned by the 22-year-old as his older and wiser opponent played a smart game when both bodies were tiring.
It was the tennis that did the talking and produced quality play from both and had Tomic admitting, in his post-match interview, to being very nervous playing his hero and friend but knowing not to underestimate him.
Refreshingly, there were no signs of temper or dissent and all indications were that Tomic would not disrespect Hewitt in that way.
It was all about the tennis.
Tomic has had his issues in recent times, not reacting well to the spotlight and, by his own admission, the big money.
But his form on the court has been improving and this game could and should be a turning point in his career as this victory puts him into the third round of the U.S. Open for the first time.
Having been candid about his failings and looking to focus on his tennis, it will be interesting to see how Tomic progresses from here as Week One of this final Grand Slam of 2015 comes to a close when he faces the 12th seeded veteran Richard Gasquet on Saturday.Suggest a correction