Well, almost. First Rafa Nadal was sent spinning out of the tournament by a brash, not-so-young, Czech journeyman ranked 100th in the world, then title holder Novak Djokovic also seemed to heading for an early checkout when he lost the first set to 33-year-old Radek Stepanek.
If that was not enough to set off the panic alarms, Federer joined in the drama when he went two sets down, and stood two points from defeat, against unheralded Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
While Djokovic spluttered and six-time champion Federer staggered into the fourth round, Lukas Rosol’s incredible second-round win over Nadal proved that the so-called ‘unbeatables’ were very much beatable.
“What this victory of Rosol does is give great belief to other players that they can beat the top guys, which I think is great, even though it might not be that great for me down the stretch,” Federer told reporters after pulling off his own great escape.
“I think it’s great for the sport that it is possible, such a victory for a lower-ranked player. In terms of Rafa Nadal being No. 2 in the world and the champion he is, it’s obviously a massive upset.
“I hope it does give many other players great belief in playing us in the future.”
That ‘belief’ has been lacking in tennis’s bit-part players for a number of years, and it is not difficult to see why.
So complete has been Federer, Nadal and Djokovic’s tight-fisted rule of the sport for the last seven years, tennis had