As a new roof perched thankfully unused above No 1 Court on Monday, a new star was born upon it with 15-year-old Cori Gauff announced her arrival on the Wimbledon stage by dumping five-time champion Venus Williams out of the tournament.
As an entrance goes, a 6-4, 6-4 dispatch of a legend in such an environment is a showbiz sweep down the spiral staircase for a player in the same school year as the Wimbledon ball boys and girls.
To take down one of the Williams sisters, even one in her declining years, was an emotional felling operation. As black American tennis players they were – and are – her role models and in between sobs, Gauff delivered a heartfelt message at the net.
“At the end I was just telling her thank you for everything she’s done. She and her sister have been heroes for me and many other little girls out there,” explained Gauff.
The last time she cried, she revealed afterwards, had been when Iron Man died in the film Avengers: Endgame.
Even if Monday’s win might have to be flagged up for investigation by Age Concern against a player 24 years her senior, there is no doubt women’s tennis has a bright and rare talent on its hands in the kid nicknamed Coco.
“The sky’s the limit, it really is,” said Williams afterwards. “I’m really happy to see her play great. She did everything well. She served well, she moved well, she put the ball in the court much better than I did. It was a great match for her.”
Williams won two of her Wimbledon titles before her young rival was born and with such an age gap you half -expected Gauff to help her across the court when they walked onto it before the start or maybe offer her a seat.
Gauff showed a mark lack of respect for her elders from the start and, playing with extraordinary composure, took the first set 6-4 after breaking Williams in the fifth game.