Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov may be the young guns of men’s tennis but at Wimbledon they were firing blanks.
Tomic, the youngest player in the top 100 at aged 20, saw his campaign, which took place against a background of controversy involving his father, ended by Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych in the fourth round on Monday.
Raonic, the 22-year-old Canadian and seeded 17, was gone by the second round, losing to Dutch world number 64, Igor Sisjling.
Dimitrov, meanwhile, failed again to live up to his “Baby Federer” tag as the 22-year-old Bulgarian, ranked at 31 in the world, was knocked out in the third round by Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja, the world number 55.
Their problem is that the Grand Slam bar has already been set consistently high.
World number one Novak Djokovic was 20 when he won his first major at the 2008 Australian Open while Roger Federer was 21 when he lifted his maiden Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon in 2003.
Rafael Nadal was French Open champion at just 19.
Tomic, who came into Wimbledon at 59 in the world and was a quarter-finalist at the All England Club two years ago, insists he is heading in the right direction.
“I’m still 20, so to look back knowing you’ve got to the quarters here and a fourth round and you’re only 20 is a very good feeling,” he said.
“I think my tennis is different. Obviously when I’m playing well it’s inside for sure the top 15, and I can beat anyone when I’m playing well. That’s for sure.
“I’ve got to stay consistent, work hard. I have had my ups and downs the past few months. I have the next six months where I can really improve and try and do as best I can at these next four, five weeks on hard courts.”
Tomic and his contemporaries, who are waiting to fill the power vacuum should Federer and Nadal fail to rediscover their powers on a consistent basis, also face a psychological barrier when it comes to beating the game’s heavyweights.
Tomic, for example, saw his 2011 Wimbledon bid ended by Djokovic while last year Federer stopped him in the round of 16.
Raonic has yet to get beyond the fourth round at a major, falling to Federer in the last-16 at this year’s Australian Open while world number two Andy Murray took him out at the same stage of the 2012 US Open.
Dimitrov, whose Wimbledon profile was boosted more by his romance with Maria Sharapova than his on-court achievements, has to still to get beyond the third round of any major.
“I think pressure’s everywhere. I think one of the toughest things you’ve got to face is your own expectations,” said Dimitrov, a former boys champion at Wimbledon.
“I mean, you’ll be judged anyway, right? I think the most important thing is stay true to yourself, your team, really try to build up something through the years and work.
“You know one day if you do the right things, eventually things will happen for you. I’m not worried about any of the comparisons. I think that’s just a very important thing to me in how I’m going to deal with my own pressure. It’s my own business.”