An ailing Thanasi Kokkinakis battled London heat and a lingering illness but slumped to a first-round defeat in his maiden Wimbledon assault.
The Australian teenage sensation, who was laid low with a stomach bug in the past week, admitted to throwing up in his mouth on occasion during the three-set defeat to 24th seed Leonardo Mayer on Monday, which nearly dragged into a fourth hour.
Kokkinakis started strongly but faded in going down 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to Argentine Mayer, lamenting a lack of energy and confidence.
“It was disappointing. I didn’t find the energy I wanted,” he said.
“I just didn’t play with any confidence out there.
“It’s just disappointing – a big tournament, and you’re trying to play as well as you can, but you’re not quite with it.
Despite reaching the third round at the French Open a month ago, Kokkinakis endured an awful preparation for the grasscourt tournament, with the death of his grandmother hitting the 19-year-old hard before he was struck down by a serious stomach bug.
“I’d be lying if I said my preparation was ideal,” he said.
“Last two weeks after French I actually had a really good week training on the grass, and then couple of things happened.
“As soon as I came back home and started to train well again, I got sick. I don’t know what it was.
“I’m still finding out what antibiotics I’m about to take now.”
The 19-year-old looked the better of the two in the first set, but Mayer’s experience shone through in both tiebreakers.
The 67-minute first set was too much for one young ball boy, who appeared faint as he staggered near the baseline late in the set.
The weary youngster had to be replaced at the start of the tiebreak, but recovered sufficiently to return to his duties later in the day.
Kokkinakis drew on heavy crowd support to save two set points, but crucially put a straightforward volley into the net to throw the set away.
“I managed to get it to two tiebreakers, had a good chance in the first set,” he said.
“I had a good chance to break early in the second, as well. Didn’t take it.
“(Then) got up a break in the third and got broken straight back.”
Kokkinakis is no stranger to five-set marathons, having come from two sets down to defeat compatriot Bernard Tomic in Paris last month.
He displayed those same fighting qualities in a near three-hour clash on court 16, saving two match points before luck went against him.
Serving to stay in the match the youngster looked on in despair as a firm Mayer backhand clipped the net and dropped harmlessly to close out the three-set win.