Bernard Tomic has crashed out of the US Open but not before featuring in the sporting moment of the tournament with 12th seed Richard Gasquet.
Tomic triggered a standing ovation for Gasquet on The Grandstand after the classy Frenchman produced a dazzling round-the-net-post forehand winner early in the third set of his 6-4 6-3 6-1 victory on Saturday.
Left in awe by Gasquet’s extraordinary court coverage and racquet skills to produce possibly the shot of the Open, Tomic rushed to the Wimbledon semi-finalist and give him a congratulatory fist bump.
The Australian then went to the back of the court, put down his racquet and urged the capacity crowd to applaud the Frenchman.
Gasquet said he’d never before shared such an on-court moment with an opponent.
“I think I never did it,” he said.
“Bernard is a great friend of mine, so I think I can do it with him. You don’t do it with guys you don’t like. With him, he’s a great friend.
“Yeah, I think it was the best shot of the match for sure. When I saw he put it on the net, I saw I could do it, and of course it’s a lucky shot because if it’s not touching the net I can’t do that.
“Of course it’s an incredible shot, so I’m very happy with it. It’s very funny for me. The crowd loved it. That’s very nice.”
His instinctive sporting gesture was the highlight of an otherwise forgettable match for Tomic.
“At that moment I didn’t care that I was losing. You don’t see that every day,” he said.
“For everyone it was huge. I’d like to see that on replay – I’m going to watch that tonight. It was an amazing point.
“He was playing very good. I have to congratulate him.”
Just as he did to eliminate Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon, Gasquet brought his A game to take out Tomic in less than an hour and a half.
The Frenchman landed 18 winners to Tomic’s one from his famous one-handed backhand wing and Australia’s 24th seed said he struggled to back up physically and mentally from his sapping five-set second-round win over Lleyton Hewitt.
“It’s amazing when a top player like that who has been very long in the top 10 is playing good,” Tomic said.
“I’m (only) a little bit off him my ranking-wise but I was no chance.
“I was trying but I was very tired and I couldn’t keep up with the ball speed.
“Every match we played in the past we were close apart from the Roland Garros where I came back from surgery and he destroyed me as well.
“The one I got him in Wimbledon I played him very well but that’s on grass. I was serving well feeling good.
“But today I just couldn’t find the momentum at the right time. He was playing very very good tennis.”