David Ferrer's final appearance in Auckland has ended in heartbreaking fashion.
Ferrer injured his right calf with the score at 1-1 in his second round clash against Pablo Carreno-Busta, and despite his best efforts, he couldn't continue, drawing to a close an Auckland career which saw him claim four titles.
He deserved so much better. Ferrer had picked the ASB Classic as just one of six tournaments on his 2019 farewell tour, and became a crowd favourite across his 14 appearances in Auckland.
Having beaten Robin Haase 6-2, 6-1 in the first round, and with the draw opening up, there was hope amongst the Auckland faithful that their man could go on one last dream run.
Instead, his tournament ended in disaster. At 15-0 in the third game, Ferrer hurt his leg attempting to swivel on a forehand at the net. After a medical timeout, he attempted to push on, but one point later, he raised his hand, ending his tournament, and his career in Auckland.
Winner in 2007, and having reeled off three straight titles from 2011-2013, Ferrer began his Auckland adventure in 2003 with a win over Spain's Alberto Martin, and 16 years later, his run came to an end at the hands of a compatriot.
Ferrer hobbled off to a standing ovation as an apologetic Carreno-Busta embraced him at the net, but with Ferrer one of his heroes growing up, he seemed just as gloomy as the packed Stanley Street crowd.
Despite the disappointing finish, Ferrer reflected on his many great memories in Auckland.
"My last tournament – it's not good, but there's no worries, I really have had good memories here. I'm very proud with my career – and for me, my best trophies are your support. I really appreciate everything that you did for me.
"I remember when I came in here in 2003, and now, having played my last match, my last point, I am a different person.
"It was a priority for me to play here. I won here four times, the people here were very polite to me and my team, it's like my second home. I hope we come back here with my family – but remember – I won the last point," laughed Ferrer.
After 32 wins at Stanley Street, Ferrer left behind his trademark headband on centre court as he departed for one last time – the final gift from a man who has given so much to the ASB Classic.