A longtime fan favourite and a player who I always enjoyed watching either in person or on TV. Cypriot Baghdatis was an unpredictable player both in shotmaking and emotion. He would joke and play the jester at times, at others he would decimate the world’s very best.
Most will rightly remember him best for his career-highlight appearance in the Australian Open Final in 2006. En route he defeated stalwarts such as Gimelstob, Stepanek, Roddick, Ljubicic and Nalbandian to then fully test a prime Federer -winning the first set no less – in the final hurdle.
Australia was his favourite but he was very much an all-court player and did well in all majors, a semi final at Wimbledon the other real highlight. His win loss ratio against Top Ten players was admirable and during his career he vanquished the very best from several generations including Federer, Nadal, Murray, Hewitt, Ferrer, Berdych and Thiem.
Injury did much to disrupt what could have been an even more glittering career, with several major dips followed by heroic resurgences up the rankings. By 2017 however the end was in sight but in true Baghdatis spirit, he would crop up here and there in big matches on tour for another 3 years.
The game will miss his character, heart and cheekiness but so too his on-the-day devastating talent.