Frank Dancevic’s Wimbledon experience is done and dusted, but it certainly had its moments

WIMBLEDON – Above is how Canadian Frank Dancevic started his experience at the All-England Club, on a the immaculate Court 8 last Saturday.

Below is how he ended it, on a slightly more worse-for-wear Court 10, at most 100 feet away, Thursday.

Dancevic came to the bumpy grass of the qualifying courts at Roehampton straight off a full week's clay-court tennis in Kosice, Slovakia, where he won a Challenger event.

During that Roehampton period, he caused quite a stir as he (justifiably) complained about the lack of flexibility of the volunteer staff at the qualifying event, and the lack of support/medical staff available to take care of more than 200 players in the qualifying.

Ten days later, his Wimbledon experience ended as he limped off the court after a second-round loss to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazahstan, with a dodgy lower back and an even dodgier new hairdo.

He also leaves with an additional £43,000 ($78,105.63 at the latest exchange rate), and 61 ATP ranking points (16 for getting to the final round of qualifying, another 45 for reaching the second round of the main draw) – enough to move him back into the top 100, likely around No. 92, and ensure that he doesn't have to go through qualifying again at the U.S. Open in August.

So despite how it ended, it was a pretty productive trip, even if he did have to lay out £500 for an MRI on Wednesday (even with a one-third off players' discount)

Dancevic's win over big-serving Ivo Karlovic was a master class in carpe diem. Basically, a couple of returns in each tiebreaker won it for him, including a sweet down the line backhand off a huge serve that you couldn't even practice if you tried. Dancevic didn't even serve that well in the two tiebreakers, but Karlovic returned poorly, wasting a ton of opportunities on second serves.

Here are some photos from that one.

And here's what Dancevic had to say about it.

That brought him to the second round, against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

Kukushkin is a good player. But he's not a player you really mind seeing in the second round of a major.

Unfortunately, Dancevic's back started acting up after that win over Karlovic. He skipped practice entirely the day after. And he had the doctor examine the back and even had an MRI done.

There was nothing structural, nothing related to the herniated disc issues that have taken him off the court twice in recent years. So, he played. He had some tape on his loser back, but it was clear he was far from 100 per cent.

But by the end, he wasn't even moving. Even at 2-5 in the third set, the trainer was working on his lower back. But it was sort of a moot point, at that point.

"I wasn’t going to risk hurting it, pushing it to the limit and being out for the summer. I feel like I’m playing well, I’m on a pretty decent streak right now, feel like I can have a good summer, good rest of the year," he said. "I made the decision to go and play and do my best and play with what I had, but I was impressed by the way the guy played."

It should be noted that Dancevic tends to overpraise his opponent after he's been beaten – even when he's healthy. It's a nice gesture but the truth was that Kukushkin, who had a couple of serious strappings on his knees, didn't have to play that well.

"In the end, being out of the qualies, lucky loser, get in, had a really good win first round, that’s life. I would have loved to be 100 per cent and played the match of my life (Thursday) but it didn’t happen. I move on," he said.

The MRI might have been costly. But the haircut was free of charge. Dancevic joked that it was to celebrate not getting any bad news from the MRI.

Let's just say he got his money's worth on that one.

Dancevic is signed up to play a Challenger in Todi, Italy. But he said he'll likely pull out of it and give his body time to recover. He's committed to playing World Team Tennis for the Philadelphia Freedoms next month. And then comes the U.S. hard-court season, including the Rogers Cup in Toronto.