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2016-07-08 18:13:00 CET

Gabathuler’s Gstaadium goodbye

Defeat marks end of a distinguished career for Swiss star

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen goodbye: Philip thanks the fans. Photocredit: Melanie Duchene.So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen goodbye: Philip thanks the fans. Photocredit: Melanie Duchene.

It was the end of an era on Center Court for an emotional Philip Gabathuler as the veteran Swiss star’s last tournament in Gstaad ended in defeat.

The 33-year-old knew that he and partner Mirco Gerson needed to beat Kadziola/Szalankiewicz to guarantee a place in Saturday’s elimination round – but the Poles edged a dramatic final set and the tears at the end of the match told their own story as Gabathuler saluted the crowd.

“I’m going to miss these moments and these feelings, the adrenaline and playing in front of the home crowd,” said a teary Gabathuler, who was playing in his 12th and final competition here in the mountains.

“Losing is part of the sport, that’s how it is and of course you want to try and go as far as you can. It’s difficult to take losing like this but at the same time it was special. I didn’t go into the game thinking ‘this could be my last match’ I just wanted to win so we could play tomorrow.

“It’s the same for every player who plays in front of their home crowd. It’s a special tournament but there was always going to be a last time – just like there was a first time. I’m happy to have played here this long and I wish good luck to all of the guys who can continue to play here in Gstaad. It’s one of the loveliest places in the world for beach volleyball.

“But it will probably take a while to realize what has happened.”

As Gabathuler left the sand on the Gstaadium for one last time – the emotion on his face told us all we needed to know.

Thank you, Philip, and good luck!

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