When the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman airs on Wednesday night, America will not only lose one of its most iconic comedians and entertainers, but also one of its greatest champions of tennis. An unabashed fan of the game, Letterman never shied away from inviting tennis players onto his show. Letterman introduced viewers to the likes of Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal and Marat Safin, along with American greats like John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Serena Williams.
It's hard to overstate how important Letterman was to the sport. Tennis thanks you, Dave. And we'll miss you.
Here's some of our favorite tennis moments from The Late Show with David Letterman over the years.
Pete Sampras: September 1996
Sampras' lone appearance came after he won Wimbledon in 1994. And he had to do the interview as a chef cooked up dinner.
Marat Safin: September 2000
After he won the U.S. Open in 2000, Safin went on a grand media tour and U.S. audiences got to see what tennis fans already knew: Safin was the best interview in tennis and his quick wit translated easily.
John McEnroe: Guest host and more
Serena Williams: Five-time guest, interviewee
Andy Roddick: Two-time guest
Roddick made his first appearance after winning his only major, the 2003 U.S. Open.
Maria Sharapova: Two-time guest
Sharapova popped up on the show for the first time in 2006 after winning her second major, at the U.S. Open. Poised and willing to throw a few barbs Letterman's way, it was a good introduction for Sharapova to American audiences who may have never seen her interviewed.
Andre Agassi: Two-time guest
Rafael Nadal: August 2011
It speaks volumes about Nadal's confidence in his English that he was willing to banter with the quick-talking Letterman. Then again, it turns out Rafa is used to a quick tongue.
Novak Djokovic: August 2014
Marin Cilic: September 2014