Giving tennis more than a shot

Roger Federer: “I kind of feel like I beat myself.”

Still an image we are not used to seeing so early in Grand Slams...

Still an image we are not used to seeing so early in Grand Slams…

A wave of shock hit the tennis world yesterday when, after a very lengthy rain delay, former World n°1 Roger Federer was knocked out of the U.S. Open by 19th seed Tommy Robredo, 7-6(3) 6-3 6-4, in the round-of-16.

It is not so much the defeat in itself rather than the way it happened that caused quite the shock, and Federer himself pointed it out afterwards:

“The story of my life: when I lose, people are shellshocked to see me play this way.”

Tommy Robredo rightfully celebrates the first time he defeated Roger Federer in 11 meetings

Tommy Robredo rightfully celebrates the first time he defeated Roger Federer in 11 meetings

The truth is that it really was a shock to see him play that way. Not that Tommy Robredo did not play well, all the contrary! The veteran Spaniard played an incredible match, but he played his usual game, as even Federer pointed out.

However, the Swiss really started poorly, was not moving well, seemed a split second late on the action, shanked many balls, … And it stayed thus for the whole match. All in all, it was not a good match from his part, and his defeat adds up to a few similar ones he’s had since the start of the season.

What went wrong? Federer tried to come up with the explanation:

“I kind of feel like I beat myself, you know, without taking any credit away from Tommy. Clearly he was making sure he was making many balls. It was up to me to make the difference and I couldn’t. I kind of self destructed, which is very disappointing, especially on a quicker court. Your serve helps you out. You’re going to make the difference somewhere. I just couldn’t do it. It was a frustrating performance today.”

[…]

“We have a forehand here, end up losing the point like three times. Every time like he comes you play where he’s standing, and, I mean, it just ended up being a bad combination of many things today.

Pretty harsh words coming from him. Nevertheless, his blunt honesty is something to be admired.

Getting his nose back to the grindstone

One of those days... again... but he'll be back.

One of those days… again… but he’ll be back.

As it seems to have become a habit when Federer loses, some media and fans alike were quick to predict Federer’s downfall, wanting him to retire, and so on.

Not Roger.

Instead, he showed and stated once more that he still belongs, that he wants to be out there, and that he is willing to work as hard as it takes to get back to winning ways.

“I’ve definitely got to go back to work and come back stronger, you know, get rid of this loss now as quick as I can, forget about it, because that’s not how I want to play from here on. I want to play better. I know I can. I showed it the last few weeks, that there is that level. So today was pretty frustrating.”

He’ll be back

With the retirement innuendos left and right, Players Council member Sergiy Stakhovsky, who ended Federer’s record quarter-final streak last Wimbledon and his known for being pretty opinionated and outspoken, had those very wise words on Twitter:

 

 

He is completely right.

Roger Federer always finds a way to come back. This time will be no different. Like Stakhovsky said: give him time. He might still surprise you.

(Photos: Getty Images)

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4 Comments

  1. Carol Carol
    3 September, 2013    

    I read somewhere that he was going to try to follow Hewitt’s attitude regarding rankings, which doesn’t sound like he’s planning to retire any time soon — not that he’s given any indication about doing so anyway, quite the contrary.

    I guess the pundits need something to talk about since all of their predictions were wrong regarding the “soft” quarter being wide open for anyone to come through. How shocking that Ferrer and Gasquet are actually meeting in that quarterfinal! *rolls eyes*

  2. 3 September, 2013    

    I think you might have read the Federer comments from me, on BATennis World, Carol. I know I wrote about it when the interview came out just before Gstaad (and the reason my articles are, for now, here rather than there where they should be is because the site is unmanageable and we’re building a new platform that will be easier to update).

    But he’s said so often since Wimbledon that if the body holds, he plans to play for a few more years that people should start listening and let him enjoy the job he loves in complete peace… and let the fans enjoy watching him, even if he’s struggling right now. For all he’s done for the sport, he deserves that, and the right to do whatever the heck he wants with the rest of his career.

  3. Deborah Deborah
    3 September, 2013    

    Thanks for this. For some reason, there seems to be this desire to push Roger out of the sport as if other players haven’t experienced downturns. I’ve been a fan since 2006 and the calls for Federer to step out of the sport started in 2008. We had it again in 2010 when he lost to Berdych at Wimby, 2011 when he went out to Tsonga at Wimby, yet he roared back in 2012. Not expecting that level but he can still play and as long as he wants to stay out there, I intend to cheer.

  4. Carol Carol
    4 September, 2013    

    Ah, that could easily be it. I’ve had one eye on tennis and the other on studying for exams, and the latter information is much more important to keep in mind right now.

    I didn’t actually watch his match the other night, as I had the Ferrer-Tipsarevic match on. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of other opportunities to see Federer play.

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