Federer puts defeat into perspective

This content was published 13 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

As is usually the way after a defeat – something which a few years ago was a rare event but which is occurring a little more regularity these days – Roger Federer was philosophical, paying tribute to Richard Gasquet, who beat him 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-4(4) and maintaining that he was still on course for a good showing at the forthcoming French Open.

“I had multiple chances,” said the no.3 seed . “In the second set at 4-4, I really thought (I was going to win). Sometimes it’s unfortunate because I was playing well and then it didn’t happen at all any more so it was a disappointing end to the match. It was tough to play, the court was slippery and Richard started to play better as the match went on, in particular his serve. It was tough and I never thought I was going to win the tie-breaks and it was not fun to play that way.”

Whenever Federer – a man who occupied the world no.1 slot for 285 weeks – suffers a loss, people tend to look for the reasons why, but for the Swiss, the explanation is simple. “Look, there is something that you have to understand – Richard is a very good player, so please do not be surprised if he plays good tennis.  That is what you are supposed to do.  I played him in the semis in Wimbledon, the finals in Hamburg and the finals of Toronto and I think he does not need to prove his point that he can play tennis. It makes it seem as if he has no forehand and this is the first time he has. I don’t think that is how it was and I don’t know if you have been living under a rock or not but I think he has been playing really well for many years. Clay is his surface and he is a good enough player that if you do not play very well, then he beats you. He is very talented and he cuts his errors to the minimum.”

“If I was sitting here an hour ago I would have been very happy because I would have won the match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 and everyone would have been more relaxed,” Federer concluded. “It was not a whole lot of fun to play that way but it will not affect my preparation and work for the French Open. I will be fine. I definitely think I should not have lost this match and that is annoying but I am definitely happy to have two, three or four days off to feel physically and mentally fresh for the French Open. I am feeling great now and I’ll practise when I get to Paris and that is the plan. So it is in the same the last few years and that at this time I will get a couple more days of which is not bad.”

Unfortunately for Federer, the players who are good enough to beat him seem to be multiplying as the years wear on, as do the days off between tournament exits.

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