Saturday, July 20, 2013

Federer: "I don't think it had much to do with racquet"

Roger Federer's struggles continue, at least for now

(July 20, 2013)--Roger Federer looked to be in good shape for a title run at the Bet-at-Home Open in Hamburg after surviving a roller coaster ride of a match against Florian Mayer, but on Saturday against qualifier and world No. 114 Federico Delbonis the Swiss Maestro dropped two tiebreakers to fall 7-6(7), 7-6(4).

Instead of passing John McEnroe to move into sole position on the ATP's all time title list, Federer achieved a less desirable milestone when, according to ATP stats guru Greg Sharko, he lost to players outside the top 100 in back-to-back events for the first time since 2002:

Federer has now lost to players ranked outside of the top 100 12 times in his career, but it had not happened since 2005 until he went down to Sergiy Stakhovsky at Wimbledon.

Natrally, Federer was not thrilled with the loss, but in the end he accepted defeat, saying that Delbonis was the better player and that he was happy to have gotten in some much-needed match time with the new stick:

"I don’t think it had much to do with the racket today," Federer said. "I mean I’m in the semi-finals, I know how I’m feeling. I tried hard. I tried everything I could at this tournament. It’s been a difficult week throughout. But I’m happy I fought through many matches. It gives me the matches I was looking for. I was clearly hoping after winning a tough one yesterday to somehow get through today and then give myself an opportunity to win the title tomorrow. Also it’s disappointing but defeats like that happen sometimes."

Is it time to push the panic button yet for Federer? Or, was that button already pushed when Federer decided to switch to a larger racquet and play two clay-court events in the middle of what is typically his post-Wimbledon holiday?

I think the answer is no to both questions. Clearly Federer is struggling, both with confidence and with feel right now, but the good news is that he's got another event coming up in Gstaad next week, and he'll get more matches with the new frame before he heads to the U.S. for a surface that is much more favorable to his game.

"Yes, of course I’m happy I came here," Federer said. "There is no disappointment or downside of playing here. I had a good week... Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the finals but nevertheless I did have four good matches and these are the kind of matches I need. They weren’t straightforward, they were hard fought. That’s something I didn’t have that much this week. Clearly I hope to return one day to this tournament. But for now that’s it. So, hopefully I’ll come back soon."

Federer, seeded first in Gstaad, will play the winner of the first round match between Daniel Brands and Marco Chiudinelli in the second round.

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