Federer recalls painful loss ahead of Del Potro clash

Roger Federer has described his defeat to Juan Martin del Potro as ‘one of the biggest losses in my career’. As he looked ahead to an opening round meeting with the Argentine at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Federer reflected on a painful defeat in the 2009 US Open final when he was within two points of victory, and also on his loss to del Potro in their most recent match at the 2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

“I thought both matches were really good. They were both very close,” said the World No. 3. “There was a lot on the line in both matches, qualifying for the semis in the World Tour Finals. And then US Open obviously having all the chances, it was a tough one to lose, definitely one of the bigger losses in my career, I think, because I really think it shouldn’t have gone away.”

Federer acknowledged that since those two meetings, del Potro had gone through a ‘rough patch’, undergoing wrist surgery in 2010 and being limited to just three tournaments that year. Meanwhile, the Swiss won five titles from nine finals during del Potro’s injury-marred season, including triumphs at the Australian Open and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

This season, they have similar records - Federer entering the second-round clash with a 40-10 mark and one title, del Potro with a 38-12 match record and two titles.

“It’s been different roads, but here we are,” said Federer, the two-time defending Cincinnati champion. “In the first round it’s obviously unusual to play such a good player in the first round, but we’re going to try to be as ready as we can be.”

Federer is looking for a much-needed title, currently mired in a seven-month title drought since winning Doha in the opening week of the season. He has reached two other finals since at Dubai and Roland Garros.

“I am obviously aware when things are going better or so so,” admitted the 30 year old. “I think you have to be aware of those moments. It’s no good to have illusions so you can tell yourself, Nah, you’re playing great, but you’re actually not, or you’re playing badly but you’re actually playing well. I think I’m obviously aware of where my game is at.

“It maybe doesn’t look like I’m making changes, but I’m definitely making adjustments… For me, I think it’s tweaking little things here and there in a match when it’s not going so well. If it’s not working, then you have practice to go back to and get ready for more. That’s my approach, really.”

He even opened the door to the possibility of changing his racquet. “Should I change racquet head size? Should I change strings? It’s always something that is in my mind. Why not use the great technology they have instead of just saying, I’m so happy with what I have; don’t even talk to me.”

Federer stated that while he felt pressure coming into this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament as the defending champion, he also drew confidence from his previous success in Cincinnati, where he has won four titles.

“It’s nice coming back to a place where you did play well,” he said. “That gives you confidence, even though I haven’t played a lot the last few weeks and months. You can draw from the year before and the year before that maybe even where you remember you played so well here. Crowds kind of like to see you here.

“All these things can have a positive effect on your game. But important is to get through that first round. This is not just a simple first round.”

Date: 16.08.2011, Source: ATP


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