Greatest record in Tennis ended; Federer said no need to panic

As tumultuous a day as professional tennis has produced in its nearly half-century history ended in the most unforeseeable, unexplainable way of all: a second-round loss by Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion and 17-time Grand Slam champ shuffled off Centre Court with dusk approaching on the fortnight's first Wednesday, his streak of reaching at least the quarterfinals at a record 36 consecutive major tournaments snapped by a man ranked 116th.

His remarkable 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) defeat against Sergiy Stakhovsky marked Federer's earliest Grand Slam exit in a decade.

“You don't panic at this point, that's clear,” Federer stated.

“You just go back to work and come back stronger really. It’s somewhat simple. It’s hard to do sometimes. But usually, I do turnarounds pretty good.  I'm looking forward to what's to come. I hope I can play a good summer, a good end to the season. This is clearly not what I was hoping for here today at this tournament.”

Federer’s loss ended one of the most impressive streaks in sports. Entering The Championships at SW19, Federer had made 36 successive trips to the quarter-finals or better at Grand Slams, which began nine years ago at the All England Club. Though now in territory he hasn’t been in during the pinnacle of his career, Federer declared that his time is far from up.

“I still have plans to play for many more years to come. It's normal that after all of a sudden losing early after being in the quarters 36 times, people feel it's different,” said Federer. “You guys hyped it up so much: me playing Rafa, and we're both out. So there's a letdown clearly. Maybe it's also somewhat a bit disrespectful to the other opponents who are in the draw still. I think it sends a message to you guys as well that maybe you shouldn't do that so often next time around.”

While he denied that it was the end of an era, Federer was pragmatic about the implications of his defeat. Wimbledon had been a place Federer relied on to find inspiration or jump start his results. Last year, after narrowly avoiding an early loss to Julien Benneteau in the third round, Federer went on to defeat Andy Murray in the final to reclaim the No. 1 Ranking and extended his No. 1 ranking to a record 302 weeks.

“Right now, this is a setback, a disappointment, whatever you want to call it,” Federer said. “But then overall, I think I played great eight months ago at the Barclays World Tour Finals, I played great at the Australian Open. You know, if things would have gone my way, maybe I could have done a bit more.”

“Overall, I think I've been playing actually not so bad, like some have portrayed it.  Season's not over here.  Only just in the middle.  Still have a lot of tennis left.  That's what I try to use for a good end to the season.”

Federer also credited his opponent for executing a game plan that he fully expected.

“I knew he was going to do that. He does it regularly. So he's comfortable doing it,” said Federer. “I believe it is a tactic you can use, if you play it the right way, if you have a big enough serve, you move good enough.”

“Clearly you also got to be good enough from the baseline on the return because you need a break once in a while. That's exactly what he was able to do today. I was impressed. I don't think from this point on I'm going to start serve volleying, but hopefully other players will in the future.”

Federer believes experienced players, like Stakhovsky, have become more confident playing on the grand stages against the game’s elite, in comparison to year's past.

“I think there was a time where some players didn't believe they could beat the top guys. So maybe there's a little bit of a thing happening at the moment,” said Federer. “I'm happy about that, that players believe they can beat the best on the biggest courts in the biggest matches.”

“I think that belief is very important. We're missing the teenagers overall, so it's up to other guys to do it like we've seen this week, at other places as well. All we can do is give it all we have, be a professional, train hard, do all the right things, what you're supposed to be doing. I hope they are also doing it if they're lower in the rankings.”

Date: 27th June 2013, Source: ATP and Wimbledon


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