Federer: "I'm happy with my progress along the way"

After his best performance against Rafael Nadal since their four-set battle at the 2012 Australian Open, Roger Federer said that he was pleased with his performance and his aggressive approach despite his 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 loss to his great rival.

Federer took the battle to Nadal from the outset and his backhand was significantly more effective against the lefty than in their past three meetings, in which the Swiss won an average of just six games a match. His decision to come over his backhand return on Nadal’s serve rather than slice was a signature tactic of the match. And his dazzling crosscourt backhand winner (play Hot Shot video below) to take the first set was one of the best he’s ever hit against Nadal.

“I’m not totally unhappy about the match. I could have played a bit better, but I think I was playing well and  tactics were working. Of course, I always have to adjust to faster courts, slower courts when I play Rafa. Plus it is him; it's the type of game I don't see very often…

Federer captured the first set 7-5, pouncing on a late break point at 5-5 30/40. Nadal, however, battled back with a late break of his own, converting on his second set point with a forehand down-the-line.

Federer had executed a highly aggressive game plan early on, which included topping many backhand returns rather than engaging his customary slice, and attacking the net with authority. Nadal turned the tables late in the second set, anticipating his intentions and employing a highly efficient brand of tennis from the baseline. Federer’s unforced error count would rise to 44 as Nadal continued to apply pressure on his serve with deep angled returns with significant pace.

Nadal took an immediate lead in the third set, breaking for 2-0 and holding serve from there to the finish line. In a dramatic final game, Federer rallied from 0/40 and eventually saved four match points before Nadal rifled a forehand down the line to end the match. The Hawkeye replay, shown only on television, revealed that his shot had missed by the narrowest of margins, but only after he had shaken hands with Federer, who did not challenge.

“I'm happy with my progress along the way. Could have won tonight. Should have won tonight, who knows? But at the end, I think Rafa's confidence and the way he's playing at the moment got him through. So for me, I think it was a good step in the right direction.”

The 32-year-old winner of 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s and six Barclays ATP World Tour Finals would not be drawn into second guessing his decision to not challenge Nadal’s forehand on match point, which Hawkeye on television showed was out. “At this point it doesn't matter. I'm sitting here,” he said.

Federer, who this week shelved a larger prototype used in Hamburg and Gstaad for his traditional 90 inch head, said that he’s looking ahead to the US Open with a positive approach.

“My mind's already totally geared into what I'm going to do tomorrow, next day, and the following day, and looking ahead at the US Open.  So I'm excited about the next sort of 10 days.”

Federer has won five Western and Southern Opens during his career including last year.

Date: 17th August 2013, Source: ATP


  1. Roger wasn't playing well, he was playing brilliantly. I'm glad he's happy with his play because he should be. Shame he didn't challenge because that looked very much like it was going to be another turning point in the match!. Never mind. Rafa didn't have the edge last night - he had the luck! Roll on US Open and next year!