Federer hopeful of great year despite losing to Nadal in AO semis

Roger Federer is confident his best tennis remains ahead of him after what he labelled an "encouraging" start to the season following a difficult period on the ATP World Tour last season.

After a tight first set, Federer was outplayed by the world number one, beaten 7-6(4) 6-3 6-3 as the Spaniard set up a final with another Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka.

Federer's only lingering regret from Melbourne, where he contested his 57th successive Grand Slam championship, will be missing out on contesting the first all-Swiss Grand Slam final against Stanislas Wawrinka.

"It's very encouraging, no doubt," said Federer, who has been playing with a larger racquet head since the start of the season. "I wish I could have won here tonight and then given an all-Swiss final. That's something I'll regret for a long time.

"I think this is a very good start to the season for me overall. I played some really good tennis here. I still feel my best tennis is only ahead of me right now. So I'm looking forward to the next couple of months, how they're going to play out for me, and hopefully by April I feel like I'm going to be at 100 per cent again."

Critics were quick to pounce on Federer last season, with defeats to World No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky and No. 114 Federico Delbonis in the space of a month a cause for concern for the 17-time major champion. But the 2014 Australian Open has seen Federer return to near his best tennis, highlighted by impressive performances against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray carrying him to an 11th successive semi-final at Melbourne Park.

"I needed a good moment again because I've been going through a tougher time for some time," said Federer, who is next due to play at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February. "Even though you can say that Basel was better, Paris was better, London was better, the results were slightly better, but the game itself was not necessarily amazing. It was solid, but what I like to do is I like to take it to the guy. I like to be in command. That's what I was able to do now the last couple of weeks. So that's very encouraging.

"I've come from far back. I didn't have surgery like Murray had or like Rafa with the knee problems, being out for seven months. I've played with something that has been going on for a while. This is a step in the right direction, and that's the way I want to go. I have a belief this could be a very good year for me again."

Leading into his 33rd clash with Nadal, Federer had hinted at new ideas coach Edberg was bringing to the table to try and give the Swiss an edge. Those tactics, Federer explained, were given little chance due to the way Nadal played.

"I tried a few things," said Federer. "I think Rafa does a good job of neutralising you. The problem was because I wasn't getting into enough service games. You're not going to try out a crazy amount of things on your own service games. There you need to play tough and aggressive and you just have to be solid. So I guess at times I couldn't quite do what I wanted to do, but that's because of Rafa.

"He did a good job," said Federer. "He didn't make many errors, even though I was trying to hit hard and flat. I tried to play my game. Sometimes I did play very well and sometimes I didn't. But he overall was more consistent. He deserved to win tonight. He was better."

Date: 24th January 2014, Source: ATP


  1. I wish the Jahangir Khan & Jansher Khan rivalry in, the not so glamorous, Squash, in the 90's, could be understood! I witnessed it and saw the legendary Jahangir Khan beaten after a run of 5 unbeaten years by a slightly younger Jansher. He had about 10-12 straight losses to Jansher and then through tremendous will he was able to reconquer his spot by subduing Jansher! At the end of their careers both were quite even in the victories against each other, but Jahangir was the greater legend. I equate Federer to Jahangir Khan. But he must conquer Nadal soon, as i don't feel much time is left. Federer, as i understand, has 2 to a max of 3 seasons ahead of him. He should dominate them, by developing the equivalent mental strength of the legend Jahangir Khan. And yes, Federer you are awesome, but don't forget you a much more than a baseliner so mix up your game which you can do masterfully and elegantly!

    All the best, but take a note of the great rivalry of the two great squash Champions, Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan!