Federer down but definitely not out

PRITHA SARKAR
Last updated 06:55 28/06/2013

Relevant offers

Tennis

Novak Djokovic sets up Rafael Nadal clash with thrashing of Richard Gasquet Andy Murray battles his way through to toughest last eight ever in French Open Rafael Nadal ready to fight Novak Djokovic after chalking up win No 70 at French Open Petra Kvitova tamed by unheralded Timea Bacsinszky at French Open Roger Federer makes quick work of Gael Monfils in delayed match Under-par Serena Williams advances to French Open last eight Defending champion Maria Sharapova bounced at French Open Andy Murray silences Frenchman Jeremy Chardy at Roland Garros Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lights up grey Paris to reach last eight Alize Cornet joins Victoria Azarenka in slamming line regulations

Roger Federer's astonishing defeat to a Ukrainian journeyman in the second round at Wimbledon marked the arrival of a new world order in tennis but for the Swiss master this was definitely not the end of an era.

When the new ATP standings are released on July 8, they will show that the holder of a record 17 grand slam titles has slipped to fifth in the world after he failed to defend the 2000 points he amassed by hoisting the Challenge Cup last July.

It will be his lowest ranking since June 2003.

While fans and pundits alike were busy speculating if this was the beginning of the end for the greatest man to have ever wielded a tennis racket, Federer pooh-poohed the notion.

"You don't panic at this point, that's clear. Just go back to work and come back stronger really," said Federer after he failed to reach the second week of Wimbledon for the first time since 2002 following his four-set defeat by Sergiy Stakhovsky.

"It's normal that after all of a sudden losing early after being in the quarters 36 times (in a row), people feel it's different," he added.

"(But) I have more options now than I did have one year ago when I was running around trying to chase down every possible tournament and every point to get back to world No. 1.

"Maybe that, and the Olympics last year, took its toll. But overall I think I've been playing actually not so bad."

The problem is that for Federer, who said himself a few years ago that he had 'created a monster' by winning so much, a second-round defeat on a court he has ruled for a decade is not only bad, it is off the Richter scale.

After all, this is the man who has won 67 times at Wimbledon, 122 matches on grass, 257 at the four majors and 905 matches in his career.

HASH(0x129d7b14)

FUTURE PLANS

Twelve months ago he was the toast of southwest London after winning a record-equalling seventh title and climbing back to the top of the world rankings.

Nowhere is he loved more than at Wimbledon, where he epitomises everything the club represents - grace, elegance and charm.

So much so that a new book 'Wimbledon - The Official History' has dedicated 75 of its hefty 552 pages to waxing lyrical about the great man's records and achievements.

No doubt when the next edition comes out, Federer's 2013 showing will be glossed over but it will definitely not be the last entry. Of that he is certain.

"I still have plans to play for many more years to come," the 31-year-old said defiantly.

"I'm healthy again, which is a good thing. So I'm looking forward to playing hopefully injury-free for the rest of the season."

Ad Feedback

By his own lofty standards 2013 has been underwhelming.

He has won only one title - a low-key grasscourt event in Halle just before Wimbledon - and his grand slam performances have so far added up to a semi-final in Melbourne, a quarter-final appearance at the French and now a second-round humbling.

Checking out of Wimbledon in the first week does not sit easily with Federer and before he walked out of the All England Club gates on Wednesday he was already plotting his 2014 comeback.

"Looking forward to next year, that I can do better next year. Usually I do turnarounds pretty good. I'm looking forward to what's to come," he said.

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content