Federer: Retirement not on the table
Swiss sensation not giving up after quarterfinal upset at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England – Roger Federer is four weeks away from celebrating his 37th birthday, which could be cause for fans to wonder how much longer they’ll get to behold the Swiss sensation perform his magic on a tennis court.
Even after one of the more dismal moments of his career, having suffered a shocking Wimbledon quarterfinal defeat to eighth-seeded Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday, top-seeded Federer insisted retirement is not on the horizon.
Barring any unforeseen situations, Federer plans to spend the early part of next summer as he’s always done since 1999: In the quest for another Wimbledon trophy. And he knows ex- actly what will drive him to return here in hopes of winning a ninth Wimbledon trophy.
“Of course, the goal is to come back here next year,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it unfinished business. I felt like I did some good business here in the past already. So I’m all right. Just disappointed now.
“Maybe the losses hurt more, that you don’t want to be on the loser’s side. It motivates me to do extremely well because I don’t want to sit here and ex- plain my loss. That’s the worst feeling you can have as a tennis player.”
To that end, he went on to describe how he was feeling leaving Wimbledon as the defeated defending champion.
“To be honest, I didn’t feel mental fatigue (during the match),” Federer said. “Now I feel horribly fatigued and just awful. It’s terrible. But that’s how it goes, you know.”
What we do know is that Federer will not add a 21st Grand Slam tournament trophy to his collection on his favorite lawn in the world. Federer, who held a match point in the 10th game of the third set, was sent packing in dramatic fashion during the breathtaking 4-hour, 14minute quarterfinal marathon.
“Down two-sets-to-love, I really tried my best to keep fighting,” said 32-year-
old Anderson, playing in his first Wimbledon quarterfinal. “I thought I did a great job not thinking too much. Beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon is one I will remember. I kept telling myself today was going to be my day. I’m obviously very ecstatic to get through that.”
While Anderson was delighted in having reached his first Wimbledon semifinal, Federer left feeling as if he betrayed his reputation of being the greatest to play the game.
“It’s just not one of my best days, but they don’t happen very often either,” Federer said. “It’s one of those average days you have to try to win the match, and I just couldn’t get it done today. So it’s disappointing.”
Federer, long anointed the king of grass courts, handed Anderson the match on his serve in the 23rd game of the fifth set.
When Federer double-faulted at 3030 for the first time in the match and only the fourth time in the tournament, he offered the South African the first break point of the final set. At 30-40, Federer netted a forehand to surrender his serve, which cost him the match.
“As the match went on, I couldn’t surprise him anymore,” said Federer, reflecting on what went wrong. “That’s a bad feeling to have. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. I’ve been in many matches like this.
“These are the moments where you try to hold serve, create opportunities,” he added. “Maybe he’s got to miss a few more than make a few more. That’s go-
“Of course, the goal is to come back here next year. I wouldn’t call it unfinished business. ... So I’m all right. Just disappointed now.”
ing to make the difference. I couldn’t come up with enough good stuff for him to miss more. I think that was the key at the end.”
Anderson, who played in his first Grand Slam final at the 2017 U.S. Open, losing to Rafael Nadal, will face American John Isner, who beat Milos Raonic to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal. In the other semifinal Friday, Nadal will play Novak Djokovic. Anderson believes his U.S. Open experience last year was a great assist in getting by Federer.
“I learned some valuable lessons throughout that tournament because coming in today, I think the way I approached the match was a bit more with expectations that I want to keep going,” he said.
“As exciting as it is, I feel like I’m doing a good job keeping it in perspective. There’s hopefully two more matches still to be played. As of right now, I’m sort of more focused on that than getting too excited about the overall picture.”
Roger Federer leaves the court after losing to Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Wednesday.