Fed­erer: Re­tire­ment not on the ta­ble

Swiss sen­sa­tion not giv­ing up af­ter quar­ter­fi­nal up­set at Wim­ble­don

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - San­dra Har­witt

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.”

Roger Fed­erer

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.”

SU­SAN MULLANE/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Roger Fed­erer leaves the court af­ter los­ing to Kevin An­der­son in the Wim­ble­don quar­ter­fi­nals on Wed­nes­day.

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