Roger Federer, who went down to Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets at the second round in Halle on Wednesday, has admitted that his attitude wasn’t good in the match and that his comeback this season has been challenging.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who is now 5-3 for the season, failed to reach the quarter-finals in Halle for the first time in 18 appearances as he was defeated 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 by 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime.
“It’s a huge challenge for me. Everybody who has been in multiple surgeries or a tough surgery knows what I’m talking about,” Federer was quoted as saying after the match by atptour.com.
“Things don’t come simple, they don’t come easy. You second-guess yourself rather quickly unfortunately, and that’s sometimes the biggest worry: the worry of pain or the worry of how you’re going to feel the next day or when you wake up, the first steps, how did they feel? All this stuff, it takes a little bit of a toll on you sometimes.”
The 39-year-old, who has won the grass court tournament in Halle a record 10 times, seemed on course for another quarter-final appearance after taking the first set, but his game collapsed dramatically, especially in the third set, and he went on to face 15 break points in the match.
“Of course I know Felix is a great player and he was better today. I would have maybe lost anyhow. But it’s a tough court to play on, so it makes me really happy looking back at how grateful I can be about how well it’s gone here in Halle and how difficult it is to win here. This type of third set I cannot accept. The first two are totally okay, no problem there. But I guess it happens and it’s all good from my side,” said Federer.
The 39-year-old had to undergo two surgeries on his right knee over the past year and missed most of the 2020 season. He reflected on his recovery period and the challenges he is facing in his comeback.
“I didn’t mind the whole rehab process and all that stuff. It has been one that I have also enjoyed, something different. I was able to stay home with the family and that was nice from that standpoint. But then of course once you get back on the court you want it so badly like you used to, and then you get disappointed with a performance or shots or a feeling you have or negativity that creeps in. You just are [like], ‘That’s too bad. Why is that happening?’ And you’re just trying to figure that out.But I think that’s why I’ve always explained throughout this process, I need to take every match as information, I need to figure it out. I need to understand why it’s going on,” he said.
The world No 8 said he was happy with his performance in the first set against Auger-Aliassime but credit his young opponent for raising his game at the right time.
“I just think the consistency point for point has not been easy for me in the comeback, and I knew that’s what it is going to take. The good thing coming out of a match like this against a great player is I know what I need to think about moving forward. Clearly I need to do a bit better, but overall I thought also Felix played a great match. He stayed mentally very solid. He showed that he wanted to win and he was better at the end,” he said.
Federer wasn’t pleased with his attitude on the court during the third set but said he will learn from this loss and hopefully do better at Wimbledon, which remains his biggest goal for the season.
“It was not a good attitude from my side. I was disappointed in the way I was feeling on-court, the way things were going, that I’m not getting better spells and all that stuff. I think the whole difficulty of the comeback got to me as well a little bit, how much I have to push on every point, try to make things happen. I realised it was not going to be my day. There was nothing I can do. I started to get really negative and this is not normally how I am by any means. I think this is not something I’m happy about and proud about, but at the same time, if I look at my 1,500 matches I’ve played, these things happen. The good thing is that I know it will not happen the next time around and the next time and the next time,” he said.
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