A disconsolate Roger Federer spoke to the media last night and he picked his friend Rafael Nadal to beat Novak Djokovic Sunday in the Sony Ericsson Open men’s final.
“Novak has been playing great this season,” Federer said after suffering a 63, 62 semifinal loss Friday night to Nadal. “I think Rafa is going to give Novak a run for the money, and I’m going to pick Rafa.”
Federer turned away Nadal in the 2005 Miami final in their last meeting in America. “He should have beaten me here six years ago I was down two sets to love and a break and breakpoints if I am not mistaken. So he should have gotten that one, but I snuck that one out on him.”
About the Friday match, Federer, who falls to 15-8 against Nadal, said it tough was tough adjusting to a left-handed player and that the slow surface hurt his chances.
“I knew it was slow, but just makes it so hard it hit through him on a surface like this,” Federer said. “Then maybe you try to overhit a bit, and then obviously I start taking wrong decisions on big points.”
“Particularly against players like Rafa who like to have a bit more time and gives the, an opportunity to return from way back, from in front, defend like they can and so forth, it’s definitely helpful. You can’t sort of shoot through the court too much. It’s always got to be worked out every rally. That’s not how we played against each other in London, and knew it wasn’t going to be anything like this tonight. But, yeah, it’s what it is. I’ve played really well on this surface in the past. Tonight, unfortunately, it wasn’t the night for me.”
Federer admitted to trying to shorten the rallies and try some different tactics, but nothing was working against the blistering Nadal.
“I was determined and trying to cut down the length of the rallies, taking the ball early, serving well and mixing it up well and then a few specific details I’m not going to share but I wasn’t able to do to tonight; Rafa was able to do his game plan, and he deserves to be in the finals.”
Against his main rivals Nadal and Djokovic, Federer is 0-4 in 2011 with only one set won in 10.
“I wish I could play better right now against those guys, but it is what it is,” the Swiss added. “I’m the last guy who gets pulled all the way down and then can’t get up for the next tournament.”
Federer says he’ll now fly to Monte Carlo for the red clay tournament which begins next Monday.
Here are Nadal-Federer highlights (or lowlights if you are a Federer fan) from the match yesterday:
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