It was another tough night for Roger Federer who lost in straight sets to longtime rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals.
Federer, who was seeking his third straight Top 10 win after victories over Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, couldn’t muster much against the World No.1
Federer has now lost 23 of 33 meetings against the Spaniard winning just two of 11 in Grand Slam play. And if Nadal beats him countryman Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday he’ll close to within three of Federer in the Grand Slam count.
After the loss, the 32-year-old addressed the media.
Q. What was the most frustrating about tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: Probably the lack of chances I was able to create on the return. ‘Cause I hung around, you know, the first couple of sets. So I guess that was frustrating, you know, because I thought I was going to get into more of his service games.
If you get the lead at least in the first or second set, at one point maybe I can also play a bit more freely, you know, do a bit more what I was hoping to do, play a bit more aggressive.
But like that you kind of always have to keep playing to stay with him, to play the score. But, you know, it was a tough match. So I guess that was the toughest part today.
Q. Did you feel like you didn’t play as well as you hoped or is it just that Rafael played too well tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think Rafa played well. I think he’s the way I know him. He’s played me this way many times. You know, I’m not sure if I served as good as I could have.
But then again, you know, for the first one and a half hours or so, I mean, I didn’t get broken, I don’t think. It wasn’t all that bad, you know.
I was hoping that my forehand was going to work out a bit better, but it didn’t, so that let me down a bit. Then it was just the lack of, you know, opportunities I created for myself which put the pressure on me too frequently, you know, instead of maybe being able to do that the other way around.
He did a good job. He didn’t make many errors, even though I was trying to hit hard and flat. I tried to play my game. Sometimes I did play very well and sometimes I didn’t. But he overall was more consistent. He deserved to win tonight. I mean, he was better.
Q. How satisfied do you think you’ll be overall with the fortnight, with the new racquet, Stefan on your team?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it’s very encouraging, you know, no doubt. Wish I could have won here tonight and then, you know, given an all Swiss final. That’s something I’ll regret, you know, for a long time.
But then again, you know, it was a great start to the season for me. Would have been nice to win Brisbane, would have been nice to win here tonight, but you can’t have it all.
I think this is a very good start to the season for me overall. I played some really good tennis here. I still feel my best tennis is only ahead of me right now. So I’m looking forward to the next couple of months, how they’re going to play out for me, and hopefully by April I feel like I’m going to be at 100% again.
Q. You said on Wednesday that Stefan had some ideas on how you could try things differently against Rafa. Anything specifically you tried tonight that was good?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I tried a few things, you know. Then again, like I said, I think Rafa does a good job of neutralizing you.
The problem was, like I said, because I wasn’t getting into enough service games, you’re not going to try out a crazy amount of things on your own service games. There you need to play tough and aggressive and you just have to be solid.
So I guess at times I couldn’t quite do what I wanted to do, but that’s because of Rafa.
Q. I think we heard you tonight complaining to the umpire about Rafa’s grunting. Was it worse than normal tonight? Do you find it distracting?
ROGER FEDERER: Not when he does it every point. But it goes in phases. One point he does and he doesn’t. That’s just what I was complaining about.
Had no impact on the outcome of the match, you know, but the level was the same.
Q. Have you complained before?
ROGER FEDERER: I have, yeah.
Q. Is Nadal the guy that distracts you the most?
ROGER FEDERER: Not necessarily. I enjoy playing against him because it’s always going to be on center court, it’s always going to be a big story, you know, going into the match.
So that’s kind of what you train hard for, you know. That’s where you want to be. It’s not where I don’t want to be, so I’m always happy when I come out against him because the atmosphere is different and I enjoy the matches normally.
I mean, it’s not as cool when you lose in straight sets. Nevertheless, there’s good moments out there, as well.
Q. He’s had a decent record against you in the past couple years.
ROGER FEDERER: A good record (smiling).
Q. You just lacked that extra kick in your step tonight. After going down to someone that often, does it start denting your belief that you can beat them?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don’t think necessarily. I think Rafa did a good job of keeping the pressure on me. You know, I might have gotten a little tired, you know, maybe in the third set, you know. But that’s maybe just the lack of trying to get back to an absolute 100%.
But overall I’m very happy. Rafa played well and he played solid. So, you know, I don’t have crazy regrets tonight other than, you know, maybe not having created more opportunities for myself. You know, Rafa was his usual self, what I kind of expected.
I don’t expect him to be worse off just because of a blister or worse off because he’s having sort of an up and down sort of performance at this event.
When he usually comes in against me, he always plays solid, if not great. So I think it was one of those nights again, which I knew was going to be tough.
Q. Did you feel a bit slower today than the other days? Was the reason because of your backhand didn’t work today very well on the return maybe?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s a totally different match. I don’t know how to explain you guys. It’s totally different playing Rafa over anybody else. Playing Murray or Rafa is day and night.
It’s not because of the level necessarily, but it’s just every point is played in a completely different fashion and I have to totally change my game.
No excuse. It’s just a fact of what it is. I try to fight that today, and he yeah, it’s a different match very different.
Q. Pete Sampras told us earlier today that he was pretty amazed by your mindset, your freshness at this age. When he was your age or younger he felt beaten down by the grind. Having said that, are you excited about this uptick and the whole the vitality of the early part of the year, does that give you a lot of juice?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, in a way I needed it, as well. I needed a good moment again because I’ve been going through a tougher time for some time. Even though you can say that Basel was better, Paris was better, London was better, the results were slightly better, but the game itself was not necessarily amazing.
I mean, it was solid, you know, but what I like to do is I like to take it to the guy. I like to be in command. That’s what I was able to do now the last couple of weeks. So that’s very encouraging.
Like I said, that’s why I’m not too disappointed tonight because I feel it’s been a good start. I’ve come from far back. I didn’t have surgery like Murray had or like Rafa the problems had being out for seven months.
I’ve played with something that has been going on for a while. This is a step in the right direction, and that’s the way I want to go. I have a belief this could be a very good year for me again.
Q. What advice will you have for Stan for the final?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope he wins and I hope he gives everything he has. You know, there’s no reason not to believe that he can beat Rafa. He’s clearly got a tough record against him, but many players have that. There’s no difference there.
Pressure’s clearly on Rafa because he’s got to win this finals. Stan’s in his first Grand Slam finals, so that makes Stan also unpredictable. He’s got to use that to his advantage.
Q. Clearly it wasn’t a difference in the result of the match, but the grunting and also the serial violating of the time rule that Rafa does, do you feel that umpires generally are too lenient with him? You seem to be waiting all the time.
ROGER FEDERER: Rafa is doing a much better job today than he used to. I mean, I’m not complaining much about the time. But I think I’ve played him, what, 33 or 34 times. He’s gotten two point penalties over the course of our rivalry. I just think that’s not quite happening. I mean, we know how much time he used to take.
I’m not complaining about so many things. But, I mean, either you have rules or you don’t. If you don’t have rules, it’s fine. Everybody can do whatever they want to do.
I just think it’s important to enforce the rules on many levels, whatever it may be. On all the players the same way. Don’t give me or Djokovic a free pass just because of who we are.
I think we should all be judged the same way. Not just a guy on Court 16 because the guy had a brutal rally, you have to give him a time violation just because you can.
On center court, they’re always going to be afraid, the umpires, to take those decisions. I just like to challenge them a little bit.
I don’t want to go in the office and complain all the time. I never do. I just hope they do their job correctly. If they don’t, what are you going to do? Sit and watch. Sometimes you just got to say things.
I didn’t lose the match because of that. It didn’t bother me. I just felt I had to mention something.
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