It’s not often that Roger Federer succumbs to the heat, but that’s what he said happened last night in a shocking loss to the World No. 55 John Millman in the US Open fourth round.
Despite playing late at night, Federer was sweating like he never has before, and appeared to be trying to keep the points short so he didn’t have to use his weary legs. Millman, to his credit, took advantage of the fatiguing 37-year-old.
Federer still managed to stay in the match with Millman who was enjoying the night of his life.
After, here’s what Federer had to say.
Q. What was ailing you this evening and what effect did it have on you?
ROGER FEDERER: Sorry, the beginning?
Q. What was ailing you and what effect did it have on you, physical ailment?
ROGER FEDERER: I just thought it was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.
Yeah, it’s uncomfortable. Clearly just keep on sweating more and more and more and more as the match goes on. You lose energy as it goes by.
But John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane. I knew I was in for a tough one. Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those. That was disappointing.
But, look, at some point also I was just happy that the match was over, I guess.
Q. How did you come about inviting John to Switzerland? Why did you choose him to practice with?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it was part that he lost early in Paris. We were looking for somebody who was a great guy, who could train hard, you know, maybe was looking also for a place to come to and practice on the grass or hard courts with me before Stuttgart. I didn’t know he had a girlfriend in Stuttgart.
Just Severin asked him. He was like, Yeah, absolutely, I’m ready to come. We had a great few days, a good time together. Then we saw each other again in Stuttgart. We almost played against each other there, too.
Q. Your serve wasn’t as reliable as usual tonight. Was something feeling off in your motion? What was going through your mind missing all those first serves?
ROGER FEDERER: It was hot (laughter).
Q. That was it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. When you feel like that, everything is off, so… But, look, I’ve trained in tougher conditions. I’ve played in the daytime, you know, at 120. Some days it’s just not the day where the body can cope with it.
I do believe since the roof is on that there is no air circulation in the stadium. I think just that makes it a totally different US Open. Plus conditions maybe were playing slower this year on top of it. You have soaking wet pants, soaking wet everything. The balls are in there, too. You try to play. Everything gets slower as you try to hit winners.
Again, look, I thought the match was tough. I wish I could have led two sets to love and then maybe the match would be different, you know, and I would find a way, because I did have my chances all the way till the end. It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions.
Q. Can you talk about what he does well, what are his strengths? What will he need to do against Novak?
ROGER FEDERER: John, well, I love his intensity. He reminds me of David Ferrer and those other guys that, you know, I admire a lot when I see them, when I see how they train, the passion they have for the game. I love his intensity.
He’s got a positive demeanor about himself on and off the court. I think he’s got a great backhand that he can protect very well down the line and cross-court. When you attack there in the wrong way, he will punish you, punish you every time for it.
Yeah, then he has options, now especially where it’s a bit slower, to return in and return back. I think against Novak, he just has to bring it again, try to worry Novak, hope for another hot day, maybe, I don’t know.
Q. Can you put the past months in perspective with what occurred at Wimbledon and Cincinnati and now here?
ROGER FEDERER: We don’t have enough time, I don’t think (smiling).
You know what, I explained Wimbledon already. Cincinnati was a pretty good tournament in very fast conditions where it was hard to find rhythm. But still made a finals first tournament back. I think actually I was quite happy. Was just not a good final from my side. But, okay, that can happen. It was after all Novak on the other side of the net.
Today, like I explained, it was just hot. No shame there. Just I think these are the things that unfortunately sometimes happen. So, you know, move on and take a rest. I’m happy I’m getting a rest now. Then I come back for the Laver Cup and hopefully finish the year strong.
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