Carillo Speaks Truth to Power on Federer Cincy Loss

Posted on August 25, 2006

By Richard Vach, Senior Writer

It's tough to not only be a former player and student of the game, but a tennis commentator who also knows the ins and outs of the tour and the top players -- and then have to hold your tongue when you see things the average fan can't.

Approximately two weeks ago world No. 1 Roger Federer won the Masters Series-Canada, then immediately had to play the Masters Series-Cincinnati. The Swiss voiced his displeasure at having to contest back-to-back Masters Series events, where were he to reach a second consecutive final he would have played 12 out of his last 14 days.

Federer gave a poor effort in his opener against Paradorn Srichaphan in Cincinnati, but the Thai choked when it came time to close out the match. So the Swiss then put in an equally error-strewn effort in the next round against Murray, losing in straight sets.

"He wasn't trying to beat Andy Murray that day," Carillo said during a conference call with reporters. "He went there because he had to, and he played as though he went there because he had to."

Federer tried to laugh off the accusation Thursday.

"That's absurd. I think what she said is a joke," Federer said. "I don't take it seriously...Because I lose, I tanked?"

Supporting Carillo's assessment was Federer in his post-match conference -- the man who had reached an almost-record 17 consecutive tournament finals inexplicably saying he didn't expect to reach the final in Cincy.

"I knew that my expectations were not to win the tournament here, they were to survive a few rounds," Federer said. "So that's why I'm not disappointed after this loss. I'm actually pretty happy I won a match here. Winning back-to-back Masters Series, 12 matches in 13 days, it's just basically something of the impossible."

The comment was out of character for the player who, outside of rival Rafael Nadal, had not been beaten by any other player en route to a tournament title in 2006.

"Fed clearly didn't look like the Fed that we have known, and I wonder just how much the Swiss wanted to partake in Cincy," wrote Tennis-X blogger Sean Randall, pointing out that Federer knew well his ranking points situation. "Fed said winning Toronto and Cincy back-to-back was next to impossible. Well Rog, Andy Roddick did it a few years ago if I remember correctly, so it's not impossible. You just got to want it. But from Fed's viewpoint, he won Toronto so he basically defended his points from his 2005 Cincy win -- anything from this Cincy would have been gravy as they say."

Sometimes players need to take a break, as shown on the women's side last week at Montreal where a flurry of injured and not-so-injured players decided to skip one of the WTA Tour's biggest events. As players have shown, especially when the "Masters Series" or "Tier I" events don't jive with player's schedules and you're being required to play, sometimes it's easier to lose.

"I would love that the streaks go on and on and on, but, you know, once in a while it's also good you lose," Federer said.

"Good to lose?" Can you see Federer at Wimbledon or the US Open saying it is sometimes good to lose? Can you see John McEnroe or Ivan Lendl saying 'I wish once in a while I could lose a little more.'

Once in a while it's also good for commentators like Carillo to call a spade a spade.

Richard Vach is a senior writer for who can currently be seen on The Tennis Channel's "Tennis Insiders: Super Insiders" episodes, and was recently awarded "Best Hard News" story for 2005 by the United States Tennis Writers Association. You can belittle him at