What’s Next For Federer After Wimbledon Loss?

Roger Federer (photo: Wimbledon video)

LONDON/WASHINGTON, July 8, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Roger Federer felt horribly exhausted after losing in the quarterfinal round of the Wimbledon Championships to Hubert Hurkacz on Centre Court Wednesday afternoon. So much so, he suggested later in press, he could go for a nap.

Instead, about an hour and a quarter after his straight-set, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0, loss to an unlikely quarterfinalist, the No. 14 seed from Poland, Federer did as he’s done after each round of the British fortnight. He walked into the press room and sat for a post-match news conference, first taking questions in English and later in his national language.

Federer’s losses on Wimbledon Centre Court are few and far between. After all, over the past two decades, he’s won a record eight men’s championships, which have helped shape and define his overall 20 Grand Slam titles. Whether he needed extra time to compose his thoughts or just wanted to commiserate with his team – maybe, even call home to cheer up with his wife Mirka and the couple’s four children – Federer had a glum look on his face. After all, before Wednesday’s thrashing by Hurkacz, Federer had never lost a bagel set (6-0) at Wimbledon. The only other time since 2000 that Federer was shutout in a set came from Rafael Nadal back in 2008 at Roland-Garros.

One of the first questions in English that Federer was asked by the media was whether he thought that his loss to Hurkacz was his last match at Wimbledon. After all, he turns 40 next month and has been coming to the All England Club every year since 1999.

“I really don’t know if that was the last time I’ll play Wimbledon,” said Federer, whose Wimbledon lifetime win-loss record is 105-14. “I have to take a few days, then go from there. Hubert played great. It was tough, you know. The last few games obviously… you can feel that you’re not coming back from it. I’m not used to that kind of situation, especially not here.”

Federer gave some perspective on how slow his recovery and rehabilitation process was following his two knee operations last year and spoke about the importance of having goals.

“The last 18 months have been long and hard. I felt very disappointed in the moment [of defeat] itself. I still am,” he said. “I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. You put everything on the line, and when it’s all over you could just go sleep because you’re so exhausted from mentally pushing yourself forward, and trying everything.

“No, it’s just about having perspective. You need a goal when you’re going through rehab. You can’t think of the entire mountain to climb at once. You got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial first super-step.”

Federer came into this year’s Wimbledon fortnight after losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in the second round at Halle following an opening-round win over Ilya Ivashka, 7-6 (4), 7-5. At the All England Club, Federer won his first-round match over Adrian Mannarino by retirement just as the fifth set was beginning, then he dominated Richard Gasquet in a straight-set victory. Federer was pushed to four sets by Cameron Norrie last Saturday, then looked pretty solid in defeating Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round on Monday. However, it all caught up with the Swiss superstar on Wednesday against the World No. 18 Hurkacz. Federer committed 31 unforced errors and his serve was broken five times. He was outpointed 103-78.

“As you can see, it was a struggle for me and putting in extra effort all the time, especially when things got difficult against Hubert,” Federer admitted. “I knew it was going to be really hard. Now I just got to talk to the team, take my time, take the right decision.”

Later, Federer suggested that his body overall felt fine from his five matches, all played on Centre Court. “I’m happy I went through all the process of taking losses and trying to play in Paris and Geneva and Doha and Halle, getting myself into match toughness and fitness here in Wimbledon.” He said the process was “incredibly slow,” and admitted that his goal “was to compete at Wimbledon last year.

“I barely made it here for this year. It was a long, hard road.

“Clearly there’s still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays, they don’t happen naturally anymore. I got to always put in the extra effort mentally to remember to do this or do that. I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I can’t do what I want to do.”

While Federer doesn’t lose often – especially in Grand Slams – he knows he’ll be fine, whether in a few hours or even a few days.

“Even though of course I’m disappointed I lost today, I feel like there was a chance, but that’s how it goes. I’ll be fine. I know how I am in these situations. I go maybe very hard on myself, I get very sad, and then after a few hours, even a few days, I’ll be totally fine again and be my old self. I have perspective about it, so it’s all good.”

Women’s No. 1 doubles seeds upset

Three-time major champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, both from the Czech Republic, who were the top-seed team in the women’s doubles draw, were upset in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. Krejcikova and Siniakova, who won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2018, lost to unseeded Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina, both from Russia, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 9-7, in atwo hours and 42 minutes.

Next, Kudermetova and Vesnina will oppose Storm Sanders of Australia and Caroline Dolehide of the United States, who took out No. 7 seeds Latisha Chan and Chan Ha0-Ching, both of Taiwan, 7-5, 6-2.

Also advancing to the semifinals were: No. 3 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan and Elise Mertens of Belgium and No. 5 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, both of Japan. Hsieh and Mertens defeated Alessandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic, both of Serbia, 6-1, 6-3, while Aoyama and Shibahara beat No 16 seeds Marie Bouzkova and Lucie Hradecka, both of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (3), 7-5.

Wednesday’s Wimbledon results

Thursday’s Wimbledon order of play

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Ajla Tomljanovic / Thank you Wimbledon