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'an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it', Roger Federer reflects on Wimbledon final defeat

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 16 Jul 2019
  • Roger Federer reflects on his loss to Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final, describing it as an incredible opportunity missed. 
  • The Swiss fell in five sets to Djokovic in the longest Wimbledon final in history
Roger Federer. (Photo: Frank Molter/dpa)

Roger Federer did not hide his disappointment after his heart-breaking Wimbledon defeat to Novak Djokovic, but the great Swiss was quick to put things into perspective, and take the positives from a fantastic campaign.

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Federer came agonizingly close to becoming the oldest man to win the Wimbledon title, but the 37-year-old, who turns 38 in August, fell just short in an epic final. The Swiss looked set to claim his record-extending ninth title at the All England Club when he held two match points at 8-7 40-15 in the final set, but he couldn’t convert any of those opportunities, and would go on to lose a captivating contest on a final-set tie break.

“I don't know if losing 2-2-2 feels better than this one. At the end, it actually doesn't matter to some extent. You might feel more disappointed, sad over angry,” Federer said after the match. “I don't know what I feel right now. I just feel like it's such an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it. It is what it is.”

Federer was arguably the better player throughout the match- he won 14 more points than Djokovic, and did not face a break point until the eighth game of the fourth set, but he still ended up losing 7-6 1-6 7-6 6-4 13-12 after four hours and 57 minutes- the longest final in Wimbledon history.

It brought back memories of his 2008 final against Rafael Nadal, which also went deep into the fifth set (not this deep!), and went late into the night with Federer on the losing end of one of the greatest matches in the history of the sport. Federer has since gone on to win three more Wimbledon titles after that 2008 disappointment, and the great Swiss isn’t ready to dwell too long on Sunday’s defeat to Djokovic. He is keen to move on from this latest Wimbledon setback.

“This one is more straightforward maybe in some ways because we didn't have the rain delays, we didn't have the night coming in and all that stuff. But sure, epic ending, so close, so many moments. Yeah, I mean, sure there's similarities,” Federer said. “I'm the loser both times, so that's the only similarity I see.” 
“For now it hurts, and it should, like every loss does here at Wimbledon. I think it's a mindset. I'm very strong at being able to move on because I don't want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match.” 

Defeat to Djokovic also leaves Federer’s all-time Grand Slam record at under serious threat, with the Serbian moving up to 16 majors- four behind Federer’s 20- and Rafael Nadal lurking in between with his 18 Grand Slam title.

Federer admits that he used to be bothered by his Grand Slam tally in the past, especially when he was chasing Pete Sampras’ record of 14, but he’s adopting a more philosophical perspective to the current race, stating that records are meant to be broken anyway.

“[It] used to be a really, really big deal, I guess when you were close. I guess two behind, then eventually you tie, then eventually you break. That was big,” Federer said. “I take motivation from different places. Not so much from trying to stay ahead, because I broke the record, and if somebody else does, well, that's great for them. You can't protect everything, anyway”. 
“I didn't become a tennis player for that. I really didn't. It's about trying to win Wimbledon, trying to have good runs here, playing in front of such an amazing crowd in this Centre Court against players like Novak and so forth. That's what I play for. So things are different now. But I'm very happy with my level of play nowadays, still.”

The Swiss might not have won the Wimbledon title, but it was an incredible effort to get past Nadal, and then return a couple of days later to come within whiskers of taking down Djokovic.


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"an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it", Roger Federer reflects on Wimbledon final defeat

Roger Federer reflects on his loss to Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final, describing it as an incredible opportunity missed. The Swiss fell in five sets to Djokovic in an epic contest.

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