‘I have massive regrets tonight’: Roger Federer rues missed opportunities after crashing out of Australian Open… but reveals he will compete at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015
- Roger Federer’s winning run at the Australian Open ended on Sunday
- Stefanos Tsitsipas inflicted a shock 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 defeat on the 37-year-old
- Federer’s forehand was wayward and he failed to take any of his 12 break points
Roger Federer’s winning run at the Australian Open ended with ‘massive regrets’ after his loss to 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Greek, who was not born when Federer made his professional debut, has rapidly established himself as one of the most exciting up-and-coming talents in the game and backed it up spectacularly with a 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory to move through to a first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Federer had not lost a match at Melbourne Park since a semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in 2016 but his often brilliant forehand was wayward, especially at the big moments, and he failed to take four set points in the second set that might well have changed the outcome.
Roger Federer admitted he had ‘massive regrets’ after losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas
The 37-year-old crashed out of the Australian Open, ending his long winning run
The 37-year-old saw 12 break points come and go in the match, and he made no attempt to hide what a hurtful defeat it was, saying: ‘I have massive regrets tonight.
‘I felt like I have to win the second set. I don’t care how I do it, but I have to do it. (It) cost me the game tonight.
‘I lost to a better player who was playing very well. He hung in there, gave himself chances at some point, stayed calm. It’s not always easy, especially for younger guys. Credit to him for taking care of that.’
Tsitsipas grew up idolising Federer and there was certainly something of the young Swiss in his opponent, from the flowing single-handed backhand, the willingness to charge the net, and the confidence to believe he could beat his childhood idol, just as Federer did to Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001.
‘He has a one-handed backhand and I used to have long hair, too,’ said Federer pithily. ‘So maybe a little bit (similar), sure.’
The 20-year-old Greek was not born when Federer made his professional debut
The 20-time Grand Slam champion saw 12 break points come and go in the match
For the first time all evening, Tsitsipas looked overwhelmed as he stepped out for the on-court interview, describing the match as a ‘dream come true’.
He said: ‘I’m the happiest man on earth right now. I cannot describe it. From the very beginning it was very important to keep that mindset, to believe in yourself, believe in your capabilities.
‘Roger is a legend of the sport, (I have) so much respect for him. He showed such good tennis over the years. I’ve been idolising him since the age of six.
‘It was a dream come true just being on Rod Laver facing him. Winning at the end, I cannot describe it.’
John McEnroe declared the result to be a changing of the guard, but Federer is clearly not about to hand over the mantle just yet and announced he had decided to play on clay this year after missing the French Open for the last three years.
Federer’s often brilliant forehand was wayward, especially at the big moments
‘He’s in front of the mic a lot,’ Federer said of McEnroe. ‘He’s always going to say stuff. I love John. I’ve heard that story the last 10 years. From that standpoint, nothing new there.
‘Stefanos has definitely done a really nice job now the last year-and-a-half. Before that, too, obviously. But beating Novak (Djokovic) in Toronto, the likes of (Kevin) Anderson and (Alexander) Zverev, now me here. That’s what you need to do to get to the next level.
‘He’s doing that. It’s really nice for him. I see him definitely being high up in the game for a long time. That was a good night for him tonight.’
On playing at Roland Garros again for the first time since a fourth-round defeat by Stan Wawrinka in 2015, he added: ‘It’s a bit of a desire. I’m in a phase where I want to have fun and I’ve missed not doing it. I don’t feel it is necessary to have a big break again’