Federer hopeful of great year despite Nadal defeat

MELBOURNE Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:31pm IST

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during a news conference after his men's singles semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during a news conference after his men's singles semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A defiant Roger Federer said he still believes his best tennis is ahead of him, despite going down in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

After a tight first set, Federer was outplayed and outgunned by the world number one, beaten 7-6(4) 6-3 6-3 as the Spaniard set up a final with another Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka.

"It's very encouraging, no doubt," the 32-year-old told reporters. "Wish I could have won here tonight and given an all-Swiss final. That's something I'll regret for a long time.

"But I think this is a very good start to the season for me overall. I played some really good tennis here. I still feel my best tennis is only ahead of me right now.

"So I'm looking forward to the next couple of months, how they're going to play out and hopefully by April I feel like I'm going to be at 100 percent again."

The 17-times grand slam champion had beaten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray on his way to the semi-finals.

Feeding off the influence of coach Stefan Edberg, who joined his team at the beginning of the year, Federer said he planned to take the game to Nadal and move forward at every opportunity.

But Nadal, who shrugged off a nasty blister on his left hand, was too strong, too persistent and too good.

"He did a good job," Federer said. "He didn't make many errors, even though I was trying to hit hard and flat.

"I tried to play my game. Sometimes I did play very well and sometimes I didn't. But he overall was more consistent. He deserved to win tonight. I mean, he was better."

Federer said he had handed the advantage to Nadal by not doing enough on his return games and needed to win the first set to impose his will.

"If you get the lead at least in the first or second set, at one point maybe I can also play a bit more freely, do a bit more what I was hoping to do, play a bit more aggressive," he said.

"I tried a few things but Rafa does a good job of neutralising you. At times I couldn't quite do what I wanted to do, but that's because of Rafa."

Federer will now drop to eighth in the world rankings but said he was pleased how he had been able to play freely over the whole tournament, having struggled with a back problem for much of 2013.

"What I like to do is I like to take it to the guy, I like to be in command," he said. "That's what I was able to do now the last couple of weeks, so that's very encouraging.

"That's why I'm not too disappointed tonight because I feel it's been a good start.

"I've come from far back. I didn't have surgery like Murray had or like Rafa, being out seven months.

"But I played with something that has been going on for a while. This is a step in the right direction, and that's the way I want to go. I have a belief this could be a very good year for me again."

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Indian Super League

Indian Super League

New league will lift Indian soccer, says Del Piero.  Full Article 

Bidding Adieu

Bidding Adieu

China's Li Na announces her retirement from tennis.  Full Article 

Selangor Masters

Selangor Masters

Anirban Lahiri stays ahead in Malaysia.  Full Article 

Euro 2020

Euro 2020

London's Wembley stadium to host climax of Euro 2020.  Full Article 

Generous Platini

Generous Platini

Platini plans to keep luxury gift, make charity donation.  Full Article 

F1 Radio Ban

F1 Radio Ban

Formula One revises radio ban after team talks  Full Article 

Defending Ozil

Defending Ozil

Don't make Ozil a scapegoat, warns Arsenal boss.  Full Article 

FIFA Probe

FIFA Probe

FIFA ethics judge promises secrecy in World Cup probe.  Full Article 

Singapore GP

Singapore GP

Alonso lifts Ferrari gloom in Singapore F1 practice.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage