Roger Federer Will Lose For The Last Time At Wimbledon


WIMBLEDON, UK – If this was the end for Roger Federer Wimbledonseemed far from appropriate.

He wowed many on Center Court, the most famous turf in tennis, but the magic was lacking on Wednesday as he tackled his forehands, misjudged voles, and balance and footwork at the most out-of-character moments.

At the All England Club, thrillers won and lost against the best of the game: Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

But in this quarterfinals, he was defeated 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0 in just one hour and 49 minutes by Hubert Hurkacz, a rising Polish player who never made it past the third round in any Grand. Slam event until this tournament.

Federer, 39 and playing on his knees after surgery, hasn’t confirmed that this is his last game at Wimbledon, but he hasn’t ruled out the possibility either.

“I’m actually very happy to have come this far and, after everything I’ve been through, I was able to play at the same level I played at Wimbledon,” Federer said. “Of course I’d like to play again, but at my age you can never be sure what’s around the corner.”

As a student of the game that broke the record for eight Wimbledon men’s singles titles, Federer knows very well that happy endings are not guaranteed on grass or any other surface. Childhood role models Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Sampras came out early at their last Wimbledon.

“Not much fun,” Federer said of Wednesday’s disproportionate defeat. “But I’ve had so many incredible things here that it’s okay. It’s part of the game.”

Wimbledon will go ahead without him this year, and Friday’s semi-finals will include #1-seeded Djokovic and 10-seeded Denis Shapovalov; and 14th seed Hurkacz versus 7th seed Matteo Berrettini.

Djokovic, a five-time Wimbledon champion and still competing for the Grand Slam this season, underscored his strong favorite status as he defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday. Other semi-finalists have never progressed this far at Wimbledon. Shapovalov, a Canadian left-handed with a lively arm and flashy play, won the toughest match of the quarterfinals, defeating #25 Karen Khachanov 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6 . -4. Berretini, a barrel-chested Italian with a reserve force, defeated Shapovalov’s compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.

The big surprise, however, was made by Hurkacz, a good-natured Pole who works at Saddlebrook Academy in Wesley Chapel, Fla., and has an American coach, Craig Boynton. Both had to avoid contracting Covid-19 this spring after Hurkacz won the Miami Open in April.

“It impressed me a lot,” Boynton said. “But for Hubie it was just enough for a wobble.”

Hurkacz did not miss any tournaments, but fell into a slump before arriving at Wimbledon, losing six games in a row against Dominic Stricker, a teenager from Switzerland, one of whom was making his first steps into the tour.

On Wednesday, Hurkacz surpassed Switzerland’s most famous citizen. Federer, who finished sixth at Wimbledon, was a longtime tennis idol of Hurkacz, and in their previous singles match, Federer beat him 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. 2019.

But a Wimbledon quarterfinal is a much bigger opportunity, and Hurkacz, to his credit, handled this moment with controlled strength and poise.

“Obviously I was a little nervous,” Hurkacz said. “I mean, playing against Roger in the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam is a big deal for me. But I was trying to stay as calm as I could.”

He and Boynton had a long talk before the game about mental play. “When you play Roger, you’re not just playing Roger, you’re playing Roger’s aura,” Boynton said. “You’re playing the fans, and I wanted to address the fact that nobody wanted Roger to leave or say goodbye, so there would be a lot of noise and a lot of cheering.”

Federer said it will take some time before he decides whether to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. As usual, he will consult at length with his trainers Ivan Ljubicic and Severin Lüthi and fitness trainer Pierre Paganini.

“I said it was all waiting until Wimbledon was over,” Federer said. “Wimbledon is over. I haven’t decided where to go from here yet.”

He made his debut at Wimbledon in 1998, won the men’s singles and doubles titles, and became a star in 2001. upset Sampras in the fourth roundd in his first match at Center Court. won in 2003 First Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, defeating Mark Philippoussis in the final.

While Federer is Swiss, Wimbledon has long felt like it’s at home, with the largely English audience warming to his graceful play and his humble presence on the pitch. Here he had great success, but also a great disappointment. He lost to his young rival Nadal in the 2008 final. one of the best matches ever played. In the 2019 final, he failed to convert two match points into one on the way. Defeat against Djokovic.

One of the most uninspiring matches of his long career, the match could have been his last at Wimbledon. Instead, he chose to play despite having it. two knee surgeries It’s going through a long hiatus in 2020 and during the coronavirus pandemic.

It was his job to return to Wimbledon. biggest motivation as he forced himself into rehab and despite becoming the oldest man to reach the quarterfinals since Australian Ken Rosewall in 1977, he couldn’t go any deeper.

“I am very disappointed right now.” Federer said. “I’m still. At the same time, every time a tournament is over, a big goal is scored or missed, a load falls off your shoulders. It really doesn’t matter. You feel like the weight is gone and you’re exhausted.”

While Federer has long made tennis seem easy, that wasn’t the case on Wednesday. Although he often glided across the grass as if it were a dance floor, it seemed as slippery to him as it had been for the past 10 days.

After losing the first set, he was unable to lead the second set 4-1, misfired and failed to consistently return Hurkacz’s great first serve. He finished the game with 18 mandatory errors in his forward and earned only 35 percent of his second serve points.

Hurkacz, 24, is an all-court player with good volleys, just like Federer. He also has great serve and flat baseline power, which helps him keep the ball on the grass. But it was still pretty shocking to see Federer lose in straight sets at Wimbledon for the first time in 19 years.

The second set tiebreak was decisive. Hurkacz started off with a fast-twitch forehand pass smash winner on Federer’s serve. At 2-2, Federer missed a forehand volley at the net and at the next spot, he took control but missed another high volley when his right foot slipped on the turf.

Hurkacz closed the tiebreak and calmly ate a banana before securing the third set in just 29 minutes.

As Federer weakened, the loyalists who had long applauded him on Center Court became more urgent in their support.

“You can!” A fan shouted as Federer descended another breaking point.

The more despondent began clapping for Hurkacz’s first hits, and there was even a few rounds of applause for one of the rare first serves Hurkacz missed at Wimbledon.

But such extraordinary measures did not help much. Federer’s increasingly frequent blunders caused gasps that turned into sighs as the crowd yielded more and more to the outcome.

“Are you feeling okay?” A fan yelled that Federer chose not to challenge a 0-4 close call.

Federer was applauded loudly as he stepped into the line to serve 0-5 behind with many fans standing. But five points later, it was over as Federer missed the last forehand hit. He sullenly packed his bags without delay and waved a short pirouette to the crowd before descending the lawn and returning to the clubhouse, his head slightly bowed and a bag slung over each shoulder.

“One more year! Another year!” He pleaded when a fan disappeared.

It all depends on Federer, who will turn 40 in August.

Ben Rothenberg contributing reporting.


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