Federer: 'I'm Extremely Excited For Next Season'
Roger Federer admits to having his chances against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. The six-time champion went one for 12 on break points against the Greek in what must have felt like a sequel to their Australian Open quarter-final in January, when the Swiss didn't convert any of his 12 break points.
“No doubt I had my chances,” Federer said. “[I] had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad. At this level, you just can't have it happen, so that was pretty disappointing today.”
But don't expect the 38-year-old Swiss, who will finish year-end No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, to mull over his semi-final loss for too long.
Federer can feel proud of finishing inside the Top 3 of the year-end ATP Rankings for the 15th time, his four ATP Tour titles, including his 100th in Dubai, and his 16th semi-final at the season finale at The O2.
“I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year, and then I will create some chances. I thought I played some consistent, solid tennis. Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team, get the balance right with everything that's happening in my life,” Federer said about his hopes for 2020.
“But I'm happy how I played this season, and I'm extremely excited for next season.”
The Swiss beat Tsitsipas for the Dubai title, won his 28th ATP Masters 1000 in Miami (d. Isner) and won his 10th title in both Halle (d. Goffin) and Basel (d. De Minaur), his hometown tournament.
Federer fell short of winning Big Titles at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (l. Thiem) and at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic). He'll look to shore up his performances in those big matches next year during his 23rd season on Tour.
“When the matches come, it's not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago, where you're just going to play very good day in, day out. Maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen. Maybe that's what it felt like today, just things were complicated. But I've got to maybe do even a better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there today, for instance. They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells or Wimbledon,” said Federer, who had two match points against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.
“That can change an entire season around, the confidence around, the flow of things.”
Federer, who is 2-2 against Tsitsipas in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, was complimentary of the 21-year-old.
“I thought that he played really well. He took the ball early. I know he does that. I thought I returned actually pretty good on the first serve... For the most part I wasn't quite getting into the rallies the way I wanted to,” Federer said. “I think I have to credit him for pushing me to not play at the level I was hoping to today."
About Tsitsipas' one-handed backhand, which the Greek hit effectively down the line, Federer added, “He can loop it and come down on it, and that's why also I believe he's good on faster courts and on slower courts. It's going to be very beneficial for his career... Obviously it's his footwork that's always on the aggressive side. Any short ball will be attacked, and I think he does that very, very well. He's one of the best at that in the game.”
Federer, however, minutes after the loss, was already prepared to move on and think about future opportunities.
“It's the year-end. It's over now, and I can't make it better. I tried everything I could, to be honest. I tried to chip it eventually, tried to stay back and hit some. I tried to come forward. And for the most part I actually tried to play up in the court and tried to play aggressive. But, of course, with his aggression, it's not always easy because he always takes the ball very early himself too,” Federer said.
“I knew he was going to be incredibly athletic. He was just a little bit better today at all those little things.”