Thank You, Not Farewell Federer Tells Wimbledon
Seven-time champ expects to return to SW19
"This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it," said Federer, who lost a Wimbledon semi-final for the first time (10-1 record). "It was really so, so close. It clearly hurts."
Trailing two sets to one, Raonic fended off break points in the fifth and ninth games of the fourth set before Federer appeared poised to take the set to a tie-break when he served at 5-6, 40/0. But two double faults from Federer allowed Raonic back into the 12th game. Thus followed a horror half an hour for Federer, who went on to drop the set and lose serve in the fourth game of the fifth set after an untimely slip.
"I can't believe I served a double fault twice," lamented Federer. "Inexplicable for me really. Very sad about that and angry at myself because never should I allow him to get out of that set that easily. I mean, he deserved it. He earned it at the end. But I helped him so much to get back into that game. I would have liked to see a breaker because I was the better player for the set. I know he's great in tie-breaks and all that, it was always going to be tough. But I would have liked to see him scramble more than that.
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"Opportunities were all around the fourth set. I think I pushed him on a few service games to get the break. But somehow I couldn't get it done. Either he served well or he hit the line on the serve, or with the forehand, he did a great job there. It was always going to come down to a few shots here and there. Unfortunately they went his way today. It's disappointing for me, clearly.”
While disappointment was the overriding emotion for Federer, the 34-year-old Swiss was able to quickly put his run to the semi-finals into perspective, considering his lack of match play this season due to injuries. In just his seventh tournament of the season, Federer had saved match points to edge Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals to put himself one win away from a 28th Grand Slam final.
"The 10 sets I played in the last two matches really gives me the belief that I'm tougher physically than I thought I was," affirmed Federer. "I never thought I could do this before the tournament started. Actually, it's very encouraging for the season, hopefully for the rest of my career. Not that I was worried it was going to end somehow, but I was insecure coming into Wimbledon.
“It's been a great run for me here, I must say. I just hope with the slip I had in the fifth, I'm going to be fine tomorrow and beyond. I totally overachieved here. The match against Cilic was epic. It was fun to be part of that match."
Ever classy, Federer waited for Raonic to pack his bags at the end of the match before walking off Centre Court alongside the Canadian, stopping to wave to the crowd that had given the Swiss their full support. And Federer was quick to clarify that it was a wave of thanks and not goodbye to the court on which he has won seven of his Grand Slam titles.
"I was looking at Centre Court as in thank you for the crowd, thank you for the great feeling that you gave me throughout The Championships. I was fortunate enough to play all my matches on Centre Court. I don't take that for granted. For me, it's respect towards Milos to wait for him. You walk off together, thank the crowd at the same time, then leave the stage for Milos really at the end.
"That's what I was going through, not thinking that this might be my last Wimbledon. I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you."