A Trip To McDonald's Roger Federer Will Never Forget
“His coach congratulated me and thanked me almost. I was like, 'Why?'” Federer said. “He was like, ‘It's good for him to get a lesson.’ You guys are a bit tough [I told him], but I get it. I like the Italians.”
Berrettini entered the match with more grass-court wins in 2019 (12) than anyone else on the ATP Tour. But he was never able to find an opening against Federer, earning only one break point in the match.
“[What is] important is that he's not too disappointed, because he's had a great run. It's important for him to look ahead. There's so many great moments coming in his career,” Federer said. “I lost sometimes the hard way.”
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“I thought like, Oh, maybe I was going to take Andre out, all that stuff. Nah. You get smashed, go home, don't understand what happened,” Federer recalled. “You realise, ‘Well, I’ve just got to work harder.’ It's that simple. Maybe got to have a different tactic, maybe got to have a different mindset going into that.”
The following year, Federer was scheduled to play Belarusian Max Mirnyi in a fourth-round encounter in Flushing Meadows. The pair had to wait 10 hours to get onto a court because of rain.
“They sent me out at 11 p.m. Court 7, lost in straight sets, went to McDonald's at 2 in the morning,” Federer remembered. “You're like, ‘What happened?'”
At the time, Federer was still on the rise. The Swiss owned just three ATP Tour trophies, and he was unable to break Mirnyi’s serve once.
“I beat him in straight sets and I didn’t think much of him. I walked off the court winning in straight sets and thought, ‘Who’s next?’... it was incredible that less than a year later, the guy was winning Wimbledon,” Mirnyi told ATPTour.com.
Federer learned from those moments. The Swiss was not immune from disappointment. But the same way Federer was able to overcome those mental hurdles, he hopes Berrettini does the same despite falling short of making his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
“Some losses you can't explain. [What is] important is that, especially in those moments when you lost extremely hard, had high expectations, you really get taken down, is that [is] when you take a major step forward,” Federer said. “It's okay to take a step back, but then you have to take two forward. I hope that's what he does exactly from today on.”
Berrettini was seen as a potentially dangerous opponent for Federer, as the Italian took plenty of confidence into their match from his success this year on grass, and he also has weapons in his serve and forehand. But it seemed that Federer could do little wrong on Centre Court, making only five unforced errors in the match.
“In a game [like] today where you almost start feeling whatever you're going to do is somehow going to work out, you almost can't explain what it is. Am I reading the opponent well? Am I just feeling good on the day? I have no other thoughts than maybe the next point. Enjoying the crowd support. Everything is just sort of pink, it's just happy out there. It just feels nice,” Federer said. “Then you rock up to a ball. You're like, ‘I know I'm not going to miss one.’ You hit a winner. Then you do the same again and again. That's probably one of the best feelings you can get as a tennis player on a tennis court.”