A disappointed Roger Federer took to the microphone yesterday after his five-set loss to Canada’s Milos Raonic at the semi-finals of Wimbledon yesterday. Many had backed the Swiss 17-time Grand Slam winner to take his 18th title – and eighth at Wimbledon after Novak Djokovic’s early exit, and Federer did not disappoint. The former No. 1 put up a significant fight against Raonic, although many felt this was Federer’s best – and closest- chance to winning an 18th title.
Ahead of the match, bookmakers had already begun receiving bets on an imminent announcement of retirement from the Swiss. The 34-year-old rubbished that speculation, saying his focus had been elsewhere.
“I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you. I was looking at Centre Court as in thank you for the crowd. That's what I was going through, not thinking about this might be my last Wimbledon,” he said. Pushed to speak about the grasscourt slam, he stressed that he was “in the game to play tennis.”
"It's a dream to win my eighth here but it's not the only reason why I play tennis, otherwise I'll go in a freeze box now and come out before Wimbledon next year,” he told a reporter who quizzed him on his exit for from what is his favourite Slam.
The Swiss also said he was encouraged by both his quarter-final and semi-final performances. “….play(ing) 10 sets (is) very encouraging for the season,” he said.
Nevertheless, he could not hide his disappointment. “This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it. So close, so close it really really hurts.”
Federer had almost sealed the fourth set against the powerful Raonic, but two double faults let him down badly. “Something went wrong. I don't know – I can't believe I served a double fault twice. Unexplainable for me really. Very sad about that, and angry with myself because never should I allow him to get out of that set that easily.“
Although he acknowledged Raonic’s strong performance at the match, he also admitted his own shortcomings had helped the Canadian along to victory and his first ever Grand Slam final.
“He earned it at the end. But I helped him so much to get back into that game.”
He also addressed the injury he suffered in the fifth set, slipping as he reached out to combat one of Raonic’s strong forehands. “I just hope with the slip I had in the fifth, I'm going to be fine tomorrow and beyond.”
Pressed further about the nature of the injury, he elaborated, “I don't slip a lot. I don't ever fall down. It was a different fall for me than I've ever had. With the body that's been, you know, playing up this year, I just hope I'm going to be fine. I believe I am, but I'll know more tomorrow when I wake up.”
And as is characteristic of the witty Swiss, he ended on an ace. “Yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you,” he finished.