Sunday 16 June 2019

Roger Federer snaps back at John McEnroe's comment after his shock Australian Open defeat

Switzerland's Roger Federer answers questions at a press conference following his fourth round loss to Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas
Switzerland's Roger Federer answers questions at a press conference following his fourth round loss to Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Roger Federer has hit back at John McEnroe's claim that he is edging towards retirement after his shock Australian Open defeat against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Federer's hopes of winning a third successive Australian Open crown was ended by a 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) defeat in Melbourne, with tennis legend McEnroe suggesting the result was a 'changing of the guard' at the top of the game.

Yet the response of the 20-time Grand Slam champion suggested he still has the stomach for more at the age of 37.

"He's in front of the mic a lot," said Federer when asked about McEnroe's comments. "He's always going to say stuff. I've heard that story the last 10 years. From that standpoint, nothing new there.

"About Stefanos, I think he's definitely done a really nice job now the last year and a half. I mean before that, too, obviously.

"But beating Novak in Toronto, the likes of (Kevin) Anderson and (Alexander) Zverev, now me here. That's what you need to do to get to the next level. He's doing that. It's really nice for him. I see him definitely being high up in the game for a long time. That was a good night for him.

"There are always multiple factors that play in a match like this. I had 12 break points and didn't manage to take any of them, which is very frustrating. I felt I played okay and I just lost to a better player who played very well.

"I have massive regrets in this game. I had to win the second set and it didn't matter how I did it. I didn't and it cost me the game tonight."

Federer may well have closed out the second set of his match against Tsitsipas a few years ago and while his backhand lacks the punch that allowed him to sweep back to the top of the game in wonderfully unexpected fashion in 2017, this sporting genius should dare to believe he has one more glorious moment left to cherish.

Federer is expected to play the Masters series events at Indian Wells and Miami in March and has vowed to take part in the clay court season for the first time since 2016, as he hinted he was trying to have fun at the back end of his career.

"I'm in a phase where I want to have fun," Federer added. "It's a bit of a desire. I don't feel it is necessary to have a big break again."

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