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Federer: Don’t feel sorry for me

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Originally published on: 26/01/12 15:00

A philosophical Roger Federer was hardly down in the dumps – despite an 18th loss in 27 meetings with Rafael Nadal – as he deconstructed his semi-final defeat in front of the press in Melbourne.

The Swiss had attacked Nadal for three hours and 41 minutes in pursuit of a spot in the Australian Open final before the Mallorcan’s brick-wall resistance finally blunted his measured charge, but the 30-year-old shrugged off suggestions that he had lost because of his mistakes, and in particular, a faltering forehand.

“I don’t think it was that bad,” Federer said of the stroke, which was responsible for a good few of his 63 unforced errors. “I’m always gonna miss forehands because I have to go after the ball. If I just put it into play he’ll smack it. So it’s pretty simple. I have to keep him driving it – obviously at times I clipped the tape a bit too often.”

It is he and Rafa’s contrasting styles that made those errors stick out, Federer insisted.

“I hit flatter than Rafa, so it’s always gonna happen, some of it,” he said.

Federer has won just two out of 10 Grand Slam encounters with Nadal, and believes the Mallorcan steps up his game for their bouts on the biggest stage. The trend appearing now, or so recent history suggests, is that Nadal is under Federer’s skin in much the same way as Djokovic appears to be under the Spaniard’s.

“I feel he plays really good against me,” admitted the world No.3. “He’s played me that many times on clay, so maybe he always draws something out of those matches.

“He’s also got a winning record against me which maybe gives him extra confidence. I think he has a clear plan and he follows that one very well.”

It’s almost four months until Federer will be able to challenge Nadal for the French Open crown, but the four-time Australian Open champion refused to walk away from Melbourne downbeat.

“I haven’t lost in five months or something [before this],” noted Federer. “It’s not that bad. Don’t feel too sorry for me.

“It’s been one of the most successful tournaments in my life here – the ninth straight time I am in the semi-finals,” he added.

“Clearly I am disappointed, but then again, important is the reaction from now. [I will] start planning the trips. Start planning the preparations and again have a good reaction like I showed after the US Open.”

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