Flushing Meadows, NY – Roger Federer could have made excuses.
The rain, moving to Louis Armstrong, or even just didn’t like the lighting.
But he didn’t as the former champion went down Tommy Robredo, 7-6 6-3 6-4 in the round of 16 at the US Open.
“I mean, that should not be the issue,” the former Swiss Master said. “I’ve waited for so many matches throughout my career. That’s definitely the last excuse you could find, you know.
“I mean, I’ve been practicing on Armstrong, so there’s no excuse there either. I was prepared for it. I was even happy about it. I thought it was going to be a great atmosphere, that I could, you know, take advantage of maybe the fact that people were really going to get behind me, make it a great atmosphere.
“But unfortunately, you know, I didn’t show the game that they could really get into it and excited about. That’s how it goes sometimes.”
Federer is obviously on the downside of his career. Unlike some pharmaceutically enhanced baseball players, most athletes decline of the far side of 30 and Federer is now a ripe old age of 32. It’s to be expected that the Greatest of All Time could not keep it up like he did back in 2007 when he dominated the competition.
First losing in the second round of Wimbledon and now this.
It’s tough to see the greats decline and you have to wonder if Federer can of will have the wisdom to retire rather than fall in the rankings and become a shell of himself.
Retirement? Who’s talking about retirement?
Not Federer. Rather, he thinks some elbow grease will bring back his game.
“Nothing goes past the hard work, you know,” Federer said. “However you want to see it, whatever that means to you, you know, as a player, or in the fitness room, I’ll make sure I’ll put the work in. Once I decide what that is, I’ll believe in it and go after it.
“So in some ways, as a player, you’re always excited about that prospect because there’s always something to look forward to, even in a big disappointment like the match today.”
But here’s the thing, Federer needs to understand it may be time to hang it up rather than having matches like this one.
If he can’t be on the same level, then, sure he will make some money getting into the second week of Grand Slams, but the tennis world may not remember him the same way.
Federer was the epitome of greatness and perfection. The Swiss Master was an artist out there on the court; wowing crowds and looking a man among boys.
By retiring early rather than late, Federer will keep that image in everyone’s mind and rather than the beaten up player who is an easy target for past victims.
Because he’s Roger Federer, his opponents will get up for playing him and want to possibly embarrass the Swiss Master, especially in his reduced state.
Is that worth a few bucks? Or is his legacy more important.
That’s why Federer will need to make a decision after this season. If he gives it one more year – fine – but if he can’t improve on this season, it may be time to hang it up.
There are no excuses.