Federer Feels He’s Going To Get Better

Roger Federer made the type of personal history he’d rather avoid at this US Open.

For the first time in his Grand Slam career, the 36-year-old Swiss has opened a major playing successive five-set matches.

Federer dropped his first hard-court set to Mikhail Youzhny in 17 years before rallying for a scratchy five-set victory today.

The five-time US Open champion isn’t pressing the panic button and believes his form will only improve as the tournament progresses. Federer, who raised his career record against Youzhny to 17-0, has won all 12 meetings against third-round opponent Feliciano Lopez, including a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4, triumph at the US Open 10 years ago.

“It is what it is,” Federer said. “I’m pretty confident that I’m only going to get better from here. That’s a good thing. Because I’ve played a lot, I definitely found some rhythm now, even though it’s going to be a different serve coming my way, lefty. But I know Feliciano (Lopez) also really well, like I know Mikhail really well. I think that plays in my favor a little bit.

“So, yeah, good thing was that I started well today after not doing that at all in the first round. So I think that to me is also encouraging. I just got to iron out those little ups and downs that I’m having a little bit so it’s not too extreme, think I think I’m going to play better.”

The second-seeded Swiss surprised New Yorkers showing up for practice in Central Park yesterday. Federer, who rarely practices on public park courts, said the park experience was a refreshing departure from his standard training routine.

“Sometimes I think having a fun practice session, being in a totally different surrounding like yesterday, where all 20 courts just stopped playing, came to watch you play. I don’t know. It was kind of really different, you know,” Federer said. “People were just happy to see you there, meet you, talk to you, maybe get a photo. They didn’t care about autographs.

“I don’t know, it was a different crowd. I really enjoyed that. Just to be in that environment for a change. I’ve seen the routine of normal practice sessions and matches, press, all the things we do in a row, it’s always the same. I think this was very refreshing. I hope I can do these things a bit more often.”

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