PARIS, France, June 04 – Roger Federer will call upon the golden memory of his Grand Slam breakthrough at Wimbledon 10 years ago to fuel his belief that he is still a contender at the majors.
The 31-year-old Swiss suffered a humbling 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 defeat in the French Open quarter-finals on Tuesday at the hands of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a loss which was his cue to head to the grass courts of Halle and then Wimbledon.
It was in 2003 at the All England Club that the world number two won the first of his record 17 Grand Slam titles and he will return to London in just over two weeks as defending champion.
“I love the grass court season, especially it’s been 10 years since my first Wimbledon victory. So I’m looking forward to coming back to Halle and Wimbledon where I did the double ten years ago, so I’m sure it’s going to be a nice swing,” said Federer.
Federer arrived in Paris having not won a title in the year for the first time in 13 years.
His loss on Tuesday means that his runner-up finish to Rafael Nadal in Rome last month is his only appearance in a final in 2013.
And with his 32nd birthday approaching in August, Federer knows that a failure to defend his title at Wimbledon, where he has won seven times, will only increase the suspicion that his best days are behind him.
“There’s always some pressure because I expect a lot from myself, but nobody can really prepare well on the grass because the season is so short,” he added.
“What’s happened in Paris is already pretty much past now. I have no choice but to move on. I have so many more things then to worry about right other than just this.
“This is obviously a crushing loss and I am disappointed about it, but now I look forward to other things.”
Federer has been here before.
In the French Open final in 2008, Rafael Nadal allowed him just four games — that was his previous worst defeat in straight sets at a major.
But he recovered from what could have been a shattering loss to add further major titles to his collection at the 2008 US Open, 2009 Roland Garros, 2009 Wimbledon, the Australian Open in 2010 and Wimbledon again last year.
“If you lose in five sets or straight sets or if you play good or bad, at the end of the day you’re out of the tournament. That, to me, is what matters really,” added Federer.
“I care more about the result than how I played because it gives me another opportunity to play well in the next match. Today I didn’t do that, so I’m sent packing home.
“That’s OK. But it’s easier when you change surface. That definitely helps. You have something else to look forward to.”