London: Nothing is going to change for former world No. 1 Roger Federer despite failing to end the season the way he had began.
Chasing a 100th career title in his 16th appearance at the year-ending Nitto ATP Finals, Federer was stopped in the semi-finals in straight sets by 21-year-old German Alexander Zverev late on Saturday, thus denying the Swiss ace a crack at a seventh crown here.
The last time Federer won a season-ending tournament was at this same venue in 2011 and the 20-time Grand Slam champion is not thinking too much as he promised to continue with his tennis routine as usual heading into the break.
“Once upon a time [Pete] Sampras said if you win a slam, it’s a good season. So I started great in Australia, but the second half of the season could have been better maybe. I also have high hopes to always do well. So I’m happy I gave myself opportunities again in that second half of the season. May be, I lost a couple too close matches that could have changed things around for me a little bit. May be in Paris or Wimbledon, I’m a little bit disappointed there because I believe I was close. Being close makes me believe I can keep going, I can win again. That’s uplifting in some ways,” Federer said at his post-match meeting with media.
“But because I know I could have won, I’m also disappointed because I aim high. From that standpoint, I’m a little bit disappointed now, which is normal. Overall I’m happy how the season went. There are many positives, to be honest. I’m excited for next season and obviously I can’t wait to go back to Australia in a couple of months,” he added.
Federer disclosed that for the moment, he was very much in sync with what he has been doing as a professional tennis player since the past two decades. “I can’t wait to go on vacation with the family and I don’t want to say I can’t wait for the build-up. It’s something that doesn’t bother me to work hard in the off-season. But I don’t know, with the experience I have and my team, I think we’re eager to see what we’re going to work on exactly. Also what’s the decision on the clay, seeing what’s going to transpire through the vacation, what are my thoughts, all that, then taking the decision at some point in next few weeks on that,” he said.
“The plan is to play again next year and come up with a good schedule that suits my family, suits Mirka [wife] and me. That’s why it’s good that we have time now. Also that suits fitness coach, physio, coaches and everybody. I am looking forward to that process. I like taking decisions, so it’s all good,” Federer shrugged.
Now 37, Federer won a record-breaking 20th Grand Slam in Melbourne in January last year while assuming the world No. 1 position temporarily. He is currently ranked No. 3, something that gives him great pride.
“I must tell you I’m very proud that at 37 I’m still so competitive and so happy playing tennis. From that standpoint, as disappointed as I might be about this match, if I take a step back, I’m actually very happy about the season. It’s been a historic season in some ways. I got back to world No. 1 and for me that was a huge moment in my life and in my career because I never thought I would get there again,” he admitted.
“Five years ago, where was I? I was probably fighting with back pain in 2013, not sure if I was ever going to figure that back pain out again because I had it for almost probably four or five months of the season. It really rocked my tennis for a bit. Here I am having actually a pretty good season physically, as well, won another slam, got back to world No. 1. So, yes, you can see it as a very, very positive season. That’s probably how I will look back on it once on vacation,” Federer added.