'Roger Federer definitely felt superior after...', says top coach

The Big 3 have dominated men's tennis for nearly two decades

by Simone Brugnoli
'Roger Federer definitely felt superior after...', says top coach

Izyan Ahmad, also known as Zizou, a young tennis player who challenged Roger Federer to a match half a decade ago, and got his wish this year, reacted to Roger's retirement announcement in a Barilla ad. "My heart aches. But I wanted to thank you for keeping your pinky promise and playing with me.

Thank you for being the GOAT on and off the court," Zizou says in the ad. Longtime sponsor of Roger Federer, pasta brand Barilla has posted a new ad featuring different people Federer has worked with (for previous ads) cooking pasta with tennis rackets.

They include Coco Gauff, Federer's "m{ique finger promise", Zizou, chef Davide Oldani, tennis players Carola and Vittoria, and world champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin. In addition to them, the owner of the Barilla Group, Luca Barilla, also appears in the ad.

"Grazie Roger Federer for the great moments. Prepare your racket and be part of the tribute. Drain your favorite pasta with it and tag Barilla to thank Roger," Barilla captioned the ad. See the announcement here: Barilla Switches to Tennis Racquet Pasta Making to Honor Roger Federer In August this year, with no tournaments scheduled, Federer decided to fly to Zurich and meet Zizou.

The entire meeting was recorded and posted on Barilla's YouTube channel. "A surprising story about a fan, a question and one of the greatest tennis players of all time."

Ljubicic speaks about Federer

Roger Federer's coach Ivan Ljubicic, speaking on the latest episode of The Tennis Podcast, touched upon his pupil's improvement against Nadal and the reasons behind it.

"I think obviously that match in Australia changed his way of experiencing Rafa, I believe. I think after that match he felt more and more confident that he has it on his racket, which wasn't the case against Rafa fighting for many times before that," he expressed, adding, "And so, I think after that match he kind of believed more and he played, you know, just tactically also a bit different.

I mean, personally I know I'm a perfectionist but I'm very sorry for that semifinal at Roland Garros they played each other. It was so windy that the match wasn't a real match, you know what I mean. So I would have, I would have wanted to see him playing Rafa on the equal terms.

Not on equal terms, of course it was equal terms, but on the normal conditions," he said. "I'm not saying that he would have won, but I think it would have been fantastic match. It was already like this, but I really believe that at that stage, he believed that he could really also hurt him also in clay.

But on other surfaces, he definitely felt superior after that Australian Open and I think results obviously are showing it," he added.

Roger Federer