Mikhail Youzhny gets brutally honest on why Roger Federer was by far toughest rival

Youzhny played against Federer 17 times and ended on the losing side in all of their meetings.

by Dzevad Mesic
Mikhail Youzhny gets brutally honest on why Roger Federer was by far toughest rival
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Mikhail Youzhny says Roger Federer was his toughest opponent by far as the Russian admits he just couldn't do anything against Federer since the Swiss was just better in every aspect of the game. 

Youzhny, who is from the same generation as Federer, is a former top-10 player and a Grand Slam semifinalist. Although Youzhny was one of the better players in the game for several years, he never stood a chance against Federer. In their 17 meetings, former world No. 8 Youzhny picked as many defeats.

On the other side, Youzhny had certain success against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Against Nadal, Youzhny claimed four wins in 17 matches while he defeated Djokovic in three of their 10 meetings.

Youzhny on why Federer was his toughest opponent

“Rafa and Novak were younger than me, so in the beginning it was a bit easier for me to play them. The first matches were really close. As time went on, they improved a lot and it became harder to play them," Youzhny told Tennis Majors

"But for me – and not just me, but for thousands of players – it was really tough to play Roger. We played a lot of times on grass… To be honest, out of all 17 matches, maybe twice, I had a chance to beat him. It’s simple – we played the same style of tennis, but he did everything better than me: his serve was better, my slice didn’t work against him…”

Youzhny, who also played a one-handed backhand, had a game similar to Federer. But the big difference was that Federer was doing everything better than the Russian.

“Maybe only our backhand were equal, but I didn’t have an advantage anywhere. It was very tough for me to find a way tactically. You remember Guillermo Canas has beaten him twice in a row (Indian Wells and Miami) – Canas had a chance because he played a brand of tennis that doesn’t suit Roger when he’s having a bad day," Youzhny said.

Mikhail Youzhny Roger Federer