Roger Federer: 'After the last point, I was probably thinking about going to beach'



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Roger Federer: 'After the last point, I was probably thinking about going to beach'

Roger Federer will not be in London for the last ATP Finals in the British capital before moving to Turin from 2021. After two knee surgeries, Roger has stayed outside the court since January, working hard on a comeback that should happen in January.

Remembering his two London ATP Finals crowns from 2010 and 2011, Roger spoke about wins over Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. A year after toppling his Spanish rival, Roger defended the ATP Finals title following a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Tsonga in two hours and 19 minutes.

The Swiss claimed the sixth and last trophy at this event, passing Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras and becoming the fourth player with 70 titles in the Open era after Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe! Federer and Tsonga met for the third straight Sunday, which is very unusual, facing each other for the eighth time that season for another record.

Fifteen days earlier, the Swiss and the Frenchman competed in the final of the Paris Masters, and Roger won that one 6-1, 7-6 for his only Parisian crown. They opened the ATP Finals round-robin action seven days later, with Federer prevailing 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 before they both reached the final to set another entertaining encounter.

Despite losing a set, Roger had the upper hand, playing better on both serve and return and getting broken once from three chances offered to Tsonga. On the other hand, Jo-Wilfried gave his best to stay in touch, fending off six out of nine break points and stealing Roger's serve in the second set's tenth game when the Swiss served for the title.

The Frenchman also saved a match point in the tie break to force a decider, where he lost serve once to finish on the losing side. Tsonga had more winners and more unforced errors, losing the edge in the shortest and mid-range rallies to grab 14 points less than his rival.

As was expected, it was a heavyweight contest between two of the finest indoor players on the Tour who held without troubles in the first seven games. That all changed in the eighth game when Roger hit three good backhands down the line to create three break chances, earning a break at love thanks to a colossal volley error from Tsonga at the net.

After two deuces in game nine, Federer closed the set when he forced a mistake from his opponent, clinching the opener 6-3 in 35 minutes and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter. Jo-Wilfried had to dig deep in the third game of the second set, repelling two break opportunities with aces to remain in front before Roger got the break next time around with a forehand return winner that pushed him 3-2 in front.

The Swiss increased the advantage with a commanding hold in game six, marching towards the finish line and the title. Tsonga lost ground completely in the last 15 minutes, playing against another break point in game seven, erasing it with a backhand drop shot winner and bringing the game home with two service winners, reducing his deficit to 4-3.

In 2011, Roger Federer won the sixth and last ATP Finals title.

Roger was still pushing strong for another big step towards the title when he held in game eight, forcing Tsonga to serve to stay in the match. Jo-Wilfried did an excellent job but had to score a break if he wanted to prolong the encounter, not an easy task when we know he had no break chances since the beginning of the clash!

Out of sudden, he found himself 40-0 in front, converting the third break chance with a smash at the net that leveled the score at 5-5 and gave him the necessary boost to fight even stronger. Roger earned a break point in game 11 that could have given him the edge again, denied by Tsonga, who hit a brave forehand winner that delivered a tie break.

The Frenchman netted an easy forehand to send Roger 3-1 in front, and the Swiss hit two winners to increase the lead to 5-2, leaving Jo-Wilfried with no room for errors. The lower-ranked player kept his focus and grabbed the next three points to climb back to 5-5 before Roger blasted an ace to earn the match point.

Tsonga refused to surrender, hitting a forehand winner to fend it off and a service winner that gave him a set point at 7-6. He seized it with a fantastic return to deliver the deciding set after an hour and 37 minutes, with the momentum on his side of the court.

Jo-Wilfried extended his groundstrokes' power in set number two, keeping the points on his racquet and attacking the net more than Roger, gaining the reward in the end and keeping his chances of winning the biggest title of his career alive.

That wasted match point didn't leave a mark on Roger, though, serving well in set number three despite the fact he struggled to find the first serve. At 4-3, Federer was ready to make damage on the return, creating a break chance after a huge forehand error from Tsonga at the net.

The Frenchman closed the door with a nice serve&volley combo and erased another break opportunity with a touchy volley winner. Roger stayed in the game and finally converted his third break point, forcing an error from his rival to move 5-3 in front and serving for the match in the next game.

Unlike in the second set, Federer did nothing wrong this time around, hitting three winners for three championship points and seizing the first to defend the title and conquer his record-breaking sixth ATP Finals crown in the last nine years.

"I played against Jo-Wilfried on three straight Sundays. I beat him in the final of the Paris Bercy for my only title at that Masters 1000 event; we then played in the round-robin next Sunday and again in the final. In the title match, I think I served for the victory before Jo-Wilfried pulled the break back and won the tie break to force a decider.

In the end, I was very relieved when I came through in the decider. It was a great way to finish the year and season, beating one of the finest indoor players and seeing my team happy and thrilled. In the end, I was probably thinking, 'Can't wait for the beach, I'm exhausted,'" Roger Federer said.