Even an extraordinary champion like Roger Federer had to face very painful defeats during his career. One of the h*ttest came in the 2019 Wimbledon final, when the Swiss phenomenon had really come one step away from his ninth Championships title.
Despite two match points on his serve, the former world number 1 was forced to surrender to Novak Djokovic in the fifth set tiebreaker. In the latest edition of the 'Tennis with an Accent' podcast, his biographer Simon Graf recalled another prank suffered by King Roger, the one against eternal rival Rafael Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final.
The 39-year-old from Basel was the big favorite for the victory in that edition of the Happy Slam, especially after Nadal had been on the field for over five hours against Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals. Despite recovering two sets of disadvantage, Federer collapsed in the fifth and decisive set allowing the Majorcan to win his first (and so far only) trophy in Australia.
Graf talks about Roger Federer
"Roger Federer was just very upset," Simon Graf said. "I think it was a big chance he wasted. I think he should've won that match. Rafael Nadal had a really tough match in semifinals, Roger Federer should've been fresher.
And he obviously wasn't in the fifth set. It was too bad he burst into tears, because he kind of destroyed the moment for Rafa for which there has been quite some criticism. Yeah, it's just how he is," the German added.
"He's an emotional guy. I don't think he's a great loser, he hates losing. He's had to learn how to lose after being dethroned and starting to lose more often." Federer’s withdrawal from the Australian Open 2021 shocked the fans.
According to Craig Tiley, the CEO of Tennis Australia, Federer was not able to recover himself on time. The Swiss player was definitely not feeling well and thus, decided to withdraw. However, there were some other claims as well.
According to an Australian Open official, it was not Federer’s decision to withdraw from the Grand Slam but it involved the influence of his wife Mirka. The official further claimed that Federer withdrew because of his family and quarantine issues and not because of the injury.
However, Simon Graf, the biographer of Federer, called all these claims false and baseless. He believed that Federer would have surely played at the Grand Slam if he was completely fit.