Roger Federer over and out

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:07 AM ET

Roger Federer leaves Toronto a little worse for wear, but all things considered, pretty happy with where his game is.

Sure, there is disappointment that he couldn’t come back against Andy Murray in a closer-than-it-looked 7-5, 7-5 Rogers Cup final on Sunday at the Rexall Centre. But the combination of a dreadful start, a series of weather delays, and the fact that his opponent is playing at the top of his game while Federer admittedly isn’t, conspired to deny him the perfect ending to his Toronto visit.

Federer took it all in stride, but clearly felt he was at a disadvantage once the rains started.

All told, the match took three hours and 35 minutes. Two hours and four minutes of that was actual tennis. The other 91 minutes was the combined total of three delays. There was also a 25-minute delay before the match could begin

“It was definitely not easy for either of us,” Federer began before pointing out how much tougher he had it than Murray.

“I thought, for me, it was particularly hard being down 3‑love with a double break, running behind the score, still losing the first set and not coming through there obviously was a bit of a blow. Then the rain delays completely shut it down for me to get any kind of rhythm.”

Of course, Federer had no one to blame but himself for that. Had Murray come out of the gate a tad slow as did Federer, he too would have been at a disadvantage once the delays began.

Federer was gracious enough to point that out.

“I know for him, as well, but it was just a really hard match to go through at the very end,” he said. “It was played on a couple of points here and there and it didn’t even feel like the end of the match, you know. Just all of a sudden it was all over.”

Excuses aside, Federer is correct when he says this one could have gone either way. Murray was the best tennis player on the day, no question, but an inch here or there on one or two points and Federer might well be heading to Cincinnati with his third Rogers Cup title under his belt.

To hear Federer tell it, he might not be at the height of his game at the moment, but the state of men’s tennis is such that when he’s not, chances of getting a tournament win are slim at best.

“I’m very good,” Federer said, ignoring modesty for the moment. “But I don’t have the margins like maybe that exist in women’s tennis or whatever, that you can just come out and maybe dominate an opponent every single time. That doesn’t happen in the men’s game. We neutralize ourselves much more because of the serve we have in our game.

“That’s why you need to be really sharp and take the right decisions at the right time,” Federer said. “That’s sometimes hard to do when the ball comes at you so fast and you only get a couple of chances sometimes. And today was a bit of a roller‑coaster match, you know. Many breaks involved with two good servers.”

Yes, breaks were definitely in vogue, eight in total in the match, five by Murray, three by Federer.

And with all those breaks, Federer never found his groove.

“It was a bit tough to get some rhythm going, but, you know, it’s just little things here and there,” he said. “You saw this week how close matches are being played and when you’re just not feeling 100%, you take wrong decisions, or sometimes you’re just unlucky or sometimes the other guy is just better. That’s how small the margins are sometimes.”

Federer had already put this loss behind him when he sat down with the media about a half hour after the match. He’s already planning for Cincinnati where he is the defending champ.

The difference between winning and losing there will be just as slim as it was in Toronto, but even last night Federer was already planning his best case scenario.

“I hope I can get a Wednesday start because I definitely need some rest,” Federer said.

As the defending champ there, that’s the least they can do.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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