Stunned Federer ‘didn’t see defeat coming’
ROGER Federer has vowed to use Wimbledon disappointment as motivation to return in search of future glories.
Demoralised after South African Kevin Anderson came from two sets - and match point - down to deny him 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-4 13-11 victory in four hours, 14 minutes, the defending champion savaged his own performance.
"To be honest, I had my chances and blew them, so... that's my problem really," he said.
"Just today, when I needed it, I couldn't get it up. That's why it's an average performance and not a good one.
"So if I would have won in straight sets, then it could have been all right, you know, because I would have had a great first set, and second set was whatever it was.
"So, no, I didn't see it coming. From that standpoint, I felt great in practice, good in the warm-up. I'm feeling the ball well.
"Even now losing, I still felt like the feeling is there. It just happened to be that today wasn't the day."
Federer will be 37 when he returns to the All England Club next year in quest of a ninth Wimbledon crown.
"Yeah, of course, the goal is to come back here next year," he said.
"I wouldn't call it 'unfinished business'. I felt like I did some good business here in the past already.
"It (defeat) motivates me to do extremely well here because I don't want to sit here and explain my loss. That's the worst feeling you can have as a tennis player.
"But, no, honestly I think I just love being around here. It's a good vibe. We have a good time as a family.
"I have great memories from here. My heroes all won here. Every time I come back here, I try to be like them, so it's nice to be here.
"So I'm all right. Just disappointed now."
Anderson saved a match point in the third set before wearing down the top seed in an All England Club classic.
Seemingly in cruise control when Anderson slumped to break point down at 4-5 in the third set, eight-time champion Federer could not close out the match.
It is only the fifth time in Federer's glorious career he has been rolled after winning the first two sets in best-of-five set competition.
Only Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic have given Federer a similar start and a beating.
Seeded eighth, Anderson joins a select band.
The 32-year-old had failed to claim a set from Federer in four previous meetings and this contest seemed to be following a familiar course.
And then, as Federer tightened and Anderson competed with ferocity and freedom, the match changed completely.
Serving second in the deciding set, Anderson repeatedly hovered two points from defeat.
But was resolute and defiant.
The fifth set stretched 90 minutes - longer than some of Federer's matches here.
"Not quite to say right now," Anderson said.
"Down two sets to love, I did my best to scrape through into the fifth set.
"I'm very proud at the way I handled the fifth set.
"Beating Roger Federer here at Wimbledon is something I will always remember.
"I just kept on telling myself 'I have to keep on believing' and 'Today is going to be my day."
"I just gave it my all and obviously very ecstatic to get through that."
With 28 aces, 65 winners and just 31 unforced errors, Anderson won 190 points to Federer's 195 - but the lanky baseliner held his nerve better.