A decade ago, Roger Federer was the King of Queens. The Swiss finished a run of five consecutive titles at the US Open, never dropping more than three sets total during any of those runs.
But since claiming that fifth trophy in Flushing Meadows in 2008, Federer has not triumphed here again. He now has his sights set on one thing: winning again.
“It would mean the world to me,” Federer said. “It’s even a bigger priority this year, the US Open, than it has been last year. Not that it wasn’t last year, but Wimbledon was key for me last year.”
Federer won at SW19 last season. But even after gaining momentum by reaching the 2017 final in Montreal, Federer fell short in the quarter-finals of the US Open against Juan Martin del Potro. A sixth championship victory in New York was not to be.
“Not feeling 100 per cent last year was hard. I knew from the get-go it was not going to be possible for me to win. Everything would have had to fall into place,” Federer said. “Guys would have had to retire against me or played the worst match of their life against me, and maybe then I would have had a chance. But [in the] later stages of a tournament, it’s not feasible anymore.”
Djokovic Lands In Federer’s US Open Quarter
Federer reached the final at last week’s Western & Southern Open, where the seven-time champion competed in his first tournament since Wimbledon. He opted not to play in Toronto, and the Swiss found enough of a rhythm to reach his eighth final in Cincinnati. But he couldn’t get past Novak Djokovic, who completed the Career Golden Masters, in the final.
“I think what I did was the right thing. I truly believe it. I think I was not even close playing my absolute best in Cincinnati and still making a final is still a really good result,” Federer said. “The final was not good. I was not happy with how I played, but I think there was some tiredness that led into that. And Novak was good. So it was just a match, one you want to forget, no problem. But in the big scheme of things it actually was a good tournament for me, get all the matches under the belt, get match tough again so when I do show up here I actually feel I’m ready, and I am ready, and that’s what counts for me.”
Federer won 41 consecutive matches at the US Open starting from the launch of his 2004 campaign through the 2009 final, in which he had a two sets to one lead against Del Potro before succumbing.
“I just got on a roll, I guess… For a long period I think I was not losing much, and when I came to the Open, I had all the answers for all the guys, all my opponents, all conditions, wind, night, day. I really embraced everything about New York,” Federer said. “I think that’s why I rarely had bad tournaments here in New York, because I like playing here. I think the court speed is good for me. I’m happy in this country. I’m happy in New York… my personal experience with the five in a row was an unbelievable one. So I’m very proud of that accomplishment.”
Now, Federer will hope to create new memories. He begins his tournament against Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka.
“I’m really excited and happy to be back here healthy again and feeling good,” Federer said. “I’ll take it one match at a time and see what happens.”