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Federer Disappointed but Hopeful Following Halle second-round loss to Auger-Aliassime

“I realized it was not going to be my day. There was nothing I [could] do,” Roger Federer said after falling to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Halle. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

By Ricky Dimon

Roger Federer lost in round two of the Noventi Open to Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday afternoon. Federer was hoping to get some more grass-court match practice under his belt in advance of Wimbledon, but he bowed out of a tournament he has won 10 times when he fell to Auger-Aliassime 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

It was an especially disappointing third set from the Swiss, who started well but saw his level continue to decrease as the match went on.

“Of course I know Felix is a great player and he was better today,” Federer admitted. “I would have maybe lost anyhow. But it’s a tough court to play on, so it makes me really happy looking back at how grateful I can be about how well it’s gone here in Halle and how difficult it is to win here. This type of third set I cannot accept.

“I realized it was not going to be my day. There was nothing I [could] do. I started to get really negative and this is not normally how I am by any means. I think this is not something I’m happy about and proud about, but at the same time, if I look at my 1,500 matches I’ve played, these things happen. The good thing is that I know it will not happen the next time around and the next time and the next time.”

Ten-time Halle champion Roger Federer reacts during his round of 16 match against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Noventi Open in Halle (Westphalia), Germany, 16 June 2021. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

The 39-year-old’s next time on court will likely come at Wimbledon unless he accepts a late wild card into an event next week. He has played eight matches this season after missing almost all of 2020 due to a knee injury. Federer’s comeback includes an encouraging fourth-round performance at the French Open, but his results have otherwise been lackluster.

“It’s a huge challenge for me,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion commented. “Everybody who has been in multiple surgeries or a tough surgery knows what I’m talking about. Things don’t come simple, they don’t come easy. You second-guess yourself rather quickly unfortunately, and that’s sometimes the biggest worry: the worry of pain or the worry of how you’re going to feel the next day or when you wake up, the first steps, how did they feel? All this stuff, it takes a little bit of a toll on you sometimes.”

As for Auger-Aliassime, he advances to a quarterfinal contest against qualifier Marcos Giron.

“It’s amazing; an amazing win,” the 21-year-old Canadian assured. “I for sure didn’t expect this. Of course I come into the match trying to win, but Roger was my idol like many of us growing up. First off, it was a huge honor to play him before he retired and to beat him is something amazing that I have with me.

“I always thought he would be gone by the time I arrived, because he was winning Grand Slams when I was only five years old. So I never expected to play him. I just wanted to be a professional one day; I didn’t think I would get to his level. So now to be on the same court and get the win is an honor for me.”

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.