June 1, 2014
Roger Federer was surprisingly defeated in five sets by Ernests Gulbis at Roland Garros.
The much loved Federer edged a first-set tie-break but then threw away a commanding position in the second to let the Latvian back in. Gulbis eventually beat the legendary favourite 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
The underdog reflected later:
”I was a bit lucky in the second set when he had the smash (for the set). But I penetrated his backhand and served it out well in the end.”
Gulbis, who made himself unpopular recently by suggesting that women should think more about having families than playing tennis, acknowledged that he had few friends against Federer on Court Philippe Chatrier.
‘It was the biggest wins of my career and sorry to the crowd, I know how much you support Roger. But I hope I won over some fans today and I’ll have more fans tomorrow against Thomas Berdych.’ After three hours and forty-two minutes, Federer left the stage a forlorn figure in purely sporting terms, knowing he had squandered progress by taking his eye off the ball when he was on top. Perhaps the arrival of his new twins had proved too demanding behind the scenes, or maybe Federer simply shot himself in the foot by being too casual when he looked odds-on to progress to the quarter-finals.
There will be time to regroup before his favourite tournament of all, Wimbledon.
But Federer will need no reminder when he reaches the All England Club that he must put opponents away ruthlessly when he has the chance. The longer he allows a match to continue at his age, the more damage Federer does to his chances in a Grand Slam event these days. Only a rediscovery of his killer instinct will give Roger hope of clinching another Wimbledon title.
He knows he can count on massive support at the All England Club for what will probably represent his last realistic chance of Wimbledon glory.
Want to be there to watch the great man give everything to Wimbledon one more time?