We all know, and see, Federer as a champion. The glorious moments - his grand slam wins, his match wins and his winning shots - are what our attention mainly focuses on when the legend is concerned. Federer's greatness however, we believe, should not just be judged by its wins, but also by its losses. It is not entirely because of his winning record that he is great, for to achieve them without being human would be meaningless. This article is about some of the greatest losses in his career we believe he came across.
2008 French Open Final - Lost to Nadal 6-1 6-3 6-0
This one will definitely be one of the biggest stings received by Federer in his career. To have been obliterated in such fashion, to such an extent, as never before, would no doubt caused a huge plunge in the confidence level of the Swiss, and a huge amount of self-doubt. The loss not only is painful on account of the lopsided score, but also because of its timing. Federer has been in every single grand-slam final since the 2005 Wimbledon championships, until the 2008 Australian Open semi-final loss to Djokovic, and to face such an unprecedented massacre after this shock would have been utterly devastating to Federer, to say the very least.
2018 Wimbledon Quarter-final - Lost to Anderson 2-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11
This loss to Kevin Anderson came at a very time. Federer has skipped the entire clay court season in order to maximize his chances to win at Wimbledon, only to be narrowly beaten by someone he has always beaten in their encounters (Federer and Anderson had a 4-0 head-to-head in Federer's favor at the time of this Wimbledon encounter), throwing away a match point in the process. Federer must have been absolutely shattered. Furthermore, he is already 36, turning 37 in weeks, and there is a real chance that his chance may never come again.
2014 Wimbledon Final - Lost to Djokovic 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4
Nothing stings more than having a resurgence, and then being beaten so close to your dream, by so little. This was exactly what happened to Federer in 2014. He was coming back unexpectedly well from annus horribilis (2013), reaching the 2014 Australian Open trouncing Murray en route, and then the Wimbledon final, only to suffer to loss which could be blamed on a tenseness that seized him in the final game, a game in which he was the server! The horror which he must have felt would also be compounded by the fear that the opportunity may never arise to him. He was 33 years old then, and winning a grand slam in your mid-thirties was something felt to be near-impossible at the point in time.
2009 Australian Open Final - Lost to Nadal 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–2
It was completely understandable why Federer cried profusely during the winning ceremony - this could be the greatest loss that Federer has suffered, in terms of the psychological shock that must have hit him in the wake of the loss. Timing is the killer here. There has been a marked shift in the Federer-Nadal power shift from the first time they met, and his loss to Nadal at the 2009 Australian Open final seems to be the culmination of the process. What did this power shift look like? It looked as if Nadal was finding it easier to defeat Federer on clay, while Federer was finding it harder to fend off Nadal on all other surfaces. To lose at such a moment, only seven months after losing at his most dominant surface for the first time since 2003, must have made him feel like he would never win another one again, with Nadal taking them all. There will probably be no greater pain than the feeling of a sudden fall from dominance.
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