U.S. Open: Roger Federer says it's a compliment to be considered faltering
Reporting from New York -- Roger Federer is here at the U.S. Open as not the defending champion for the first time since 2003 and that, combined with the facts that Federer lost in the quarterfinals of both the French Open and Wimbledon and that he is 29 now, it's inevitable: There have been suggestions that Federer's days of winning major tournaments might be over.
This suggestion, Federer said Saturday, is fine by him. If you want to say that Federer is on the downside of his career, "at times I take it as a compliment really. I mean, I was most of the time playing and winning one or two Slams a year and I was on the downslide (Federer won the Australian Open this year). So you really can't take it too serious, really, to be quite honest. You can't win every season 12 tournaments. I spoiled myself by playing so well," Federer said.
"Look, I also had some problems with myself, obviously going through a period, not uninterrupted. I had mono, I had a lung infection. I've had a bad back. Maybe at times I should have just taken a rest of instead of playing. But I'm not scared of taking losses. I wanted to know where I stand and the only place I could find out is at tournaments."
Federer is seeded second at the Open, which begins Monday, and seems set up in a favorable quarter of the draw where the first seed he might meet is faltering No. 32 Lleyton Hewitt, possibly 22nd-seed Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round, perhaps 13th-seed Jurgen Melzer in the fourth round and fifth-seeded Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals. That doesn't seem a taxing road.
-- Diane Pucin