Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Wimbledon: Noisy crowd more than enough to raise Roger Federer's spirits

Kiss goodbye?: Roger Federer says thank you to the Centre Court crowd after losing a five set thriller to Novak Djokovic

A clearly deflated Roger Federer remained as gracious as ever in defeat despite failing to claim his 18th grand slam title.

The 32-year-old did however concede he was pleased with his run to the final, especially after his wretched 2013 that was dogged by back injuries.

"He's a great opponent and I would just like to congratulate Novak on his title," said Federer.

"You know going into a match against Novak it's going to be tough, I can only say congratulations.

"I'm certainly delighted to have been able to be back here again in this final."

The final was watched by a crowd that included the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and Samuel L Jackson.

Federer confirmed he had met William and Kate after the match but said: "I wasn't in a great state. I was unbelievably sad at that moment just when I left the court, so it was a difficult moment for the three of us I think.

"But they were very sweet to comfort me and wish me well, (say) that they enjoyed the match and all these things.

"We met previously, so that helped I think. Clearly it makes me very happy to see them being supportive of my game and supportive of tennis."

Federer, watched by wife Mirka and their twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, added: "It's just nice being in Wimbledon finals, number one.

"Winning or losing, it's always something special and something you'll remember, even more so when the match was as dramatic as it was today.

"It's even more memorable when I see my kids there with my wife and everything.

"That's what touched me the most, to be quite honest. The disappointment of the match itself went pretty quickly.

"I was sad for a few minutes, but so happy to see family and a lot of nice ovations from the crowd.

"That lifted me up and made me feel better, no doubt.

"So I got over it fairly quickly. But clearly I was very sad walking off the court without the winner's trophy."

Federer appeared to have the bulk of the crowd's support.

"I could sense that they really wished me well and hoped for me to either get back in the match or hopefully, you know, lift another trophy here at Wimbledon," he added. "I already have seven. It's not like I need another one.

"But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that."

Meanwhile, Djokovic can become a safe grand slam bet once again after claiming his second Wimbledon title, according to his coaching team. The 27-year-old failed to convert a championship point in the fourth set, leaving his coaches fearing a momentum shift.

Djokovic made no secret of his desire to end his trend of grand slam defeats against Federer, admitting he was desperate to avoid four-straight losses in major finals.

Djokovic's coach and three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker hailed his mental resolve to shrug off that missed opportunity in the fourth set and still claim victory.

"It was a great standard of tennis throughout the five sets, and obviously Novak won the last point," said Becker, after Djokovic's 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4 victory.

"He had that match point, he served for the fourth set, but Roger wouldn't be Roger if he wouldn't always find another shot from somewhere.

"We were all dying out there, keeping it cool from the outside, but burning up inside.

"We're looking pretty good now: he's back to number one, Wimbledon champion, obviously he's going to take a couple of weeks off now but the next big one is the US Open. He lost in the final to Rafa (Nadal) there last year so hopefully he can go one better."

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