The Swiss star was finally beaten at Flushing Meadows for the first time in six years, going down 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to an inspired Juan Martin del Potro on Monday. The player who is widely viewed as the greatest player of all time was clearly in low spirits at his post-match press conference, but he said he had more reasons to be happy than sad.
"This one I think is easy to get over just because I've had the most amazing summer," he said. "I tried everything, you know. Didn't work. I missed chances. He played well and in the end it was a tough fifth set. It's acceptable. But life goes on. No problem." Federer's comments reflected his magnificent run through the summer, during which he finally completed his career Grand Slam at the French Open and then took the all-time lead in Grand Slam titles to 15 with his win at Wimbledon.
More joy came in late July when Federer and wife Mirka celebrated the start of a family with the birth of twin girls. "Unbelievable. Unbelievable run. Being in all major finals and winning two of those, and losing the other two in five sets."
"Sure, I would have loved to win those two as well. Being so close, I think I was two points away from the match today," Federer said. "That's the way it goes sometimes. But the year has been amazing already and it's not over yet. Got married and had kids, don't know how much more I want." Still, the manner of Federer's defeat came as a suprise as, in contrast to the French Open where he struggled all the way, the Swiss star had looked imperious throughout the fortnight.
The wins in Paris and London appeared to have lifted a weight off his shoulders and he was once again playing with the flair and panache that marked his game in 2006 and 2007, when he won three out of the four Grand Slam titles in each year. What changed between his impressive semi-final demolition of Novak Djokovic and his loss to Juan Martin del Potro, a player seven years his junior, was hard to decipher for Federer.
He said that his new responsibilities as a father and the travel complications of moving them and his wife over from Swizerland to North America for the hardcourt season had not posed a problem.
Neither had Del Potro's play been that different from previous meetings between the two although Federer did concede that the Argentinian was "rock solid". But he did admit that he had finished the tournament and the year's last Grand Slam in dire need of a good rest. "I'm tired. Sometimes they (majors) hit you more than other ones," he said.
"Maybe here with the whole music thing, it's maybe different. I don't get hit emotionally as bad maybe in Wimbledon and Australia where it becomes super quiet at the end of the games and you have a lot of things going through your mind. "Here it's music, so your mind goes to the music instead of the match."
Next up, he said, would be a long rest period followed by getting prepared for the Masters events in Madrid and Paris followed by the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals which will be held for the first time at London in November. "Next year, I have sort of a plan in place obviously," he added. "I only look more or less to Australia, and after that, I don't know."