Roger Federer says he exceeded his French Open expectations
Last Updated: 08/06/19 9:59am
Roger Federer says he exceeded his own expectations after he was beaten by 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the French Open semi-finals.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion produced moments of brilliance in his 6-3 6-4 6-2 defeat against the defending champion, but ultimately proved no match for the Spaniard.
Federer, who was playing at Roland Garros after a four-year absence, remained upbeat despite remaining winless against Nadal on the clay courts of Paris.
I think I surprised myself maybe how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout.
"I thought it was a great tournament. I really enjoyed it. The crowd support couldn't have been better," Federer said.
"Maybe one of the best ever in my entire 20-year career that I have been on tour at a slam.
"Them always being there for me, supporting me in practice, at the matches, on the grounds whenever I came and showed up, they were always happy to see me. So that was nice.
"I think I surprised myself maybe how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout."
Federer left the Philippe-Chatrier court to chants of "Roger! Roger!" with fears that it could be the last appearance at the French Open of his illustrious career, but the 37-year-old did not rule out a return next year.
"Just like with any other tournament, I don't know. We'll see what happens," he said.
"But I definitely enjoyed the clay court season and the French Open, so that would help the chances, I guess. It's not like it's been a shocker."
The 39th encounter of the rivalry was played in blustery conditions and the Swiss admitted the weather played its part in the match, even if he conceded the Spaniard deserved to progress to a 12th French Open final.
"You get to a point where you're just happy to make shots and not look ridiculous. It's that bad," Federer said.
"But it was windy for both. He was better, no doubt about it. I had maybe mini chances today, but they were not big enough to win."
Nadal improved his record against the Swiss to 24 wins and 15 losses and will face either world No 1 Novak Djokovic or a repeat of last year's final against Dominic Thiem as he targets an 18th Grand Slam title.
"The conditions out there today have been so hard, so difficult to manage," he said.
"It was the day to just focus, accept all the adversities, and just be focused on the positive all the time. That's what I tried to do."
Nadal described Federer as "probably the best player in history" during his post-match on-court interview as he maintained his perfect record in both semi-finals and showpiece matches at Roland Garros.
"I hope we will both have more years to come and a great future ahead of us. Of course, we won't be here in 10 years' time," he added.
"I have won a very important victory in my eyes. For the tournament and for Federer, the fact that Federer is back on clay and competitive again, it's something important. And I think that he will go away with good sensations because he fought very well to win Roland Garros."
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