After his loss to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Federer complained in a news conference that he was being bothered by leg and back problems.
"I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue," said Federer, also adding that it, "just doesn't quite allow me to play the way I would like to play."
Federer was never observed to be flexing his back or leg during the match and never once called the trainer to have these areas looked at. He also never mentioned any injuries before the tournament began.
Federer added that he "gave away this match."
This is in contrast to his loss to Soderling in the same round at the French Open, when he said that the latter played brilliantly to beat him. But Federer did blame the damp weather conditions in Paris, saying they favored the big hitting Swede.
Roger Federer is no stranger to making excuses to cover losses to his rivals.
Months after losing to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in 2008, he said he was ill throughout the match.
After losing to Nadal at Wimbledon in the same year, he blamed the lack of light that occurred towards the end of that match.
After losing to the same player at last year's Australian Open, he said the better player does not necessarily win a five-set match, with the last set being all about momentum.
Federer blamed the wind for another loss to Djokovic in Miami in 2009, never once mentioning this player's achievement.
As he loses more and more matches, one character flaw is becoming apparent: Federer is a sore loser.
He seems gracious when he leaves the court after a defeat. But when interviewed afterwards, he rarely praises his opponent's game, rather laying blame on certain factors like the weather or a physical disability.
Federer's interview after his loss to Berdych, however, was in a league of its own. It certainly surpasses all other news conferences in which he has engaged, with regards to the sheer number of excuses dished out by the Swiss.
Several times in the interview, he mentioned that he was struggling during the match. When asked to explain his losses to some of the tour's bigger hitters, he said, "if I'm healthy I can handle those guys." He mentioned a stiff back and a sore leg.
In fact, Federer mentioned everything but the fact that his opponent was simply better on that day.
Berdych played brilliant, attacking tennis, hitting crisp, clean winners at every opportunity. Most importantly, he held his nerve when serving for the match when it seemed he might be broken.
Federer, similarly, played the brand of tennis in the first two sets that won him his previous couple of matches with ease, punctuating his win of the second set with two loud "COME ONs".
Berdych was just too strong from that point on.
Perhaps Federer should be reminded of the words of the great Australian tennis player, Roy Emerson.
"If you're hurt don't play. If you play you're not hurt. There are no excuses."
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