Federer flummoxed by French loss

Where did it all go wrong? Vanquished French Open top seed Roger Federer would like to know.
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Published on May 29, 2004 08:40 PM IST
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PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Paris

Where did it all go wrong? Vanquished French Open top seed Roger Federer would like to know.

The world's top player was given a clay-court lesson by Gustavo Kuerten on the Roland Garros centre-court Saturday losing their third round tie 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

It's a result that leaves the 22-year-old Swiss player with a problem that for years hounded the legend he is often compared to - Pete Sampras - how to win in Paris.

"I want to know why I lost, why it was straight sets, but I just don't know," said a disconsolate Federer, the Wimbledon and Australian Open champion.

"He served good and was better that's all. I tried everything I could."

Federer said that several factors had worked against him notably his usually impeccable footwork was missing, the slowness of the balls and the speed and space of the Philippe Chatrier court.

"Twice I almost fell out there. I was losing my balance and coordination. I had been moving well on clay, but today it just wasn't the case.

"Also it was very hot and the balls were flying. I was struggling with them and Guga wasn't."

But Federer said he had no complaints with the crowd, many of them sporting yellow Brazilian tee-shirts, who were firmly behind the three-times former winner.

"He is a fair player and has won this tournament many times, so he deserves everything that the fans give him," he said.

"I wasn't getting the winners I normally get. It's something to do with his game. He hits it deep into the court and has a great backhand.

"My game today had a lot to do with his game. Usually I can control these kind of matches, but today it just wasn't the case."

But Federer denied that he had not played enough of the build-up tournaments to the French Open.

"I do play a lot and I win a lot. But have to take a rest now again. If I had played Monte Carlo and Barcelona, I would have got here exhausted.

"This doesn't mean that I have to change my preparations for next year. True I will have to think about it, but I don't think I will change things too much."

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