LONDON: Roger Federer, for seven years at the All England Club the 28-year-old Swiss has been virtually unbeatable with only an inspired Rafael Nadal getting the better of him in an epic 2008 final.
After losing to Robin Soderling in the last eight of the French Open, Federer joked that at least his streak of quarter-final appearances at grand slams was still intact, having failed to chalk up a 24th semi-final run.
Roger Federer look's a little hollow on Wednesday when the six-time Wimbledon champion was a distant second best against Berdych, one of the growing number of baseline pounders who now walk on court believing they are Federer’s equal.
Federer, who was beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, spoke afterwards of back and leg pains but it will be the 16-time grand slam champion’s pride that was causing him most discomfort as he faced up to the unpleasant truth that his aura of invincibility has gone, possibly for good.
“God, I can’t wait for Paris and Wimbledon to come around next year again, that’s for sure,” a downbeat Federer told reporters. Federer’s game has lost some edge since he won the Australian Open in January, his last tournament victory.
His groundstrokes no longer punch holes in opponent’s defences and his serve, while still potent, is not the reliable weapon it was at the start of the year. In the build-up to Wimbledon he lost to Lleyton Hewitt, a player he had beaten 15 times in row, in the Halle final, for what was only his second defeat on grass in eight years.
Pat Cash, a former Wimbledon winner was quick to reassure Federer fans that the great man was not washed up yet. “We haven’t seen the end of Federer,” the Australian said. “He’s not playing much worse, he just misses the occasional shot and doesn’t come to the net any more.
“But I’m convinced he will still win another grand slam, probably on hardcourts or here at Wimbledon.”