Even with all the times Roger Federer had the US Open Trophy, he still can not forget the time he slipped through his fingers.
He won five titles in a row in Flushing Meadows and was a match away from a sixth in 2009 when Juan Martin del Potro eliminated a fourth-set tiebreaker and then won the fifth set.
"I still wish I could have played that game again," Federer said on Friday.
He has never been so close to winning the American Open since he only reached the final once.
That would have been hard to imagine when Federer would plunge into New York at the end of one of the best seasons in tennis history. He was 247-15 in the period 2004-2006 and knew he would pick things up in seven races on the hard court in a city where he feels so comfortable.
"I think for a long time that I did not lose much," said Federer, "and when I came to the Open, I had all the answers for all the boys, all my opponents, all the circumstances, wind, you know, night, I've got everything about New York. & # 39;
He still does, and that is why he is at the age of 37 and a full ten years away from his last title at the place where Federer believes he can succeed again at the last Grand Slam tournament and collects a 21st major for male cases. if the tie starts Monday. A sixth Open USA title would break a draw with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for the most part in the professional era.
"Well, I mean, it would mean the world to me," he said.
Novak Djokovic just beat Federer in the final in Cincinnati and the Wimbledon champion is perhaps the favorite in New York. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is the top after taking back the number 1 ranking that Federer had regained for the first time in five years earlier this season, and del Potro has the best number 3 in the world in the career and has once again been proven to be Federer during looking at the US Open when he stopped him last year in the quarterfinals.
Yet few would count the number 2-seed Federer, even as capricious as his talented match against Djokovic looked on Sunday in Ohio.
"If you play a lot earlier, it's easier to play well in the Grand Slam, no, I do not doubt that," said Nadal. "At the same time, it is true that especially a few players are able to raise the level of concentration, the level of tennis, the level of intensity in some places, and if you have to do it, this is one of the places. & # 39; & # 39;
Federer has not done it during the past ten years at the biggest moments in New York. The loss of del Potro was followed by semi-final defeats against Djokovic in both 2010 and 2011, with two match points in both being played. He eventually returned to the final in 2015 but was defeated by Djokovic and had to miss the 2016 event due to a knee injury.
He won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in a re-emerging 2017 but squeezed his back on reaching the Montreal final and knew his body and game were not in shape by the time he arrived in New York.
"I knew it would not be possible to win from the start," Federer said. "Everything should fall into place."
he was even more cautious in checking his schedule this year, again from the clay soil season and withdrawing from Toronto, making Cincinnati his only hard court rehearsal. That gave him only five tournaments in five months, perhaps an explanation for some of the shots that were once winners, but those around the court were sprayed against Djokovic.
"It's a fine line of how fit should you be and how much tennis can you play to be competitive?" Said Hall of Famer Rod Laver. "And if you can not get the match practice, then you have to count on being competitive on the other side of the coin, and that's how fit you can be … He's certainly fit enough, but mentally in the final, I could see that he was a bit behind, you could tell he was just frustrated about some of the recordings he played. & # 39; & # 39;
Federer will not ignore his planning because he believes he has made the right decisions for his preparation. Nor will he kick himself over the US Opens lost in the past decade.
"I won the American Open five times.
I am very happy here, to be very honest, & # 39; & # 39; said Federer. & # 39; It is not so, & # 39; God, the American Open has never worked for me. & # 39; It has not been the last couple of years, but it's all right. "