Roger Federer insists he is still capable of winning a record eighth Wimbledon title despite suffering a shock second round defeat to World No 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky on Wednesday night.
Centre Court witnessed one of the greatest upsets of all time as Federer lost 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) to the unseeded Ukrainian, who has only made the second round at SW19 once before.
The defeat brought to an end Federer’s incredible run of 36 consecutive appearances in grand slam quarter-finals. Last year the Swiss upset the odds to equal Pete Sampras’ record of seven titles at the All England Club.
Given that he will be 32 the next time the championships come around, many have already started speculating that Federer has past his best, but the 17-time major winner laughed off such talk tonight.
When asked whether it felt like the end of an era, Federer bluntly replied: “No. I still have plans to play for many more years to come.
“It’s normal for people to feel different after losing early all of a sudden. I’ll be okay. I’m very happy about it. I wish (my run) wasn’t going to end here today. But I don’t think that’s something fans are going to mourn, and neither am I.
“I can’t panic at this point, that’s clear. I just have to go back to work and come back stronger really. “It’s hard to do sometimes, but usually I do turnarounds pretty good. There’s still a lot of tennis left.
“I’ll appreciate what I’ve achieved when I’m retired and that’s not right now.” On Wednesday night, he had no answer to Stakhovsky’s serve and volley tactics on Centre Court.
‘I kicked Federer’s butt’
Asked how he might reflect on his victory in his old age, the Ukrainian said with a smile: “I can definitely tell my grandkids: ‘I kicked the butt of Roger Federer’.”
“Beating Roger here on his court, where he’s a legend, is I think having definitely a special place in my career,” said Stakhovsky, who will now play Jurgen Melzer in the third round.
“Roger Federer is the greatest player we had. He’s the biggest name we had and we still have. I think as a person he showed us that you don’t have to be really somewhere else, you can be a decent man achieving a lot of things and still be a person which everybody admires.” — PA Sport