Home » Charles Bricker, HEADLINES AND FEATURES, Top Stories » Federer Pulls Another Excuse Out of his Pocket in Loss to Murray

“That’s at the end what maybe cost me the match, potentially.”

Roger Federer is not beyond finding rationalizations or excuses for some of his losses, including claims of injury, but this one Sunday following his 6-3, 6-2 loss to Andy Murray (in one hour and 25 minutes) really left me scratching my head.

Federer had been victimized by an unfortunate bad call by the baseline linesman on Murray’s side — a call that was exorcised by the Hawk-eye replay challenge system that Federer passionately hates. But we’ll get into that later.

Let’s first set the stage for this semi-controversy.

Federer was serving at 30-40, trailing 3-6, 1-2 when he stroked a swinging forehand volley that, while nicking the baseline, left Murray a play on the ball. That was key. The linesman called out — not loudly, but he did make a call. A bad call.

Murray heard it because after he threw up a short lob off Federer’s swinging volley, he looked right at the linesman. Federer, however, apparently did not hear the call. He slammed Murray’s lob for a winner and thought he had gotten back to deuce.

Roger Federer

When it became clear to him that there was an out call, he dropped his racket in disgust and called for a challenge, which showed his swinging volley touching the back of the line.

Murray’s play on the ball was key because if he hadn’t had a play on it, Federer would have been awarded the point outright on the successful challenge.

And so, in this situation, he had to defend the break point again and lost the game. Afterward, he tried being gracious to Murray, calling him “a good player” and deserving of the title. But that little bit of irritation that seems to affect so many of his losses crept into the press conference.

“It was a classic bad mistake by the linesperson,” Federer said. “Kind of one of those moments you don’t want to happen so you don’t have to defend a break point twice. That’s at the end what maybe cost me the match, potentially.”

Cost him the match? Had he held serve, Murray would have been up 6-3, 2-2. How does this turn around the match completely?

Murray then came in for his press, and brought a little more common sense to this controversy.

“I felt that has happened to me a lot as well. I mean, if I was him, I would be annoyed, of course. But it didn’t. So, you know, you’ve just got to . . . I mean, as a player, you just have to kind of try to put it to the back of your mind.

“But that’s where the Hawk-eye system at least gave him a chance. Because, if not, it would have been called out and that would have been the game, done.”

The minor irony here is how often Federer has railed against Hawk-eye. While he didn’t hold serve, Hawk-eye gave him the opportunity to salvage that game.

So, was Federer so exasperated by the bad call that he lost his edge and, eventually, was broken to go down 3-1 in the second? We’re talking about one of the game’s finest players. He’s been in these situations before. Maybe it wasn’t a bad call. Maybe it was a net-flopper that left him at break point.

The great ones, as Murray said, put it behind them and move on. I have no doubt Federer refused to let himself be affected by the bad call. Why don’t we just give credit to Murray for eventually breaking (OK, with the help of Hawk-eye).

For you stat freaks, the 85-minute loss by Federer isn’t his quickest in a long time. He was taken down in 82 minutes on clay by Albert Montanes earlier this year.

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Charles Bricker can be reached at nflwriterr@aol.com.

15 Responses to “Federer Pulls Another Excuse Out of his Pocket in Loss to Murray”

  1. it’s funny to see that you choose to erase all the compliments Federer gave towards Murray. Unfortunately for you we all can read the transcript of the press conference. And see that Federer gave whole credit to Murray, and way more than that, for his victory. Where were you when Nadal made tons of excuses to try to explain his lost against Melzer?

  2. Even the smash wouldn’t have been the same shot if Murray had been moving and not stationary, staring at the linesman. And if Roger wanted to win the match maybe he shouldn’t have been a set, 1-2 and 30-40 down at that point…

  3. Dotty, Scotland October 17, 2010

    How nice to see a balanced report of an Andy Murray match. In no way did that one bad call affect the whole match. On this occasion, Andy outplayed Roger Federer and deserved his win. Andy is the best British player since Fred Perry and it is about time we celebrated what he has achieved in world tennis. Even if he doesnt win a grand slam he is still a great player. Greg Rusedski and Barry Cowan take note.

  4. This is tasteless. .this happens all the time and u can just whine and moan against it when everyone deals with that daily. .what a spoiled brat-sorry but this is too much..

  5. It’s a joke that Bricker uses Andy Murray to bring “common sense” to the idea that players should put bad calls and lost points behind them and move on. Just yesterday, Martina Navratilova — a great player who actually understands tennis — told the Daily Mail newspaper that Andy Murray needs to shut up and stop whingeing: “since January (Murray has) reverted to his old self. I get the feeling he gets p*ssed off when his opponent plays well, almost as if he thinks, “How dare he play that great shot”, rather than rise to the challenge… Andy doesn’t give his opponents enough credit and because of that he’s too hard on himself. It would take a great deal of pressure off him if he accepts from time to time that his opponents can play good tennis, too, he can still handle it.” How hypocritical of Murray to exploit the situation by saying what he did at the post-match conference.

    What really cost Federer the match? Maybe it was a combination of two things. One, Federer came in Shanghai match-cold (Murray had the advantage of extra match practice as he played in Beijing the week before while Shanghai was Federer’s first competitive tennis in over a month!). Two, Federer reached the final having the mental strain of playing the toughest and highest-ranked set of players (Isner, seppi, soderling, Djokovic) while Murray was mentally fresh from playing much lower-ranked players (Bai, Chardy, Tsonga, Monaco). Add the rankings of both groups of players — the disparity is shocking. In addition, Murray also had an extra rest as his semifinal was played first, while Federer had only 19 hours to recover from his match against Djokovic.

  6. “Murray heard it because after he threw up a short lob off Federer’s swinging volley, he looked right at the linesman”.

    No!That’s not correct!

    Murray looked right at the linesman, after he threw up the lob.

    There is a difference… ;-)

  7. Anthony: thanks for the email. It’s great to have tennis fans get involved in debating the game in the same way baseball fans have their “hot stove league” or NFL fans can’t wait to write in and rip into players who are dogging it on “their” team. As for Andy Murray, we all know he can be testy, but in this specific case he wasn’t whinging. He was talking common sense. I’m going to have to also take you to task on your excuses for Federer’s loss in the final at Shanghai. He came to Shanghai match-cold, you said. True, but that’s his choice. You can’t make that choice, then have someone use it for an excuse for a loss. He didn’t have the mental strain of playing the highest-ranked set of players, you said next. Whoa, Anthony. Robin Soderling, who beat him on clay in Paris? Novak Djokovic, who dumped on his U.S. Open? These are are what? Gimmes? Come on, Anthony. Be fair.

  8. “Where were you when Nadal made tons of excuses to try to explain his lost against Melzer?”

    Just for the record, Nadal didn’t make “tons” of excuses. He simply stated the obvious, that he was tired mentally and physically. If you’re going to criticize the writer of this article for not mentioning that Fed said Murry played well, then you should at least do the same by acknowledging that Rafael said the same about Meltzer.

  9. Roger Fan October 18, 2010

    I definitely agree with Midsun and I am asking the same question. Where were you when Nadal made tons of excuses about his loss to Melzer? Don’t write these type of foolish articles in you online paper and don’t reduce your reputation.
    See, Federer had made excuses but that is a common thing. Every player will make this or that excuse when he was lost. By that you just can’t write an article titled “Federer Pulls Another Excuse Out of his Pocket in Loss to Murray” about a great tennis legend like Roger. Be in a defensive way when you are writing a article about these kind of persons.
    I am deeply dissatisfied with this article and I definitely say that writing this article had just wasted your time.
    So, be careful from next time onwards.
    Don’t write these type of mad, foolish,irresponsible,worst articles.

    Thank You.

  10. @ midsun : you should check press conferences of both men and you would see who made excuses and who really congratulates his opponent way more than the other. But it seems that according to some when Nadal says things like “my knees hurt”, “I was tired” or things like that, he states the obvious but when Federer says things like “my back hurts”, “the bad-calling may have cost part of the match”, he makes excuses. That was my point then, and still is.

  11. After reading this article, two things come to mind. 1. That you don’t know anything about tennis and 2. that you are deliberately trying to create controversy with a headline like “Fed makes another excuse”. Obviously when you have no real intelligent content, the only way to get people to read is controversy.
    Nadal makes excuses. Federer has reasons and that is the difference between the two. Federer does not ask his coach mid match about what his next play should be, or take an injury time out to break his opponents rhythm mid match…. That honor as we have all seen on TV repeatedly is reserved for the Nadal’s, Roddick’s of this world. Nadal may very well make it past Fed’s total grand slam number, but to the purist who knows the game, he will never be able to take the GOAT status away from Federer.

  12. “I had a good tournament,” reflected Federer. “I thought I played well this week. Had some great wins against [Robin] Soderling, [John] Isner, [Andreas] Seppi, also [Novak] Djokovic. I’m very happy with where my game is at. Today could have been better. But, look, Andy was the best player of the tournament so he deserved it.”

    Yes, what an excuse-maker! What a lame excuse too, that Murray was the better player!!
    Simply pathetic journalism to cherry-pick one sentence from a press conference (that included the qualifying words “maybe” and “potentially”, by the way) while leaving out the many gracious things Federer said about Murray. Well, how about this excuse: I won’t be reading any more articles written by Charles Bricker because he is a sad, petty hack.

  13. Oh my! An article about Fed descends into criticism of Rafa?? Rafa has nothing to do with this article – what is it with Federer fans – every article must mention Rafa! Just remember – mentioning someone so much about something that has nothing to do with him means the man is very much on your mind – no matter how much you try to hide it. Yes I am laughing at you. This article is about Murray and Fed – critique that not someone who wasn’t even in Shanghai when this match was played.

  14. Well, I think we are seeing the other side of Mr. Federer’s personnality, i.e. glaring at line judges and arguing with the referee, he wants to control everybody and everything, even returning the balls on the other side, may be if he concentrated more on playing his best, he would play better. He is such a wonderful tennis player. Roger, watch the temper!

  15. I’ve mulled for some time about why Fed seems to get particularly irritated by losses to Murray. I think way back to when I played junior tennis… some players consciously pursue psyche-out agendas. Fed and Murray both do this more so than the other top players. It’s not just a matter of making a strategic drop shot to test your opponent’s legs or hitting a big serve to send a message, but rather actively looking for an opportunity to make a shot that will have a psychological impact like a knee in the groin. With Fed, it’s show-boating at his opponent’s expense. With Murray, it’s intentionally hitting illogical shots to irritate the opponent. Fed and Murray irritate each other because they both engage in direct psychological warfare (that has nothing to do with strategy) on the court. Nadal on the other hand is indirect… his presence, physique, fight and fire-power make the point without being a jerk about it. I have become a Nadal fan while still continuing to be a fan of Fed despite his toying with and demeaning of his opponents at times. Murray, I don’t care for at all. He’s talented, but there’s something mean-spirited about him as a tennis player, similar to how McEnroe was in his prime… often a winner, but rarely a champion.