Roger Federer did his best to be philosophical after he failed to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the first time in ten years.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion lost in five sets to Ernests Gulbis before a shocked Philippe Chatrier Court.
“What’s done is done,” he said. “You can’t always explain why you lost. I’m not happy. I missed too many opportunities. I did not play like I wanted to play. I had so many opportunities. A lot of regrets here now. But Gulbis did a good job of hanging around. It was big for me to win the first set tiebreaker. Clearly coming back in that second set was crucial for him. I should have put him under more pressure from the baseline, but I just couldn't figure it out for a long time. That's a disappointment. Maybe I lost focus in the fifth for just a second.
“Stakhovsky [in last year’s Wimbledon second round] was a shock because I did not expect to lose at Wimbledon in the second round after so many years. And the defeat against Robredo [in the fourth round at the US Open] difficult. But this time I was in good shape, and I could have done better.
“Mentally I have already switched to the grass. It's been an intense last few weeks. I'm looking forward to playing Halle and Wimbledon now. I do feel I can still win it. I’m very excited about my chances. Clearly first the focus is on Halle. It's nice going back to a place where I have to defend a title.”
But he seemed uncertain about the veracity of Gulbis’s injury timeout towards the end of the fourth set, when he left the court to get treatment.
“He didn’t look hurt in any way,” said Federer. “They leave the court, go for treatment and then come back. You don't know what they were doing. So that's part of the game. But clearly you don't want anybody to abuse it. I hope that Ernests didn't. As long as integrity is fine and the players do it because of obvious reasons, it's OK. But if it's just to disrupt play for the other guy, then clearly it's not very fair.”
Gulbis himself came up with the answer in his own press conference.
“My back and hamstring were getting a little tight,” he said. “I am honest. I'm not big on medical timeouts. I don't like to take them, only if it's really necessary. Unfortunately it was before his serve. I just had to do it, or else I might have pulled a muscle.
“It was the best win of my career. A five-set win over Roger Federer – that’s really big. He's a human being. He gets tight too. But it’s a big upset, a big win for me.”