Roger Federer beaten by Felix Auger Aliassime, injury
Roger Federer suffered a setback in his preparations for Wimbledon after crashing Wednesday in the second round of the ATP turf tournament in Halle.
Federer, who will try to win a ninth title at Wimbledon starting on June 28, suffered a shock 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime, 20, who is almost halfway through age of Federer.
“It’s amazing, for sure I wasn’t expecting it,” Auger Aliassime told Eurosport after beating one of his heroes on his first attempt on the ATP Tour.
“I wanted to win, but Roger Federer is my idol and it was a huge honor to play him.”
Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live coverage of ATP + WTA tournaments, including every final match. New to Kayo? Try 14 Free Days Now>
Federer is exactly 19 years older than Auger Aliassime as the pair share the same birthday on August 8, when the Swiss ace turns 40 this year.
“I always thought he would be gone by the time I joined the tour,” admitted the Canadian, who turned professional in 2017.
“I was a little nervous when I realized I could win, but I was playing really well, almost perfect tennis.”
Federer withdrew from the fourth round of Roland Garros last week to rest more after two right knee operations in 2020 and a year of rehabilitation.
Halle is his traditional warm-up on grass before playing at Wimbledon and he won the tournament near Bielefeld for the tenth time in 2019.
With the 2020 tournament having been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Federer was the defending champion in Halle.
However, despite losing the first set, Auger Aliassime, ranked 21st in the world, showed no sign of intimidation by Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slam tournaments.
The Canadian knocked down 13 aces and got 15 break points, of which he only managed to hide three.
Federer, who had said he needed ten games to prepare for Wimbledon, won the first set with ease but struggled from there.
He quickly started working in the second set as Auger Aliassime converted his fourth break point to go up 4-2 and then served to tie the game in one set.
It was one-sided traffic in the deciding set as Auger Aliassime beat Federer to take a 3-0 lead and ultimately converted the first of his three match points.
Speaking of his return from injury, Federer said: “It’s a huge challenge for me. Anyone who has had multiple surgeries or a difficult surgery knows what I’m talking about. “Things don’t come easy, they don’t come easy.
“Unfortunately, we question ourselves quite quickly, and this is sometimes the biggest worry: worrying about the pain or worrying about how you are going to feel the next day or when you wake up, the first steps, how they felt? All that sometimes costs you a little.
“Of course, once you’re back on the pitch you want it so badly like it was before and then you’re disappointed with a performance or punches or a feeling you have or negativity creeping in. You’re just ( like), ‘It’s too bad. Why is this happening? ”And you’re just trying to figure that out.
“But I think that’s why I always explained throughout this process, I have to take every game as information, I have to understand that. I need to understand why this is happening.
In the quarter-finals, the Canadian will face American qualifier Marcos Giron, who then beat German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-4 in their second round match.
With Federer absent, that means German Alexander Zverev and Russian Andrey Rublev are the only seeds remaining in Halle’s draw.
Rublev is in the last eight after beating Australia’s Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4 in 86 minutes.
Auger Aliassime is hoping to win the first ATP title of his career at Halle after losing all of his last eight finals, including last week’s turf tournament in Stuttgart.