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Federer proud of bouncing back to close 2010 well

Published: 
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates as he holds the trophy after beating Spain’s Rafael Nadal, left, to win the singles final tennis match at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London, Sunday. AP Photo

WASHINGTON—Roger Federer’s season began with an Australian Open championship and ended with a victory over rival Rafael Nadal for the title at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Even though he won no major tournaments in between, Federer considers 2010 to have been another great year.“Every time people write me off—or try to write me off—I’m able to bounce back,” Federer said yesterday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press while waiting to board a flight to leave England. The 16-time Grand Slam champion acknowledged that Nadal was “supreme” this year, winning three major titles and returning to the No 1 ranking.

But Federer also noted that he was pleased to overcome a midseason dip—quarterfinal exits at the French Open and Wimbledon—and finish strongly. Those losses to Robin Soderling at Roland Garros, then Tomas Berdych at the All England Club, came after Federer had reached at least the semifinals at a record 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. Then again, Federer chuckled at the notion that he only played well at very beginning and very end of 2010.
“It almost makes it feel or sound like I played horrible through the summer or I didn’t play at all. That’s not the way it was.

I grinded it out. I played and I played and I played, and I tried, and I had some really good matches,” he said. “And then I did have some tough losses, and some guys played better than me, and the next thing you know, half the season is gone. But I really felt like I had some amazing weeks.” The setbacks at the French Open and Wimbledon also brought back the sort of whispers Federer has heard before when he went through brief periods of suddenly not winning everything in sight. He doesn’t let that bother him. He’s used to the way perceptions can change. He went 5-0 and won 10 of the 11 sets he played at the season-ending tournament in London, capping it with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over Nadal on Sunday.

“It’s special to have the last match of the season against Rafa, because maybe you can enjoy it more instead of just running to the next tournament and playing another match,” Federer said. “This one’s going to carry me all the way to next season, which is kind of nice.” The two best players in the world went 1-1 against each other in 2010; Nadal leads their career series 14-8. After Sunday’s match, Federer said he went through something of a crisis of confidence during the season. Federer credited Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi and new coach Paul Annacone with helping to get things going in the right direction late in the year.

“Sure, I had some tough losses, and maybe I didn’t win two or three Slams, like I did in other seasons,” Federer said. “Rafa was supreme, and he deserves to be No 1, but my season still was a good—or a very good one, and I’m happy with the way I played.”

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