After suffering a second-round upset to 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky, seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer says that analysts should not have expected that he and two-time champion Rafael Nadal would automatically meet in the quarterfinals.
“You guys hyped it up so much, me playing Rafa, and we're both out,” Federer said. “So there's a letdown clearly. Maybe it's also somewhat a bit disrespectful to the other opponents who are in the draw still. I think it sends a message to [the media] as well that maybe you shouldn't do that so often next time around.”
With the loss, Federer’s streak of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances ended. The Swiss said opponents now believe they can challenge tennis “Big 4”—Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray—who have combined to win 36 of the last 39 Grand Slam titles.
“I think there was a time where some players didn't believe they could beat the top guys,” Federer said. “So maybe there's a little bit of a thing happening at the moment. I'm happy about that, that players believe they can beat the best on the biggest courts in the biggest matches. I think it's very important, that belief. We're missing the teenagers overall, so it's up to other guys to do it like we've seen this week, at other places as well.”
Murray, who advanced to the third round on Wednesday, said that while there are openings in the bottom half of draw, there are also some known players left in the mix.
“Everybody was so obsessed with how the draw was before the tournament started,” he said. "Now everybody wants to change their views on it because a few guys have lost. There's top players still left in the tournament, and there's a lot of young guys as well coming through, guys like [Ernests] Gulbis, [Jerzy] Janowicz. Those sort of players are starting to break through and play more consistently…
“I just think that the consistency of the top players over the last, well, for Roger and Rafa it's been about 10 years, obviously Novak for four or five years—the consistency has been something that tennis I don't think has really seen before. I don't think that was because of the depth of the men's game or there not being depth in the men's game. I just think the consistency of playing at a high level from the top players has been incredible. But that is not going to last forever.”