Federer wasn't making excuses for Wimbledon loss: Bollettieri

New Delhi, July 13: Roger Federer's reasons for his shocking Wimbledon quarterfinal loss did not go down well with many, including his opponent Tomas Berdych, but tennis guru Nick Bollettieri feels the Swiss champion was not making any excuses and indeed looked troubled by his lower back.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion had arrived at the All England Club last month gunning for his eighth final in a row and a record-tying seventh title. Instead, he was humbled 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 by World No.12 Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Federer had blamed injuries to his leg and back as the reason for the loss, but critcs labelled him a bad loser. Even Berdych wondered whether the Swiss was "looking for some excuses."

But the 78-year-old American coach, who is a mentor to top players like Andre Aggassi, Boris Becker, Kim Clijster, Maria Sharipova, Venus and Serena Williams to name a few, ran down such suggestions.

"Federer is a great ambassador of tennis and he doesn't make excuses. He talks straight. It was obvious that he was not moving well. It happens when your lower back starts troubling you. He began by spraying the balls all over. He was obviously not fit," Bollettieri, who was here to pick Indian youngsters for the IMG-Reliance scholarship programmes, said.

Bollettieri said it is early to write off Federer and he can still add to his Grand Slam tally.

"Federer can still win Grand Slams; he just needs to be fit. It will be tough now though as players no longer fear playing him. When Pete Sampras had a slump, he did manage to come back but players in the locker room no longer were in his awe."

"Federer faces a strong challenge from Nadal who is in top form and his confidence is very high. Winning US Open for Federer won't be easy but if wins it, he will start believing in himself.

"Nowadays, players have a longer shelf life and they play till 32 years at least. Federer is still young."

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