Roger Federer in the semi-final of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, London
Photo by Stephen Bartholomew/IPS/REX/Shutterstock | Roger Federer in the semi-final of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, London

Federer: Goffin’s crushed me too many times in practice not to do it in a match

By Ros Satar at the O2, London

  • David Goffin stunned Roger Federer to claim a place in the final of the Nitto ATP Finals 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
  • Federer reveals Goffin has shown that level before in practices
  • He discussed his plans to prepare for 2018
LONDON, UK – The script was ripped up for a glorious end for Roger Federer‘s year after he was defeated by David Goffin in the Nitto ATP Finals semi-final.



The scene was set to redeem a tournament that had seen some of biggest names of the spot drop by the wayside during the year. It was also hit when World No.1 Rafael Nadal dropped out after losing to the first finalist, David Goffin in the opening round rubber.

It has been quite a tournament for the young Belgian who on Saturday also added the scalp of Roger Federer for the first time to his CV after he defeated the six-time champion on one of his favourite surfaces.

Photo by WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock | David Goffin at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, London.

Goffin had revealed that he had wanted to try and few different things this time around, and Federer revealed that in the past he had seen the levels that Goffin is capable of producing.

Federer said: It’s really difficult to back it up after you beat someone like Rafa. We saw it in the next match. Somebody like me, it’s the same situation. It’s just a different match, a different atmosphere. But he’s crushed me too many times in practice not to do it also once in a match situation.

“No, look, I’m very happy for him. He’s a great guy. I like him a lot. I think today he played so nice that he deserves to be in the finals. That’s what I told him at the net, as well. I hope he can play a good finals tomorrow.”

The first time the pair played at Roland Garros in 2012, where the shy Goffin later admitted he had a poster of his idol on his wall. Not only that but having qualified on his debut that year, he took the first set off Federer before succumbing in four sets.

Federer continued: “I know how well he can play in practice. In practice I’ve gone through phases where, you know, I’ve seen this level before like today. It’s just that in practice, my level is not normally as high as in a match. So then I allow him to play better. But I know, too, what level he can raise his play, especially on the return side.

“If you’re not moving your legs, if you can’t hurt enough from the baseline, you can find yourself in all sorts of trouble. When he starts feeling it, like any good base-liner, it becomes very tricky sometimes. If you can’t wrestle away sort of — if I can’t come with the power any more, it’s difficult, you know, because he’s fast. So that’s why I’m not surprised, to be quite honest.”

Given the way that his season ended in 2016, and the six-month lay-off, he conceded that his preparations this time around would be far different, but that after a well-earned vacation with the wife and kids, it would be back to work.

He said: “I’ll probably take two weeks’ vacation. I feel like it’s what we always need at the end of the season, not just myself, but my wife as well, and my kids, too. We all need to spend some family time together. We love that. Most important time of our lives, to spend the time together like that.

“After that, I’ll start the beginning of December my training again. Maybe on vacation, obviously I’ll start moving around a little bit so the comeback into training is not so hard, you know. Then I leave at the end of the year for the Hopman Cup to get ready. I think I’m playing on the 30th, my first match. That’s the plan there.”

Federer will be partnering Belinda Bencic for the second year running, and the Hopman Cup takes place between 30 December – 6 January.