Tennis: Federer promises to silence the doubters

Fallen tennis legend Roger Federer is intent on silencing the doubters after the almost inevitable obituaries followed his Australian Open semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic.

Federer is now without a grand slam trophy for the first time since before he beat Mark Philippoussis in the 2003 Wimbledon final.

With world No.1 Rafael Nadal also failing to reach the Open decider, doubles great Todd Woodbridge described a possible final showdown on Sunday between Djokovic and Andy Murray as something like "a passing of the torch".

Swiss press described Federer as "bankrupt on court" against Djokovic, powerless to stop the imperious Serb from eliminating the four-time champion for the second successive major.

Federer, though, said reports of his death as a grand slam force had been greatly exaggerated.

"They say that very quickly, so let's talk in six months again," the 16-times major said.

"It's not the end in any way. It's a start for many other tournaments after this. Sure, it's disappointing and it hurts in the moment itself. I wish I could have won here again for the fifth time.

"But wasn't possible."

The smarting Swiss - after four titles in his past six events - will remain No.2 in the world no matter what happens this weekend in Melbourne.

"I feel very good. I'm very optimistic about the next 15 tournaments, however many I'm playing," he said.

"I've barely lost matches lately really, so I'm happy with where my game is at, with where my condition is at.

"I'm really excited for what's to come. This is obviously a bit of a blow. At the same time, I played a good tournament. I have no regrets. I left everything out there. We'll see what comes next."

Federer, rejuvenated and more aggressive since hiring acclaimed American coach Paul Annacone last August, doesn't believe he is in decline.

"I'm playing well. I just ran into a player who was a bit better than me," he said.

"I can move on from this with a good mindset, to be honest. That's what's important right now, that I don't feel like I have physical issues or I'm not playing the right way and whatever.

"Clearly it's disappointing to lose, but what to do if he plays well on the big points and potentially maybe I didn't. It was a tough match.

"I've been successful here under all circumstances, night and day, windy and hot, whatever. When you end up losing you wish you had different conditions.

"I think he managed the conditions well. He played great. He played well when he had to. Yeah, he deserved to win at the end."

- AAP

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