- Australian Open
Federer optimistic despite defeat to Nadal
Roger Federer admitted he was pleased with his overall progress despite losing out to Rafael Nadal in their Australian Open semi-final, maintaining 2014 could be a very good year for him.
Nadal enjoyed a largely sublime 7-6(4) 6-3 6-3 victory over Federer to book a spot in the final at Melbourne Park, where he will now face the in-form Stanislas Wawrinka.
Despite feeling he was on the road back to playing his best tennis, Federer felt Nadal was much more consistent on the Rod Laver Arena court and was slightly regretful over not setting up a first-ever all-Swiss final with Wawrinka.
"It's very encouraging, no doubt," Federer said. "I wish I could have won here tonight and given an all-Swiss final. That's something I'll regret for a long time.
"But I think this is a very good start to the season for me overall. I played some really good tennis here. I still feel my best tennis is only ahead of me right now. So I'm looking forward to the next couple of months, how they're going to play out and hopefully by April I feel like I'm going to be at 100% again."
Nadal now has the chance to equal Pete Sampras' tally of 14 grand slam titles, as well as becoming only the third man to win each major more than once. The Spaniard beat Federer in the 2009 final at Melbourne Park, and his opponent was quick to praise the "neutralising" tactics which earned Nadal his 23rd career victory over him.
"He [Nadal] did a good job," Federer said. "He didn't make many errors, even though I was trying to hit hard and flat. I tried to play my game. Sometimes I did play very well and sometimes I didn't. But he overall was more consistent. He deserved to win tonight. I mean, he was better.
"If you get the lead at least in the first or second set, at one point maybe I can also play a bit more freely, do a bit more what I was hoping to do, play a bit more aggressive. I tried a few things but Rafa does a good job of neutralising you. At times I couldn't quite do what I wanted to do, but that's because of Rafa."