Skip to main content

Tommy Robredo sends Roger Federer crashing out of U.S. Open

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
September 3, 2013 -- Updated 0330 GMT (1130 HKT)
Roger Federer loses to Tommy Robredo following their 2013 US Open men's singles match in New York on September 2, 2013.
Roger Federer loses to Tommy Robredo following their 2013 US Open men's singles match in New York on September 2, 2013.
  • Five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer loses 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 6-4 to Tommy Robredo
  • This was the 32-year-old's earliest exit in New York for 10 years
  • Federer was denied a quarter-final clash with rival, Spain's Rafael Nadal
  • The Swiss star last won a Grand Slam title in 2012 at Wimbledon

(CNN) -- Roger Federer will not feature in a Grand Slam final in the same calendar year for the first time since 2002, after he was knocked out of the U.S. Open by Spain's Tommy Robredo.

The winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, including five in New York, suffered a straight sets defeat in his fourth round match at Flushing Meadows, losing 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 6-4 late Monday.

The defeat denied the Swiss star, arguably the finest player to have played the game, a quarter-final showdown with long-time nemesis Rafael Nadal, after the in-form Spanish star beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-3 6-1.

Robredo had never beaten Federer before their latest rain-delayed encounter on the Louis Armstrong Stadium court. But with 43 unforced errors to his name and only two break points converted from 16, the former world number one looked unlikely to extend that run.

Secret to beating tennis' big four
Roger Federer in 'vulnerable' position
Secrets below Roger Federer's feet

"I'm going to feel like I beat myself," Federer told reporters after the match. "It was up to me to make the difference and I just couldn't.

"I self-destructed, which is really disappointing. When things came to the crunch I just couldn't do it. It's frustrating."

Robredo, by contrast, was full of confidence as he hit 70% of his first serves and sent numerous forehand winners whistling past his illustrious opponent.

"I'm delighted. It's unbelievable. The difference is I won the break points today," said Robredo.

With the ignominy of another early exit from a Grand Slam tournament, Federer, whose ranking has slipped to an unfamiliar No. 7, will face renewed speculation about his future.

At 32, some question whether he can arrest the recent decline in his fortunes -- his last major title was at Wimbledon in 2012.

"Roger is in a very vulnerable state. He's in a vulnerable position because he's moved down to No. 7 now," said legendary coach Nick Bollettieri in a recent interview with CNN.

Read: Roger Federer 'is vulnerable'

I'm going to feel like I beat myself. It was up to me to make the difference and I just couldn't.
Roger Federer

"Remember Pete Sampras went through a tough period. Fortunately for Pete he won a big one before he left the tour."

But with younger rivals Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray improving all the time, Federer will be acutely aware that his window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

He has even experimented with a larger racquet head in a bid to find a solution to his on-court problems.

And for Bollettieri, who has coached a number of former Grand Slam champions including Andre Agassi, there's a real concern that an underwhelming end to his career could undo the Federer legacy.

"It would be a shame if people forgot who he was," he said. "Look at what he brought to the game. He brought class. He lived a beautiful private life.

"He's quiet. He's always respectful of the sport. He's respectful of his opponents. You don't find too many people who represent life, whether it be business or sports, like this guy."

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.