Djokovic throws down nothing - he is too up himself
ROGER Federer's surprise semi-final defeat could be the catalyst for the French Open victory that so far has eluded him, according to respected Australian coach Darren Cahill.
Cahill believes the winner of 12 grand slam tournaments has little to worry about despite failing to reach the Australian Open final — his first absence from a grand slam decider since the 2005 French Open.
Cahill, often mentioned as a future coach for Federer, believes Friday night's loss to No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic could release the pressure on Federer as he looks towards the French Open, where he has lost in the final to Rafael Nadal in the past two years.
"This might take a little bit of pressure of him going into the French Open," Cahill said. "Now he (doesn't have to) worry about (winning the grand slam) and have a good hardcourt season, which he did not have last year.
"Before the French Open, he lost early in Indian Wells and Miami — now he can go into the clay with not so much grand slam pressure."
Federer was refusing to hit the panic button.
"I will definitely reflect on what happened. I mean, considering my illness, I'm sort of happy with the result here.
"Of course, I've created a monster, so I need to always win every tournament. But semis is still, you know, pretty good. I'll analyse and see if I have to make some changes next year. But honestly, I think I did play pretty good.
"I didn't play my best throughout the championships, but it was pretty solid, so it was OK."
Cahill, who coached Andre Agassi to grand slam tournament success, believes Federer will continue to win majors.
"There is no question that every time you see Roger, he keeps on improving every year. But there is also a bunch of guys now in Nadal, Djokovic, even a guy like (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga, that keep improving their games and I think Roger, by setting such a high standard for himself, as done everyone in tennis a huge favour because everybody now is working harder …
"We have bigger, stronger, faster athletes playing the game and there is no room for anyone who is not prepared to work hard."
Roger Rasheed, Lleyton Hewitt's former coach, also believes Federer will continue to dominate.
"I think we just see one result, then decide to paint a certain picture, but I still think that Roger is the best player I have ever seen and he will go down as the all-time greatest," Rasheed said.
"It's a blip here but all credit goes to some other young guys who are putting their hands up and wanting to join Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal at the dinner table."
While Federer was ill before the start of the Australian Open and might not have looked his best over the past fortnight, Rasheed also believes the experience of this Open will have a positive long-term effect on the world No. 1.
"To come out every day and play at your best is virtually impossibly and Roger has been able to do that to a degree — he is a victim of his own success," he said. "I think it is going to be great for him; he will go back, he will reassess and it won't knock him around too much. It is going to make him hungry."
LONG LIVE THE KING