I deserve to lose top spot: Federer

A flustered Roger Federer during his shock 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7) upset by Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Miami Open second round. Last year, he also took time off after Miami and returned to win an eighth Wimbledon title.
A flustered Roger Federer during his shock 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7) upset by Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Miami Open second round. Last year, he also took time off after Miami and returned to win an eighth Wimbledon title.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Swiss stunned by qualifier Kokkinakis, will skip clay season including the French Open

NEW YORK • After Roger Federer suffered one of the more shocking defeats of his career, losing to a 175th-ranked qualifier in a result that will also cost him the No. 1 position, the Swiss revealed that he would be skipping the upcoming clay-court season including the French Open.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, who needed a wild card just to get into the qualifying rounds of the Miami Open, stunned Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the second round on Saturday in front of a large crowd that tried to will the legend to victory.

And post-match, Federer confirmed he was following the same strategy as last year, when he also took two months off after Miami before returning to win Wimbledon for the eighth time overall and the first time since 2012.

"I decided not to play," he said of his plans for Europe and admitted that the decision had been made before his startling loss.

Federer, the defending Miami champion, will cede the No. 1 spot to current No. 2, Rafael Nadal, when the new ATP rankings come out next Monday.

"I deserve it after this match," said Federer, 36, who returned to No. 1 last month and became the oldest player to hold the top spot.

NOTHING WENT RIGHT

Don't know why I could never get to any level. Sometimes you have these matches. Sometimes you find a way through. I just couldn't get it done today.

ROGER FEDERER, who will give back the top ranking to great rival Rafael Nadal next Monday, on his poor performance.

"That's how I feel. It's so bad. It's disappointing," he added.

"Don't know why I could never get to any level... Sometimes you find a way through. I just couldn't get it done today."

Federer was the latest in a string of big-name departures at this year's Miami Open, with Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams also losing their opening matches.

Romania's Simona Halep, the top seed in the women's draw, also suffered a surprising third-round loss.

In the match preceding Federer's on the Stadium Court, the world No. 1 was taken out by 30th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

And her Polish opponent was delighted with the upset.

"I'm so happy, especially because she's been playing great tennis in the last couple of months," Radwanska said.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza had no such issues, brushing aside Christina McHale 6-2, 6-1, while fifth seed Karolina Pliskova was pushed all the way by Hsieh Su-wei before wrapping up the match 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4).

Off the court, the tournament's organisers came in for flak after world No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki posted a statement on social media on Saturday, saying she and her family had been subjected to verbal abuse during her second-round loss to Monica Puig on Friday night.

"During the match last night, people in the crowd threatened my family, wished death threats upon my mum and dad, called me names that I can't repeat here," her Instagram post read.

James Blake, the event's director, issued a statement noting that the match was played in front of a "loud and passionate" crowd, condemning bad behaviour in general although there was no confirmation of Wozniacki's account.

NY TIMES, REUTERS

MIAMI OPEN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2018, with the headline 'I deserve to lose top spot: Federer'. Print Edition | Subscribe