Roger Federer has caused a stir with an uncharacteristic outburst in his loss to Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati Open final.
Djokovic finally mastered the one tournament that’s eluded him on Sunday, beating nemesis Federer 6-4 6-4 on Sunday for his first Cincinatti Open championship.
Federer’s game was off – the Swiss Maestro making 28 unforced errors – and he let his frustrations boil over after being broken in the first set.
After losing his streak of 100 service games without being broken, Federer let out a big F-bomb, furious at getting a bad bounce off the court that resulted in the break.
The chair umpire hit the World No.2 with an audible obscenity warning, something you rarely see from the normally unflappable champion.
Fans reacted with surprise at Federer’s rare outburst:
Federer was giving a code violation/warning for obscenity after getting broken. You rarely see that happening…#CincyTennis
— Melvin (@MTKigz) August 19, 2018
Woah! Code violation, audible obscenity, Federer. pic.twitter.com/Pr68TypAOs
— Chewy Yorkie (@ChewyYorkie) August 19, 2018
Oooh. When Djokovic got the break, Federer got an obscenity warning.
— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) August 19, 2018
Rougherer service games going on Federer drops his 4th of this championship via a shanked backhand, misjudged forehand swing, etc. chair issues audible obscenity code violation/warning as changeover begins. #cincytennis
— Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9) August 19, 2018
Audible obscenity warning Mr Federer!
— jimmy soixante-dix (@hotdog6969) August 19, 2018
Djokovic got the better of a nostalgic rematch – they hadn’t played in two years because of injuries – and broke through in a tournament that Federer has won seven times, never losing a title match.
After Federer’s forehand sailed wide for the deciding point, Djokovic raised both arms and roared.
Then he jumped and punched the air before giving his racquet to a fan and tossing his sweatbands into the stands.
“Thank you for letting me win once in Cincinnati,” he told Federer as they stood on court for the trophy presentation.
No need for mementos. That first Rookwood pottery trophy will be enough.
“That’s what the headline should be about – this is such an amazing accomplishment,” Federer said. “He’s the first to do it. I think it’s very difficult to win Masters 1000s. These performances don’t come easy.”
Djokovic is the first to claim all nine ATP Masters 1000 events since the series started in 1990. It had become his personal quest after he lost in the finals five times – three against Federer.
Djokovic leads their all-time series 24-22, doing much better in the biggest matches. He’s 3-1 against Federer in Grand Slam finals and 12-6 overall in championship matches, including wins at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015.
Djokovic completed a long comeback from elbow surgery by winning his fourth Wimbledon title last month, then set out to get his hard-court game in order for the US Open. He got better as the rainy week went on in Cincinnati, playing his best at the end.
“This seems to be a bit unreal, to be honest, to be back at this level,” said Djokovic.
Federer’s serve had been untouchable all week – held for 46 consecutive games. Djokovic broke that streak to go up 4-3 in the opening set, prompting Federer to mutter angrily. Djokovic served out the set and then traded breaks with Federer early in the second set.