Roger Federer will continue his pursuit of an elusive 18th career major despite Novak Djokovic consigning the great Swiss to a third straight season without a grand slam crown.
Djokovic’s 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory in Sunday night’s electric US Open final ended Federer’s 11-match, 28-set winning streak and thwarted the 34-year-old’s quest to cap a stellar American hardcourt season with a sixth US Open trophy.
The former world No.1 has landed just one major since the 2010 Australian Open but, convinced he is getting closer, he says the Fed-era will continue.
Federer had multiple break-point chances deep in the pivotal third set to give himself the chance to serve for a two-sets-to-one lead and even Djokovic conceded the match hinged “on a couple of points”.
“I love the sport, I’ve got a lot of passion and I’ll see you guys next year,” Federer told the capacity crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium before later confirming he had no plans to slow down.
“I am playing a good year. I’m playing good tennis. I am happy with where my level is at. I’m able to be consistent, very consistent.
“I’m able to beat the best players regularly. Cincinnati obviously was a great feeling beating the world No.1 (Djokovic) and (then) world No.2 (Andy Murray) in the same week.
“I don’t think I have done that before. It feels like it’s moving in the right direction. Being back in the final against Novak is a great challenge and I enjoyed it.
“The crowd, they kept me going and that’s definitely one of the reasons I still keep playing, because of these moments, goose bump moments. It’s great.”
But the second seed nevertheless lamented an inability to convert any more than four of a staggering 23 break points, a telling stat that ultimately cost Federer the title.
“Sure I am very disappointed. I had my chances on my racquet. I should never been down in the score the way I was,” Federer said.
“Novak did a great job of fending them off and all of that, but I had too many break chances.
“Of course some of them I could have done better, should have done better.
“Lost too many times in finals. But at the same time, I did win my tournaments, the ones I was supposed to.
“The one I got I was very happy the way I was playing. Year’s not over yet. I usually do have a strong finish to the season, and I hope I can do that again.”
Djokovic acknowledged Federer’s ongoing excellence and said he too expected his great rival to carry on contending for the sport’s major spoils.
“He’s just not going away,” the Serb said.
“He’s not dropping his level too much. He’s always going to be out there making you play your best if you want to win.
“He played great tennis throughout the entire year. I think as the season was going by he was elevating his game. He was improving.
“Now he came up with a different shot, as well, the shot that nobody has ever seen and it’s been working well also against me in Cincinnati and also here.
“So that’s who Roger is. That’s why he has won so many grand slam titles.”