Roger Federer slipped to a round-of-16 defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Halle Open on Wednesday in a setback ahead of Wimbledon.
Federer has won the title at Halle ten times in his career and had never previously lost earlier than the quarter-final stage on the German grass courts, but was second-best for much of the match against his young Canadian opponent.
The 39-year-old edged a close first set 6-4, but four unconverted break points for Auger-Aliassime hinted at things to come.
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And Auger-Aliassime turned on the style in the second and third sets, racing to a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory.
Roger Federer beim ATP-Turnier in Halle
Image credit: Getty Images
As he turns 40 this year, the All England Club is likely Federer's best chance of adding another Slam to his collection. And his withdrawal from Roland Garros raised concerns about his fitness ahead of Wimbledon, having only this season returned from two operations on his knee.
Following on from his earlier round win in Halle over Ilya Ivashka, Federer said that he is in decent shape going into Wimbledon.
The back’s good, I feel fine, it’s really just the legs and the match fitness that I’m looking forward to and getting through here breakers, like I did in Paris as well, and getting through here on a different surface, staying calm, taking the right decision when it’s most important - that’s what it’s all about for me right now.
But the nature of his defeat to Auger-Aliassime will raise fresh questions over Federer's ability to win at Wimbledon.
Federer does not have much competitive tennis under his belt this year, but has still taken part in the early season hard court and clay swings, before moving on to grass.
“You can't compare to the clay courts,” he said about returning to grass.
“You’re not going to get those rallies that you’re maybe looking for, you might get those service winners, aces and get your opponent guessing a lot more on the return games than on any other surface."
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