NEW YORK (Reuters) - Let it sizzle, let it blow, let it chill.... whatever the weather, Roger Federer proved himself to be a master of the elements at the U.S. Open.
Federer coolly dismissed opponents in the early rounds when on-court temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit and on Wednesday, he warmed up his serve in the cold and wind to blow away Robin Soderling and reach the semi-finals.
“I see it as a challenge and I see it as an opportunity to play differently,” the Swiss owner of a record 16 grand slam crowns said about playing through the wind.
“It’s not easy, you know. It’s cold. Everywhere it’s blowing. You feel like it’s blowing through your ears and into your eyes.
“But I think I used to dislike it so much that I’m on the other side now. I was able to turn it around and kind of take enjoyment out of playing in the wind, actually.”
Federer also enjoyed the sweet taste of revenge in his 6-4 6-4 7-5 rout of Soderling, who had beaten him in the French Open quarter-finals earlier this year.
The 29-year-old Swiss sent down 18 aces against the Swede, who only registered two for himself.
“I guess I got a good service motion,” Federer said by way of explanation. “To me, it doesn’t affect my concentration.
“I think what I’m also very good at is also hit a good serve even though the ball toss is not in the right location anymore. I think that’s something I was always able to do.
“I can serve to all different corners with either kick or flat or slice. I think that allows me to have a great variety of serves, first of all.”
Federer thought of another advantage he holds. “My second serve is reliable, I don’t panic or double fault so much. It’s a huge weapon in conditions like this.”
The Swiss went on to admit he was ready for almost anything.
“You know, I’ve played in such strong winds. I’ve practiced in such hot conditions. Whatever you throw at me, I can do it.
“I mean, obviously if it’s snowing and tough, then it gets a bit different,” he said. “I haven’t had that yet, so I guess I would freak out when that starts happening.”
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by John O'Brien