Federer takes slow start
Roger Federer ruined his slow start when he fell to a shock defeat for Dominic Thiem in his opening match at ATP Finals.
The Swiss legend went down 7 -5, 7-5 to the world number five after a close competition at the O2 Arena which lasted an hour and 40 minutes.
Federer paid the price for a dead start in the first set, with Thiem snorting an early break, and the 38-year-old never managed to wrestle control when Thiem retained his nerve.
The Austrian has now won three games in a row against Federer after winning at the Indian Wells and Madrid Open earlier this year. It is also the first time Thiem won his opening group match in London.
And while Federer did not remove anything from his opponent's impressive screen, he admitted that his performance did not meet his high expectations.
"I thought he was playing well," Federer said at his press conference after the game.
"The start definitely didn't help, it put me on the back foot. But I recovered well, and I thought after that the match was actually pretty even for a long time.
" I had my chances, didn't feel like that I was outplayed or something. Just maybe [it’s] that the first round hiccups a little, doesn't hit your seats on the serve when you need to, getting in trouble early in the service games that may not happen later in the tournament.
"I also thought Dominic saved himself really well when he had to, so I thought he was playing a tough first round today, and my game probably just wasn't good enough."
It will be a tough task for Federer to qualify from here. The six-time champion still has to play the friendly enemy Novak Djokovic in the group, no doubt the match in the round robin phase, and hopes that Thiem and Berrettini will fight in their next matches.
But as a seasoned professional, Federer acknowledged that he must approach his matches as he has done during his illustrious career.
"It's a normal tournament from here on out … I must not lose anymore," he added. "It's been every week of the year for the last 20 years, so from that point of view there's nothing new there.
" Matteo, with his serve and what he can do, obviously every opponent is dangerous here. He obviously did not have the best match today against Novak. It's probably also the toughest way to start the finals, playing Novak indoors, since he rarely hiccups so early in tournaments.
"I have to recover, I have to make sure I play better than today, and hopefully I can win that match."