Tommy haas and angelique kerber had to let the unexpected defeats sink in first. "I am very disappointed. It will take a few days to digest this," said haas after his third-round defeat at the US open against the russian mikhail yuzhni.
Two hours earlier, the best german tennis player had been sitting in the same chair in interview room number two and said almost word for word after her eighth-final loss to carla suarez navarro: "it’s tough at the moment. The de-interchange is crude. I’m sure it will take me a few days to analyze this."
The fact that florian mayer also had no chance against defending champion and wimbledon champion andy murray – as expected – rounded off the dismal picture for german tennis on sunday.
The expectations and hopes, especially for the two german top players, were high. Kerber reached the semifinals here two years ago and then went on to her fabulous rise to number five in the world rankings. This year, after a rather mixed preparation, she seemed to be back in top form just in time for the grand slam spectacle at flushing meadows.
Record-holder haas also came up trumps at his 16. US open starts off as in her youth. He had beaten the number 21 seed yuzhni in three sets in the eighth finals of the french open. In the round of the best 16 the generation comrade lleyton hewitt had been waiting – a doable lot. A quarterfinal in the world’s biggest tennis stadium against number one novak djokovic seemed possible for the 35-year-old haas.
World number nine kerber had faced defending champion serena williams at arthur ashe stadium. But they couldn’t get beyond the subjunctive and were eager to spread optimism after the humiliations.
"I will continue to work on myself. I’m on a good path and of course I still have room for improvement," said kerber. At the end of 2011, she shot towards the top of the world rankings, had nothing to lose in 2012 and everything to gain – and was suddenly the hunted in 2013. A role that she did not cope with well and that was more of a burden than a blessing for her. "For me it was a learning year," said the north german.
Tommy haas is no longer young enough to spend a year learning the ropes. At the 2013 US open, the hamburg native was the oldest man in the field and, after the elimination of 42-year-old japanese kimiko date-krumm, even the oldest professional ever. And of course the questions were asked again and the doubts were raised as to whether it could have been his last appearance in the queens district.
"Who knows if it was my last match at the US open," haas philosophized during his final tournament analysis in the catacombs of the arthur ashe arena. This sentence has been heard from him time and again in the past years. But the father of the family will not resign so quickly. It is reported that he has already planned numerous tournament appearances for the coming year, and an appearance in the davis cup is also still on the agenda as an option.
At the end of the day, the old champion of german tennis sounded cheerful and hopeful when he said: "on the whole, this year wasn’t too bad."When asked whether the world championship for the best eight professionals of the season was still a realistic goal, haas replied: "maybe there’s still something in it. This must remain the goal for the next few weeks, for this I will give everything."