MASON, Ohio -- Before his third-round match against Bernard Tomic at the Western & Southern Open, Roger Federer was asked whether he was surprised that the 19-year-old Aussie -- who has already reached the Round of 16 at two Grand Slam tournaments -- has failed to live up to the hype since the Australian Open. In a word, "No."
"For me it's completely normal, actually, to a degree," Federer said. "People expect too much from young players at times. The problem is that the top guys all are so consistent, so whenever one guy loses one week of the year first or second round, people are like, 'Guy can't play tennis anymore.' When a youngster does that three or four times, you jump on top of him like you can't believe.
"That's where I am so impressed by Novak [Djokovic] and [Andy] Murray and Rafa [Nadal], how consistent they were at a young age already. Because I remember making the breakthrough and then not winning matches for six months again, making a great run for three months, but then going away for two months and then playing well for a month and not playing well for three weeks. It wasn't classic for me. So for me to see a youngster struggling a little bit is maybe not a bad thing, because you have to actually handle tough situations, tough moments, and they actually probably in the long run bring you further." Tomic, ranked No. 49, entered the Cincinnati tournament with seven losses in his last eight matches, but he has defeated Ryan Harrison and Brian Baker this week.