Federer: It's not that bad
Melbourne - Roger Federer insisted his dismal record against Rafael Nadal did not play on his mind on Thursday after he crashed out of the Australian Open semi-finals at the hands of his long-time nemesis.
The Swiss maestro holds a record 16 Grand Slam titles but the Spanish world No 2 has a hold over him on the biggest stage, winning eight of their 10 clashes in majors.
It was the same old story on Thursday as Nadal, chasing his 11th slam, battled back from a set down to grind down his rival and set up a final against either top seed Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray.
Federer, 30, denied his record against Nadal played on his mind when he went out on court, saying he felt the Spaniard raised his game in their meetings.
"It is what it is, you know. At the end I care about my titles, if I'm happy or not as a person," he said.
"Head-to-heads for me, I mean, are not the most important. If I beat Andre (Agassi) 10 times in a row or Lleyton (Hewitt) many times in a row, at the end of the day I don't care.
"I remember the matches on that given day, that I played well against them or not, and I don't remember the head-to-head that much."
Federer has not beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2007, with his only other victory over the Spaniard coming at the All England Club the previous year. He has never come from behind to beat Nadal at a major.
"We have had good matches over the years. I enjoy playing him. The crowd really gets into it, which is nice. We have a lot of respect for each other, which is good, too, I think," Federer said.
"We also play well against each other. I always think he plays a bit better against me than against other players, but that's good for him."
The Swiss came into the semi-final full of confidence after sailing through five rounds at Melbourne Park without dropping a set, but he cracked under pressure from Nadal, who fell to his knees in celebration after the win.
"He's played me that many times on clay, so maybe he always draws something out of those matches," said the Swiss, who now slips to 18-9 overall against Nadal.
"He's also got a winning record against me which maybe gives him extra confidence, I don't know. Yeah, I think he has a clear plan and he follows that one very well."
But 30-year-old Federer, looking downbeat but measured, said he hoped to have many more chances at the Australian Open title, which he has won four times.
"I haven't lost in five months or something, you know. It's not that bad," he said. "Don't feel too sorry for me."