By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer will not be competing in the U.S. Open men's final for the first time in seven years and he will not be watching it either.
"I won't watch," Federer told reporters after his 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5 semi-finals loss on Saturday to third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who will meet world number one Rafa Nadal of Spain for the championship.
"Look, I've been around tennis for weeks and weeks and weeks right now. Last thing I want to do is watch another tennis match where I'm not a part of," said Federer. "I will spend some time with my kids and take it easy, maybe go shopping."
Signs had pointed to a Federer-Nadal showdown in the U.S. Open final, with both players cruising through the draw.
The prospect was cause for excitement with Nadal aiming to complete a career grand slam and the Swiss master eager for a sixth U.S. crown after having his string of five straight snapped in last year's final.
Had Federer advanced, it would have been the first time two men's players would have faced each other in the finals of all four grand slam events.
Federer said he had not thought about facing Nadal at Flushing Meadows.
"I don't read too much press once the tournament starts," he said. "I can only try to imagine the excitement around the two of us maybe playing.
"I would have loved to play against him here. I mean, I did my hard yards the last six years making it to the finals, and he was unfortunately never there."
"That's obviously disappointing," said the Swiss, who held two match points against the man he had eliminated at the last three U.S. Opens.
Missing out a chance at Nadal in the final was also letdown.
"Now one point away from this happening, obviously it's a bit of disappointment. But just being there (in the final) and losing, that wouldn't have been nice either.
"Now we'll never know how it would have gone."
Second-seeded Federer said the 24-year-old Nadal having a chance to round out his grand slam resume of five French Opens, two Wimbledons and an Australian Open was "fantastic."
"It's great for tennis, and it's great for him at the young age he is to have that opportunity already. It's exciting for tennis that we're doing something very special in tennis at the same time."
Federer said he hoped to bounce back from his near-miss.
"It's a tough loss for me, but it's only going to fuel me with more motivation to practice hard and get back to grand slam finals," said Federer, who won this year's Australian Open but lost in the quarter-finals of the French and Wimbledon.
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Frank Pingue)