Roger Federer Interview - March 11Posted on March 12, 2007
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How much is it hurting you?
ROGER FEDERER: Excuse me?
Q. How much is it hurting you, the loss?
ROGER FEDERER: Normal as a normal loss, like I've had about 100 times on tour. So, I mean, I think that's normal to tennis. I have no problems. He played very well. I missed my chances, and I'll pay the price later on.
I think he played very well and I didn't think I was playing poorly at all. So it's okay.
Q. Was your ankle bothering you?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no problems.
Q. Your feet weren't bothering you at all? Then why the time-outs?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I just had to take the tape off. Both feet (indiscernible) sometimes. You have to do that.
Q. No blisters on the big toe?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, little bit.
Q. You had both ankles taped. Is that something you do for every match?
ROGER FEDERER: I do, yeah. That's nothing unusual. I tape up from ankles almost all the way up onto the toes. I've had -- many players do it, so it's not some crazy thing. The only problem was that sometimes it really starts to move the tape up front and the foot, and that was not sticking the way it's supposed to, so I just took it off. And the same time, I had problems with my toe, but it was nothing bad, so it was okay.
Q. You didn't seem to be impressed with going for the record, which is kind of admirable. Is it kind of nice in a way to have that pressure off, that you're human and that you don't have to chase a record and all the questions from the media?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I'd rather face it, to be honest, of course, you know. You think it's pressure. It's no pressure at all because I take it match by match. And you guys think it takes a win to break the record. I'm concerned about winning my first round match against a lucky loser. There you go. It just shows you how tough it is.
And today was just a grind for me from the start. I was struggling, but it was tough. First round match is always difficult, but I've had an incredible run, not losing in the first round for, I think, over two years. So I'm really happy about that. Sooner or later it had to happen, so it's okay. It's no problem.
Q. When you're as unaccustomed to losing as you are, you know, when do the alarm bells start going off? Do you always feel like you're going to come back or it's kind of an odd position for you to be in?
ROGER FEDERER: Many times in matches I win I have fear that I'm not going to turn it around or even I'm even, and I just feel this guy is playing probably better than me, and I need some kind of miracle to get out of it. And today was no different. Of course, if you're down a set and a break, you can start wondering if you're ever going to come back. But you doubt yourself and you just try, you know. But today wasn't the day I could come back for some reason.
Q. Was there anything that he specifically did today that took you by surprise?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean I played him here actually on this court a couple years ago, so I knew exactly what I was going to get. I haven't seen him play since he came back, you know. But right away I saw he played exactly the same way, which was kind of good, and I got into a good rhythm from the baseline. I really felt I missed all the big opportunities today, you know, to kind of come back, put the pressure on. I had set point, should have made that forehand, you know, and maybe things would have been different. Who knows? But it just didn't seem to go my way.
And he was playing really, really consistent, you know. He wasn't missing, and returning well, serving good, when he had to, you know, so it was tough.
Q. You've lost first sets before, but the second set you looked pretty flat, like you couldn't find anything out there. Just talk about that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, like I said, you know, I didn't really get into that second set at all, you know. I started okay, and, you know, after -- I mean, I hate taking time-outs, you know. It's just something I hate doing. Here it takes forever for the guy to come down, you know. By the time I got into the second set, you know, the whole thing was just dead, you know. And you're down a set. It's already not easy. You kind of try to get back up. It just wasn't meant to be.
Then I had to take another time-out. So it was just a lot of interruptions, you know. I mean, when you're up, it's no problem, but when you're down, it's kind of -- it really messes with your rhythm.
And even though it was easy to play later on, because the shadows were there, it was nice to play and not much wind, it was nice. But, yeah, like I said, it was just not right today.
Q. At what point in your career did you gain this so-called, what we call, like short-term memory of a champion? You stepped on the double court like nothing happened after this match.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I team up with a partner I like and face a few good guys, you know, I would like to play a good match. Especially shake it off after I lost in singles. It hasn't happened in a long time. It was really nice to get a standing ovation walking on double. People think I'm not going to show up for doubles or something, you know.
Robredo had the same problem. He lost playing doubles. It's something I had to face a lot of times in the beginning of my career, but it's kind of nice to get a big cheer off the court, and then another one when I walk back on the court for doubles.
So I feel good, you know. After winning doubles and doing an interview by losing the singles, it's okay for a change, you know.
Q. Why did you decide to play doubles in this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: I played here the last few years, and because, you know, you don't play every day in singles, and, you know, with the new rules maybe, a friend of mine, there's many reasons why I did. I also played doubles in Dubai already last week, so we won a round there. Yeah, I mean, it's kind of cool sometimes, you know.
Q. I realize you've been dominating from the back court now for a few years, but the second set are you thinking, "Maybe I should come in a little bit more," or was he just pushing you back too much and the grounds were too penetrating?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no. All he did was just keep the ball in play, you know, and moving me around. And, yeah, I mean, I was definitely thinking of coming in. When you're down a set and a break, you definitely start to think about what you can do differently, you know.
Yeah, I just didn't serve right at the right times. I couldn't really get a good groove going on my forehand really the way I wanted to. But, you know, he scrambled well. I've got to give him a lot of credit. I just, yeah, didn't do well in the second set at all.
Q. Can you talk to anything more about rhythm? Is it just a matter of a feel on your shots? Is it just the energy? How critical is it to matches?
ROGER FEDERER: You mean this match today or --
Q. Just in general, the rhythm of the match. Is it an essential factor?
ROGER FEDERER: How important they are?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, look, when you -- I've come back so many times, you know, and every time it seems when I come back, it's normal. When I don't come back, it's like something -- there's a problem, you know. It's not the way it is, you know. It's just a guy put me away when he had to, you know. He played a perfect match in the end, you know. He didn't give me anymore chances. He served well. He didn't give me any unforced errors, and I was just playing too poorly in the end to come back, you know.
So the right guy won today. That's just a fact, and really, of course, it's important. But I've won 50 percent of my matches over the last ten years, you know. I'm not feeling well, you know. It's just a thing the opponent tries to do to you, is actually try to break your rhythm. And Santoro and some guys are a master at that, so you're always going to play feeling a bit awkward, always, it's always going to happen.
Q. Can you recall making 30 errors on your forehand side? You said you were having trouble. There were about 30 errors on the forehand in that two sets.
ROGER FEDERER: Happens all the time. Especially, some guys have statistics, I don't know where they get the unforced errors from, you know. Some tournaments, like in Australia, you have 10 in a five set and you come to another tournament, you have 60. I don't understand the guys. It's definitely not the same guys doing the stats, that's for sure. In this tournament, this is probably a bit severe.
Q. Could a loss like this actually end up helping you in that you get a little bit of a break in maybe seeing your legs sort of, the push on the clay court season?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I'm a very positive thinker, and I think it's going to be good for me eventually this season, you know. I've had a very relaxed opening to the season and just playing the Australian Open and Dubai and having enough time to rest. So I definitely won't be worn out towards the end of the season, you know. That's a good thing.
And look over the last one and a half years, I've been in all the finals except Cincinnati and now here and maybe somewhere else, I don't remember. But it's always been finals. I've always been on the edge of having a break and, you know, practice and everything, matches. And it's always been a -- I was just pushing the limits all the time.
So something like this is actually maybe good for me, you know, just get away from it, have time to rest up again, and practice real hard before Miami. Hopefully win the early rounds over there.
Q. What did the other players say to you in the locker room when you came off, if there was anybody around?
ROGER FEDERER: No, they don't look at me when I walk in now too much (laughter).
Q. Suppose next time you're going to meet again him in a match, thinking now that he has the positive score, so to speak, 2 and 1 against you, is it going to be different for you in a match, or just like any other match?
ROGER FEDERER: No. It's a normal situation. I know I can lose to him. I know I can beat him. Yeah, I know it's going to be a tough match. I played him years ago in Toronto. It was really hot, and I was the favorite, too, ended up losing against him, and he ended up winning the tournament.
And then I played him here, you know, and I think if I would have played him in the third or fourth round, I would have beaten him, you know. But just not today in the first round, he was too tough.
Q. Does he have top-10 stuff again, could you see him getting back to the top 10?
ROGER FEDERER: I've got to see a bit more. He's been there, so I guess you always have to assume he can get back.
Q. Give me some thoughts when he was suspended for 15 months, whether he'd ever come back again? Are you kind of surprised he's been able to do what he's done?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I'm really -- I don't know how the whole process of how something like that happens. They always fight for it anyway, everybody that was tested positive, you know. That's, for me, just not understandable, you know. Everybody who gets caught always says, "I didn't do anything," so...
It's just not right, you know.
It depends on how long the suspension is. In the end, they always cut them short, you know. So I'm definitely not surprised to see him back, you know. I don't know what he's done in the off-season, you know, but he's playing like he was before. I'm not surprised at all. I think he can get back to the very top, you know. For him, what happened, you know, he must feel a bit awkward, but he's dealing well with it.
We'll see what's going to happen this tournament and the rest of the season for him.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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