Roger Federer Interview - June 28Posted on June 29, 2007
June 28, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Roger Federer. Questions.
Q. Are you ready for the long haul here in the sense it's going to be one of those Wimbledons over the next few days on and off, the disruption?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know the weather forecast, to be honest, for the next day or so. I think obviously the important match that comes now is tomorrow's match against Safin. Hopefully we get it through. Then you have a weekend to rest again.
It's been on and off, you know, these last few days. I'm used to it. I had it in Paris. Now I have it here again. I've had it here in the past. For me it's not a big change. I just hope I can keep my good level of play for tomorrow.
Q. How do you define or view "excellence"?
ROGER FEDERER: Good playing with great results.
Q. How close have you come to playing the perfect fill-in-the-blanks game, set, match?
ROGER FEDERER: I've had some very, very good matches over the years, especially on big occasions. I recall the Masters finals against Blake, for instance. That was for me an unbelievable match, too, I had. Or, for instance, the semifinals I had against Roddick in Australia. I've had some fantastic matches like this.
If you can bring out the best in you, of course you need an opponent for that as well who plays into your maybe strengths or weaknesses at the right time, and you can come up with those shots, it's the best feeling.
Q. I don't know if you're aware of this but there's a church in Wimbledon village that has put up a billboard that said, "God made Roger Federer." I wondered if you considered that good free advertising?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess it's nice, you know. I didn't see it. Maybe now I'll go have a look around, see if I find it, if it's that big.
Q. You were just speaking about perfection. Tennis is a fabulous game. If you could improve it, how would you do that?
ROGER FEDERER: I would like to come to the net much more often. That would be my ideal style of play. Serve and volley maybe a hundred percent of the first serves and once in a while on the second serve just to keep mixing it up.
Like this, you'd have so many -- maybe more, you know, like points sometimes you can't control but you react to them because at the net you'll always have a lot of passing shots, volley winners. Sometimes that's really exciting.
I wish I could play much more this way. If I would, I don't think I would win that many matches. That's why I prefer to stay back.
Q. My question was actually on the sport of tennis, on how you would improve the sport.
ROGER FEDERER: The entire sport? I'm not the CEO here. You have to speak to them.
Q. Are you religious?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah. I'm Catholic.
Q. Are you going out to the church to have a look?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know about that. We'll see.
Q. Have you been in contact with Tiger Woods recently? Have you had the chance to discuss his fatherhood?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit of contact, yeah. Anyway, he doesn't sleep much, so I don't think it's much of a problem for him. Seems like he's enjoying it. We haven't spoken that much about it.
Q. What has been the context of the conversation? Has he shared anything at all about how his life has changed?
ROGER FEDERER: No, we didn't speak much about it. I wouldn't tell you, so...
Q. Is that quick enough for you out there today? Is there any awkwardness at all? Obviously you had quite a sizable lead when you stopped yesterday, but coming back out in the middle, resuming a match.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it was an important point coming back at 30-All. That was basically the point of today's match: hitting that forehand winner to go up 40-30. From then on, you know, I'm 3-Love, things kind of seeming under control.
You know, if I wouldn't make maybe that point, the whole match might turn out different today. But I was in control right away and I felt good out there today. He was struggling a little bit with his serve. I took advantage of that. I was solid from the baseline.
It was done quickly like I was hoping, but I was ready to go five sets in case. So, of course, I'm happy with the result of today.
Q. Do you subscribe to the theory or stereotype that certain regions or certain countries produce certain types of players: Topspin forehands from Spain, or flatter strokes from Czechoslovakia, maybe Switzerland, a blend of cultures and languages, they're more versatile. What do you think about that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it definitely depends what you grew up on. If you grew up in, say, Russia, where it's often maybe cold, so you have to play on hard court, on faster courts, you cannot really work on a huge topspin because the ball comes through the court too quick, so you start blocking the ball back more. Obviously, you start hitting more flat. Maybe that's for the entire eastern, you know, countries, they have that.
Then, of course, if you go more into the south, you know, you have much more the clay-courters. They have more time, so they can rip the ball more. Then again, they'll have more problems on the faster courts.
Yeah, and I think the Germans and Swiss and English, maybe a little bit less. But the French, you know, we grew up on fast winter courts, the clay courts in the summer. We have a bit of both.
Then obviously depends on what the coach ever told you. But the Americans, usually they have only hard courts. That's why they're very good on that surface and grass instead of on the clay.
Q. Do you go any deeper than that, like the psyche of where you come from?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, for me it's not much of a problem because I grew up on both. For me it's actually pretty good. You can definitely pretty quickly tell on what kind of surface the person grew up on.
This probably all is going to be his favorite surface because he considers himself the strongest on that surface.
Q. Djokovic the other day said he was surprised how slow Centre Court was playing. Can you assess Centre Court versus Court No. 1? What adjustments are you making from the French Open to Wimbledon regarding the string tension? And do you have a cold? You sound a little bit different.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I do sound different. I have a bit of a throat thing going on, but not much.
The string tension is the same to the French Open.
Q. How much?
ROGER FEDERER: What is it, 21 kilos.
The Centre Court, to me also it doesn't feel very, very quick. I mean, of course, he was playing Starace in the first match. He doesn't come into the net very often. He likes to roll the ball in.
Of course, it's always going to feel slower when you play a person like this instead of if you play a guy like Max Mirnyi, say.
To me also the conditions feel very slow. Court 1 or Centre Court feel the same. That's pretty good. To me it plays the same. I know how Centre Court feels. It feels the same for the last few years now.
Q. A lot of commentators picked up in the buildup to this that you dropped Halle as a warmup tournament. Now that you've got a bit of perspective after four days here, has it changed the way you've come into this tournament? Does it feel different or are you back into the swing of things?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, you get back into the swing of things once you win a round or two. You feel like whatever happened before, it doesn't really matter any more because now you're into the tournament. You warmed up, played matches, had your press conferences, your treatments. You feel like you're totally in the zone.
Beforehand there's a lot of talk going on if the decision was right or wrong. I felt in the first match that my timing was off sometimes, but that was much better I thought against Del Potro, and also my movement was better. For this reason I feel very confident for the next match.
Q. What do you expect from Marat?
ROGER FEDERER: I expect a tough match. I played him in Halle last year in the finals. I had a difficult three-setter against him. You know, he's obviously a player who can always upset anybody on any day. I hope he's not going to have one of those crazy good days against me.
But I think I can pretty much control also how things are being played on grass. Hopefully I can use my variety against him.
Q. A lot of players seem to be doing more modeling, the men taking more fashion, pride in their fashion. Have you noticed that? Obviously with your white outfit, what is your take on all of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, I think it's important to look good on the court. I think we could have better outfits on tour in general. I had the idea last year of the jacket. Of course, this year we followed it up with an entire outfit because the idea came kind of short before Wimbledon so I didn't have much time to create something. But the jacket still created kind of a nice buzz.
This year I enjoy wearing the entire outfit again. Yeah, I see that players are more aware now of the details, that the headband matches with the shorts, so forth. I always thought that was important, you know, that the whole entire outfit matches together.
Yeah, many companies had that problem before, you know, because sometimes shorts are being done somewhere else, in another factory than the shirt. You would have black and white shorts but a colorful top which maybe wouldn't make much sense.
Now I think we're doing much better over the last couple years. I think the future's looking also better for men's tennis in terms of tennis.
Q. Are you aware of the stories there have been a lot of items stolen from the locker rooms? Are you aware or concerned about it?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, I heard at the French Open some stuff got stolen in the locker room, even we have a lock on the locker. Here we don't. I'm down in the locker room where all the seeds are. I would be surprised if anybody starts stealing there because you have guys hanging around the locker room making sure it stays clean.
I think it's silly to steal something out of somebody's locker in the tennis world. But it happens. Here we don't have locks on the locker. I always make sure I have all my things with me usually, so it doesn't happen to me.
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