Roger Federer Interview US OpenPosted on September 8, 2007
An interview with: Roger Federer
Saturday, September 8, 2007
R. FEDERER/N. Davydenko
7‑5, 6‑1, 7‑5
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. How were conditions out there today? Was the wind affecting your play?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, the wind definitely played a factor today. It was much easier to hold serve from the one end, obviously serving with the wind. In the third set we still got broken many times on both sides, but it was tough, you know. We had to adjust our games, you know, maybe not chase the lines so much, play more safe. That was the reason for the kind of match today.
Q. What did Novak do in Montréal that he was able to beat you, and how do you think it will be different tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, he played great, I mean, from the baseline. I have to say he was very consistent. You know, I mean, he usually always is. But he played very effective as well on his forehand side. He just hit the ball really well. Obviously he was going to be confident. I knew that. And usually coming out of a match with Nadal where you hit many balls, he's obviously going to hit the ball well. What else? I mean, I had bad starts in the first and third set. I was down a break right away in the first game. I mean, I caught up with the break. I even served for the set in the first set, being up 40‑Love. That was kind of a tough one for me. In the third set, tiebreaker, like he did in the first set, too, he played great.
Q. Novak is a player who likes to joke around and do impersonations of the players. What do you think of his impersonation of you?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't see it. I didn't.
Q. He seems to be feeling pretty comfortable with where he is even though he really just came on the scene this year bigtime. Are you surprised with his rise so quickly?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he's been now playing the tour for one and a half years. I mean, the players know him. I've played him already five times, so it's not like it's totally new, you know, for all of us. But, yeah, I mean, he's done an incredible job, because I remember the first time I played him in Monaco. I beat him in three sets. Everybody was wondering, What do you think? I was like, Not crazy impressed. But he's had a great run and he's really improved his game. Yeah, I mean, he's done a great job the last six months or one year now.
Q. How is it playing a guy you beat all the time? Is there sometimes the feeling he will break apart anyway mentally?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, that's kind of what you hope for. Yeah, I mean, I do feel like when it comes to the crunch, 4‑All, 5‑All, 6‑All, that things are hopefully going to go my way because I've done it so many times against him. We've really had some tough matches. If you look at the score and wouldn't have seen the match you would think, Okay, straight sets. Roger probably was the better man and stuff. But if you've seen the match live you see what a struggle it was. These are usually the matches we play against each other. But, yeah, I do feel comfortable when I do play against him because of the great record I have against him.
Q. When the draw came out, the feeling was if not Federer/Nadal, then Federer/Djokovic. Is this the kind of match even you look forward to?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, he's still very young, you know, so to right away put him into the finals if Rafa wasn't going to be there, it's kind of a lot of expectations, you know, on a young guy like Novak. But he fought through the match against Stepanek, you know, and after that he looked much more comfortable, even though he had a bit of a struggle sometimes. I mean, it's a great effort. He's had a very solid year. By far the best one after myself and Rafa. I have to say I can only be impressed by his performances, you know, because at this young age I never did results like this. First Grand Slam final, obviously it's a big occasion for him.
Q. This will be your 10th Grand Slam final in a row. You're going to be going for your 12th win. Do these numbers come into play at all when you're on the court? Are they in the back of your mind?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I hope they do. We'll see how it goes really. I'm feeling well. You know, that's the main thing right now, right before the finals. Obviously the Saturday/Sunday thing is kind of tough on the players, you know. All of a sudden the rhythm changes entirely so instead of talking about a match you just played 45 minutes ago I have to start thinking already about the upcoming match against Djokovic tomorrow. I'm feeling great, you know. I know how to play him. I hope I can just do what I do best and hopefully win tomorrow.
Q. You've had some pretty amazing streaks in this sport. Where do you put your durability to play so many Grand Slams in a row?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I'm always very well‑prepared for the majors. I know what it takes. I don't have any hiccups early on in the slams, don't have any, let's say, stupid five‑setters, matches I could have won in three or four sets, I end up maybe scraping through in five or maybe even losing those matches. So I stayed away from those moments. In the end, when the second week comes around, I play my best. The points get tougher, like here. I played basically really good against Davydenko and against Roddick too.
Q. Just having missed none in such a long period of time.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm surprised myself, too, after all.
Q. Given the consistency of your results in slams and against top 5 players, what do you think people think about the difficulty you have to surmount just to do what you do?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I don't know. I mean, my record was phenomenal for a while against top‑10 players. I think I had an incredible streak going in 2004/2005. I was winning against like 25 top 10ers in a row. You can't control that. Usually those are the toughest guys to play. I feel that now because I lose sometimes a bit more now. I mean, these guys, you know, when it comes to the crunch they can play great tennis. It's just sometimes, you know, the No. 1 ranking goes just to who is more consistent over an entire season. But then again you're facing the match on the day performance. This is where it's tough. But, I mean, the way I've been able to do it over and over again, I always usually say it's good scheduling. Try to stay away from injuries. When I do feel I have a problem, I rest it, and only come back when I'm a hundred percent.
Q. Do you think people have an appropriate appreciation of the difficulty there is to do what you're doing?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I hope they do because, I mean, the tour is tough. You know, it's from January till November, travelling all around the globe. It's probably the most global sport we have out there, so it's tough on our mind and body, you know. For this reason, yeah, I am very proud of my success.
Q. There's a growing list of people that you have beaten repeatedly in slam finals, semifinals, quarterfinals, some of whom have never beaten you. As great as that must feel for you, obviously not on the court, but do you ever have a feeling what it must be like to be on the other end of being part of the Federer era?
ROGER FEDERER: Sometimes (laughter).
Q. What is that feeling?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I lost against many players early on in my career, like one, two, three, four times. I couldn't figure out how to play them. Just eventually it gets really hard, you know, because you try to do something different every single time. But at the same time, you can't go away from your own strengths, you know. If that strength runs into the other guy's strength, the other guy is just better on the day. It's just really hard, you know, I guess mentally at one stage. Yeah, I mean, I've had many tough losses in my career, too, that made me want to just retire, but I hung in there. Now that I'm on the other side, you know, the winning side, I don't think about it ‑ I try not to think about it too much.
Q. How do you prepare for your opponents? Is it systematically perhaps looking at DVDs, notes? Is it all up in your head? It looks like in this tournament your first sets have been your feeling‑out period. Can you discuss what you do in those first sets, too?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I have sometimes tournaments where that happens. I have other tournaments where I start really strong. It's got a lot to do with the opponents, too, usually. It's all in the mind for me. You tell me a name, and I have so many things going through my head about this just one player. Basically I don't need to sit down and talk about an opponent for an hour. Takes me basically 15 seconds. I know everything I need to know and I'm ready to go. I've kind of changed my approach a little bit about how I prepare mentally for an opponent. Because back in the day, maybe four, five, ten years ago I would be so specific what my opponents would do best and not so good. Now I know right away, so it's changed quite a bit.
Q. How often does it happen, if it happens, that you wake up in the morning and you say, Oh, today, shoot, I have to play tennis? Also does it happen more often when you have to play a tournament or just when you have to practice and you prefer to go to the city?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it happened two days ago. Went to bed at 4:30 after the Roddick match. I said, You know what, I'm not in the mood to practice, so I stayed home. I stayed in the city. I only came back yesterday to hit. Tried to avoid everything, rather take it easy. Had a good practice yesterday. That was one of those moments, you know, where I was just walking around town, you know, just like so tired, just in the mood not to do anything. Yeah, I mean, sometimes it happens during majors because they're really long. At one stage all of a sudden you wake up in the morning, you're like, Oh, God, I don't feel good, but I have a five‑setter to play. Tough sometimes. But once you get to the courts, you warm up, take your shower, get kinda ready to go, it's much easier. But I do have, yeah, quite a few days where just like I'm exhausted, yeah.
Q. Do you remember your first Grand Slam final and what must Novak going through? Do you remember what it felt like, what he might be feeling?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, obviously this is a big occasion, playing also the No. 1 in the world. I didn't do that. I played against Philippoussis, who was kind of coming back from his injury, you know. With me, it was at Wimbledon. Wimbledon was my No. 1 of all time. I always dreamt of winning that one. So for me it was like, yeah, it was a lot of pressure. I remember being very nervous going into the match, hoping to win. Because I was the favorite, too, in that match. That was the tough part, too. I think it's maybe easier maybe if you're not the favorite for your first final.
Q. If you win tomorrow, it's going to be history winning the fourth time. Is that a special feeling for that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it would be nice. But honestly, I mean, I'm just concentrated to play a good match tomorrow. If it happens, we can talk about it. But let's not speculate that.
Q. Are there any areas where Djokovic matches up well with you or even has an edge?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, he's tough off the baseline. He's got a good serve. Yeah, I mean, he's got a good forehand, backhand. Similar to Davydenko, just with a better serve, it seems to me. I've had some matches where I played fantastic against him. Had a tough one in Montréal. We've had two best‑of‑five matches, once in Davis Cup, once at the Australian Open. I was able to beat him both times in straight sets. But, you know, these guys improve quickly. I felt that in Montréal. Hopefully I can beat him again this time around.
Q. Coming back to the answer before when you said you don't need special preparation or something tactical for a match like tomorrow. Does that mean you're going to the match like improvising or do you have a certain plan?
ROGER FEDERER: Pretty much improvising. I mean, I know how I would like to play, what the chances are, how the match is going to turn out, how it's going to be played. But I can then adjust on the moment itself, which is great for me.
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