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Roger Federer Interview - Wimbledon, June 20
Posted on June 20, 2009
Q. Can I ask you where you were when you heard the news about Rafa last night, what your immediate reaction was and what your reaction is now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was here. I heard he was gonna have a press conference at 7:00 p.m. around 5:00 or so. You know, I didn't know if he was just going to announce that he was going to be playing or not playing. I guess that was the question.
So I guess I was, you know, slightly prepared that he wouldn't play, so then it doesn't come as such a big surprise. So it's obviously very disappointing for the tournament, and also for myself.
Q. Are you emotionally ready for Wimbledon now after the massive win in the French Open less than two weeks ago?
But it was good to take a week off, you know, get away from it all and enjoy the time at home and recover. I feel like I'm ready to go here.
Q. Do you feel a weight of expectation that's come back onto you? Did you feel it when Nadal lost at the French, and do you feel it now that he's pulled out here? Do you feel expectations have gone back onto your shoulders, perhaps?
I've already beaten, you know, Rafa here twice in finals, so I know I can, you know, beat him here. I just think it's very disappointing that he can't play.
But I don't feel like I have extra pressure now having to win the tournament or trying to. I mean, anyway, there's a lot of weight off my shoulders since Paris.
So I'm anyway entering tournaments, I guess, a little bit more relaxed these days.
Q. The fact that you didn't play a tournaments two years ago between the French and here, does that give you more assurance about how you'll be this year?
You know, I was mentally drained because I felt like I had to play like four finals at the end of Paris because of the pressure. You know, there's such a relief and happiness once it was all over that for me it was almost impossible to change it all around again and start, you know, a tournament from scratch again like two days after.
So, I mean, I always know that I'm gonna be in good shape, because in practice you can't simulate matches as well in a way. You know, you can practice even harder, and that's what I'm trying to do this week. I've been practicing really well. The weather has been good as well, and I feel like I'm ready to go.
Now obviously the results will only show. I'm definitely missing those big pressure moments of having to face breakpoints and all these kind of things. But you get similar feelings in practice sometimes. So I feel like I'm playing well enough to do very well here.
Q. Does it surprise you that Bjorn, all five years, he didn't play a tournament between the French Open and Wimbledon?
Q. Do you consider Andy Murray to be your principal threat now that Rafa is out?
But, no, you know, I think with the success he's had on hard courts, you know, the last let's say especially last year where he's been very, very solid and very, very good. I always knew that Andy was going to be, you know, one of the toughest ones to beat on grass next to Rafa and Djokovic, and I think even like Del Potros, Tsongas, Gonzálezs, and now even Soderling.
There are so many guys around who are dangerous and up and coming still. Maybe it's hard for them to win the tournament, but on any given day they can create a huge upset. Then you have the usual suspects: Roddick I think is going to be so difficult to beat again because he's playing better. And other players, so it's being to be an interesting championship, I think.
Q. In your experience, the huge pressure of being a Briton at Wimbledon, do you think that will help him or cramp his style?
Q. You and Tiger Woods both have 14 major titles. What are the other similarities that you see between the two of you?
So it's something we have, you know, something similar there. Our mindset, our approach. You know, we're very driven. We try to not only just play well, but we try to dominate, you know, if we can. There is obviously many similarities in this regard.
Q. To what degree is the majors record on your mind going into this tournament, and how do you hope it will affect you, if at all?
But I guess once I come down to the semifinals or finals, hopefully, you know, in like 10, 12 days, you know, then hopefully that's also gonna start creeping into my mind.
But right now, just trying to regain my Wimbledon crown. It would be a dream come true, of course.
Q. Could I ask you in which way is Rafael Nadal's absence for you disappointing?
So that's disappointing for me, of course, because I'd love to play him. He's my main rival. We've had some wonderful matches over the years, and especially the one here last year was the one that obviously stands out.
So that we can't potentially maybe repeat that, uhm, is obviously sad. But it gives me it just shows me how lucky I've been, you know, that I haven't been injured over all those years, you know, that I've been able to keep it up.
Even though I was No. 1, the one people were going after, I was there, I was not injured very often, and I was able to keep it up. It just shows it goes so quick.
So it's unfortunate. I'm sad for him, because it must have been a very difficult decision to make.
Q. Did you see him at all during the week here?
Q. Did you chat at all?
Q. Can you compare trying to tie an all time record versus trying to break an all time record? Is there any different pressure?
But, you know, I didn't particularly enter the French trying to tie Pete's record again. I was just trying to win my first Roland Garros, you know. It's very a different approach. I think when you're down lower, you know, you have eight, nine majors maybe and you're trying to get up there, this is when you're maybe forcing it more. You're trying to say, All right, I need to get a few to pick it up there.
Since I been very close, I knew I had kind of some time on my side. I knew if things fell into place that I was gonna win more majors, you know. So same thing here. I don't feel any pressure having to beat Pete's record right now this week, but I know that things are looking good for me.
If I win Paris, there's obviously a very good chance I can also win Wimbledon without, you know, underestimating any of the opponents, because they're all playing very well, as well. They want to win the tournament here, as well.
Q. One player who pushed you really hard at the French was Juan Martin Del Potro. How do you see his game translating to the grass? Perhaps any danger with his movement or anything like that?
So I think with confidence, you know, that can help in a big way. He's improved his serve a lot, which is obviously an important key on grass. And that's why I see him also having a run here on this type of surface.
Sure, he doesn't have the experience. That could work both ways. So I think the beginning is important for him, you know, getting through the first week, because this is where the grass is maybe probably the most difficult for him to move on.
Q. You're known as a very sporting role model. In the matches you've lost to Andy Murray, it seems you've been a little bit irritated, I don't know, by his style, or maybe it was just to lose the matches. Is there anything about his game or his style that irritates you?
Q. Nothing particular about the way he plays?
But, you know, everything is coming together for him now and he's been rock solid for, you know, over a year now, almost two years now. So, uhm, he's there where he belongs, absolutely.
Q. Do you think, if you and Andy did reach the final, a big if...
Q. Do you think the head to head advantage he's got over you will be a factor?
Q. What sort of impact do you think, if it's used, the roof will make on Centre Court? How will it change the atmosphere there?
Q. You'd love to play?
The atmosphere, you know, remained great. Even got a bit more, you know, intense, the whole thing. I'm sure it's gonna be really, really nice.
I went to see Centre Court the other day. You know, it didn't lose anything of the whole history part. It still remains, you know, the best court in the world. I'm excited to going out there on Monday.