Roger Federer Interview - Wimbledon, June 20Posted 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?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I feel, you know, good. I feel like I'm playing very well at the moment. On the grass, it didn't take me much time to get used to the conditions on grass. I mean, never really does.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, you can't compare what happened at the French with this. You know, we were in the middle of a tournament during Paris, you know, when he lost. You know, I've never won Paris before, so it's a completely different situation.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, maybe a touch, you know. But at the same time, I know when to take a break and when not to. You know, when to push for another tournament. This one was just hard.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really, no. It's possible, yeah.
Q. Do you consider Andy Murray to be your principal threat now that Rafa is out?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I always said Andy I think is a wonderful grass court player, and he showed a little bit last year even though he was not very close with Gasquet in that one match where he fought very brave.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Time will tell really. I mean, seems like he handled it well last year. Again, he handled it well in Queen's, so seems like it's going to be okay for him.
Q. You and Tiger Woods both have 14 major titles. What are the other similarities that you see between the two of you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, success, I guess. I mean, I don't know what else to say. I mean, like we've been at the top for a very long time. We've been when you talk about golf, you talk about Tiger; when you talk about tennis, you talk about me.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, the focus is on the first round and the first point, you know. But trying to regain my Wimbledon crown, I guess, so that stands over trying to beat, you know, Pete's record right now.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's a little bit similar to Paris. We played the last four years against each other in Paris. We played the last three years against each other here at Wimbledon. So we definitely won't see the same finals again.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, on Wednesday maybe, just briefly.
Q. Did you chat at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Chat? 10 second chat maybe (smiling). He congratulated me for Paris. It was good to see him. I asked him how his knee was. He was like, it's okay. So I kind of knew it wasn't great, because he's very honest to me. So I knew that something could be coming up.
Q. Can you compare trying to tie an all time record versus trying to break an all time record? Is there any different pressure?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know if it's got that much to do with it. Let's say in Paris, it was just trying to win my first Paris, you know. Then obviously if it happens at the same time, you know, now that I was able to tie sort of let's say Agassi's or Laver's, those four different majors, or the 14 of Sampras, it was maybe very fitting that it all happened at once, you know.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I played him here actually a few years ago on Court 1. I beat him in straight sets. Of course, he's a different player to a few years ago. Even last year I think he lost quite early to my friend Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets maybe, as well.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: Just that he's very good, otherwise not a whole lot.
Q. Nothing particular about the way he plays?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, he's a very gifted player, you know. He has wonderful feel. He's a great tactician. I always said that, you know. And he's finally proved it because it took him some time, you know. That was the disappointing part, I thought, that it took him longer than I expected, you know. So I was wrong with my prediction, because I expected him to do better a few years ago.
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...
ROGER FEDERER: Big if, yes.
Q. Do you think the head to head advantage he's got over you will be a factor?
ROGER FEDERER: Speculation. I don't really want to answer that. Really there's no point to talk about it. Sorry. Love to talk about it, but not there yet.
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?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's actually gonna I'm not gonna say it makes the atmosphere better, but might be more intimate because, you know, the sound will stay within the stadium. You're not looking for rain. Looking forward to experience it.
Q. You'd love to play?
ROGER FEDERER: I'd love to play, yeah, sure, indoors. I've played in Halle, you know, in Germany, indoor grass sort of because they've also got the sliding roof, and it worked very well. They even had to once close it during the finals. We stayed on court, they shut the roof, and we continued on. Then the big rain came.
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.