Roger Federer Interview - US Open, Sept 5Posted on September 6, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You're probably not accustomed to playing at 11:00 in the morning, especially on Labor Day weekend. Did that affect the first set, the start time?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. We always practice at 11:00. Normally it's a time players really like to practice. Sure, for a match it's rather on the earlier side, but I'd rather play 11:00 than 10:00 p.m., to be quite honest.
But anything is fine. I think as a tennis player you have to be flexible, because you never know if we have rain or whatever it is, we're accustomed to being quite open when it comes down to scheduling.
No, I don't think the first set was down to that at all. I was up 4 2, 40 Love, so my start was actually okay.
Q. You've beaten an elite player in Lleyton many times in a row now. I suppose that gives you a little extra satisfaction.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, of course.
Q. What makes it such a good matchup for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. Maybe, you know, I have too much variation for him. I guess it's really the details, you know, because this match was close. It could have gone either way.
I thought he played a good match today, and I think the level was higher than what we had in Cincinnati where we both struggled and it was very gusty winds over there. I mean, especially I thought he was making a lot of errors for his playing style.
Today was also again windy, which made it quite hard, you know. But I thought because he had the good start he obviously maybe just believed much more in today's match, you know, than in maybe other ones he's played against me.
The way I came through, I was very happy, because I knew that being down a set against Lleyton is always going to be a difficult situation for me to be in. Make one more mistake and I'm in the fifth set maybe, or I go down completely. So I was relieved coming through.
Q. Jesse Witten, who ranks 276 and got to the third round, was saying the nicest thing about being here was the free fresh laundry. Did you ever go through things like that when you were a young player and trying to get things and you didn't have much?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. Oh, yeah, we all go through the same things, you know. I mean, if you can make the break, you know, it's maybe free lunch or whatever it is, you know. Instead of just having three practice balls you get six. You're like it's a big deal. It's exciting, you know.
It's nice being part of the elite players. And especially at Grand Slams, you know, still sometimes you have to go very far to practice, you know, all the way off campus sometimes. It's nice when all of a sudden you can practice on the front courts. You don't have to walk anymore so far.
Q. You had that incredible breakthrough win at Madrid, and then the finally winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and then topping it off with Cincinnati. Incredible run of professional success. On the other hand, you have this life changing experience that's becoming a father of twins. Can you possibly compare the emotions of all this incredible professional success on the one hand and the personal feelings of becoming a father for the first time?
ROGER FEDERER: How it's compared to each other?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, I don't really compare them. I don't want to compare them because they're different. You know, the experience of, you know, having babies and Mirka going through the whole thing, it's so different. You cannot compare it to anything.
There's no, how do you say, physical work that I'm doing, you know. In tennis, that's the way it is, but not when I'm seeing it sort of happen, you know. So it's very different.
I mean, of course the joy I get is I guess to a degree similar, but there again, it's something that's just phenomenal all of a sudden having two babies instead of one. (laughter.)
I didn't expect that. I mean, I knew since Australia, but, sure, it's the best thing in the world. But I don't know how you can compare those two. They're just too different.
Q. What do you think was the key for you being able to grind out a win today against a quality opponent, playing tough, when maybe your game wasn't firing on all cylinders?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean one of those matches where, you know, being down a set against a great player like Lleyton, you just go point by point. There's no more, like, Okay, let's not try to waste any time out there and get through the match.
You know, this is like, All right, I hope I can still turn this around, because I knew the danger. You try to pick the right plays and, you know, adjust, you know, your serve if you have to or the footwork or your tactics from the baseline.
Because actually I started well, and all of a sudden I let it slip. That was unfortunate, but I mean, I think he made me go down a set. I think he played well. He had much better rhythm from the baseline today and he was aggressive, you know, I thought, which worked well for him today.
But I just had to believe, you know, that I could still turn this around. And with a great streak I have against him, I knew that if I get back into the match then I could get back on a roll, because I've had it so many times against him.
But it was never a guarantee. It was still nice I never really got on a roll, but I felt like I was creeping back into the match and that then made me play better.
Q. You're two steps away from another major semifinal. Of all of your many accomplishments, how would you describe the importance to you of that record streak of semifinals at the Majors?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, that's one of the streaks I enjoy. I mean, it's the best being part of the last four, you know, I mean, so many consecutive times. That also gives you then opportunities to do well and maybe win the tournament.
I'm not really aiming for semis right now. I'm aiming to win the next round. That's going to be tough enough with Blake or Robredo.
Q. If it is James Blake, how would you describe James as a person and James as a tennis player?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think he's very flashy on the court. He's an incredible shot maker, one of the best we have in the game. Off the court he's a nice guy. Nice to hang out with. Yeah, I'm going to watch it tonight and see what happens.
Q. Is there a special feeling about two of you, Lleyton and you, he's on his way to the Hall of Fame, as you are, too, two champions on the same court?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think we respect each other in a big way. We played the first time when we were 16 years old in Zurich, actually at the World Youth Cup in Switzerland for some junior thing. I saved match point to win, and here we are like way you know, 11 years later and played so many times on tour, even played doubles together at Wimbledon. So I mean, we have a lot of respect for each other.
You know, I hope he's going to stay around for a few more years, you know, hang in there with his body not being 100% sometimes, you feel. It's unfortunate, but I hope he's going to stick around. And, yeah, I hope we can play a few more times.
Q. Did you have a chance to see Rafa last night, and do you think he's back in shape?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, looks like he's playing well. He's through to the third round. I thought it was an exciting match yesterday with Kiefer. I only saw a little bit at the end. Seemed like he had a good finish.
Q. The process of choosing two balls to serve, some players think it's a big deal. Everybody kind of examines them and takes an extra one. Some players say it's the fluff, some believe it's a ritual or superstition. What's your philosophy when you're hitting balls?
ROGER FEDERER: Just trying to pick the fastest ball for the first serve. I don't always do it. Depends when the balls get used and the rallies are long, obviously some balls really fluff up. Depends on which ones you had the long rallies with. This is then when you start picking and choosing.
Q. I think it was on the first set point, maybe third set. You went into the net and he hit a lob over you. Looked like you thought to yourself, I should know better than that. This guy is a good lobber. Did you have that thought go through your mind?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I was just laughing, because he makes it every single time but you can't cover it. Then I stop running knowing that I'm not gonna get it because it's got topspin on, so I feel like an idiot.
It's okay, you know. At least I felt like I made him hit a good shot, so it was acceptable to lose that point.
Q. Is he far and away the best lobber?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would put him up there, because not many guys attempt it. So many guys are good overhead. It's the volleys usually that are the weakest of the players, you don't attempt it a lot.
But he makes very, very consistently, always very good.
Q. I'm wondering, parents having one child is daunting enough, but having twins is amazingly daunting. Here you have broken the Grand Slam record. People look back and say, Wow, having a child, that's the greatest thing in life. I'm wondering if that eclipses this recent title you've won of making 15 titles? And No. 2, who gets up in the middle of the night to feed the twins? Do you ever take part of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Mirka is better at doing that than I am. (laughter.)
No, I mean we have a good setup. Mirka is great. She works extremely hard. She's tired during the day but she has also some help, has a little bit of life, and also can come and watch me play and get outside a little bit. That's important.
Q. Have you been losing sleep?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, I'm losing sleep, but that's part of it. I make sure on my off day maybe I do get a night where I can sleep in longer or take an afternoon nap. It's working out okay.
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