Roger Federer Interview - ATP Finals London, Nov 24Posted on November 25, 2009
Roger Federer Interview
BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS
November 24, 2009
R. FEDERER/A. Murray
3-6, 6-3, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How much does finishing No. 1 mean to you, considering you weren't No. 1 at the end of last year?
ROGER FEDERER: Obviously, that was one of my big goals for this season. And it's one of the greatest performances I think I've achieved, you know. Seeing also what happened, you know, off the court: getting married, having twin girls, reaching all four major finals, you know. Playing so well at the most important moments, it's been the key this year, and staying healthy.
Especially after having a rough 2008, coming back this year and being able to dominate and play at the top when the depth in tennis is so, so great at the moment. I think it's a wonderful achievement. Of course, it's official. It's a wonderful feeling.
Q. Today Andy didn't feel that he played well. What did you think of the quality of the match today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think we've always had up-and-down matches. So I think we both always come out thinking, Hmm, I could have done better. I just think it's our styles of play, that when they collide, you always feel like you can play better.
Maybe we have a playing style that makes the other player not play, you know, the best tennis. When we collide, that's sometimes kind of the feeling you get walking away. I've walked away many times feeling like I could have done so much better. Today it's his turn. So it's unfortunate for him.
Q. Do you think Del Potro can jeopardize your qualification like he did in the US Open final?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know how much he has to say really because I think the other guys are playing ahead of me on Thursday, so maybe that will already be decided. But he's definitely in for a shot maybe. I don't know. It could be a make-or-break match for us to get through. If that's the case, I'll give it all I have and try to beat him this time.
Last time we played, it was a fantastic match in New York. And it seems like he's playing well, whereas in the beginning I thought he might have some issues maybe with his wrist or with his abdominal strain. But he seems fine now. So he looks like he's getting better as the tournament goes on.
Q. You've been nominated for an Athlete of the Decade award along with Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. Who do you consider to be the greatest athlete of the last decade in any sport? How would you make a case for yourself to win the award?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, it's hard to talk about myself. I mean, of course I follow a lot of sports. There's been many great athletes, you know, through the last 10 years. I think obviously the ones who have been at the top for the longest, like Valentino Rossi or Tiger or myself, who have done amazing things at the highest of levels, you know.
I think our, how do you say, sport is tough. We play all year long, from January to November. We travel around the world. Yeah, I mean, it's very physical, too, very taxing. And I think with the knock-out system we have in tennis, you know, it's very hard to always keep on winning, because on a bad day, you're out of the tournament. It's just not an easy thing to do.
But then again, so many other athletes did great things. So it's just nice, you know, being part of the greatest athletes of the this decade. We'll see if I win. It would be nice anyway.
Q. The fact you won this match, having lost the first set against Murray, is that a particularly encouraging aspect for you or don't you think it matters that much?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think it matters that much. I was always surprised how sort of the wheels came out a few times I played him in the third set. He just said the same thing, you know, like the wheels came off for Andy today. It just happens sometimes. These best-of-three set matches are tough, especially when the best players play each other.
Whoever has the momentum, he can swing freely. The other guy has to be careful. That's why the beginning of sets are crucial.
Of course, I had my doubts I was going to come through after having lost so many times in three sets against him. It feels good, but more than that, I think this is more the night to celebrate No. 1 than celebrate the victory over Andy really.
Q. At what time do you like to play your next match, in the evening or in the beginning of the day?
ROGER FEDERER: I heard I'm playing night. I'm not sure about that.
Q. What do you prefer to play?
ROGER FEDERER: As long as I'm still playing...
Q. You play at night.
ROGER FEDERER: I have no choice. I play at night.
I have no preference really. It doesn't matter to me. It's already decided.
Q. Were you at all surprised how even-handed the crowd were in their support for both players tonight? It didn't sound like a particularly partisan crowd in Murray's favor.
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, yeah, what did I expect? I don't know. I guess I think I was more focused on how Andy would play than how the crowd would react. I figured like it was always going to be a fair crowd, you know, because they respect all the achievements I've had here in this country. I've always been very respectful and very, you know, fair with them as well, I think. As good as I could anyway.
Today was obviously a special night for tennis, you know, in this country, I think playing Andy for the first time here. He's a great champion. I knew he was also going to play very fair and straight. That's the way it was played.
I think the crowd followed that. They enjoyed it. At the end obviously it was nice looking back that when I came into the stadium, sort of the ovation I got. When I left the court, I was quite surprised to hear how happy they were that I won or that I was here and playing so well. It's nice to see and nice to hear, because I play around the world and I don't get many chances to play back in Switzerland.
So for him, this is obviously massive. He's got a few big tournaments here in this country. I wish we had more, too, in Switzerland. But we're just a bit smaller than you guys. So it's nice to get support away from home.
Q. Do you think in any way the round robin system gives you an unfair advantage on Thursday in that you and Juan Martin playing second would know exactly what you need to do to get through?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, look, I don't think the players think too much, Are we through or not. So many times we have had the situation that the player needed something and the other thing happened. Matches are always played full on. I remember matches like, was it Costa against Moya in Shanghai 2002, they could have knocked out Hewitt if Costa would have won. Moya ended up winning in three. Hewitt came through, ended up winning the tournament. This stuff just doesn't happen.
That's why, no matter if you play first or second, you play as good as you can, and then you see if you're through or not. The only advantage or disadvantage is now I guess I'll know if I'm through or not before my match.
I've had to deal with it where five minutes before my match I wasn't sure if I was going to be through in Shanghai, I think, two years ago when I had to play Roddick. It depended on the outcome of the Nalbandian-Davydenko match. That was uncomfortable to be in.
But this time around I'll probably have enough time to get ready and mentally prepare for the tough match with Del Potro. That's going to be my focus.
Q. Could you explain your strategy to choose to receive serve to start the match.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, pretty simple: remember what happened against Verdasco? Didn't win a point. So I just felt maybe I win one, maybe by luck. Today, I just figured I do it differently. Against top guys, sometimes you have to surprise them. I guess he likes to also sometimes choose return. So I just figured it's the feeling of the day. It was not the wrong thing, even though I lost the first set in the end.
Q. Since you almost qualified for the semifinals, what do you think in Group B, who is playing his best tennis right now, and who would pose the greatest threat to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Of the Nadal group?
ROGER FEDERER: Very even. I mean, all groups are very even. Look, I think we've only had one straight-set match so far, I think the Soderling-Nadal match. Other than that, it's always gone three sets and been very hard-fought.
I think this was also the prospect we all envisioned I think. Groups are very even. At the moment at the top we know it's not easy to dominate. That's why, yeah, I think I wouldn't know who to favor at this stage. I'll know much more tomorrow. It's obvious.
But I'll follow it, you know, very closely because I think it's a very exciting World Tour Finals this year.
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