Roger Federer Interview - Australian Open, Jan 19Posted on January 19, 2010
An interview with: ROGER FEDERER
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Close call, or based on past experience, you figured you would get to him eventually?
ROGER FEDERER: No, tough match, you know, like I knew from the start. It was not gonna be an easy one. He's got incredible acceleration on his shots, obviously, especially his forehand. He's very physical and intense, so I was happy with the start I got today.
I was up a break and actually feeling well, and then there was a quick swing around and he was able to get the first set. That was tough, but I reacted, and I think I played a very good match from start to finish really.
A few hiccups, but I think those are more due to his good play and because of also playing against the wind. So it was a good first round for me anyway.
Q. Are you very happy to play the best of five?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I just think in best of five you have more the mental strength that comes into it, physical strength. It's not so much up to chance.
Best‑of‑three sets is always over in a hurry. I would have been at one set all and a break down, and, you know, close from being out. Like this, you still know you have some way to go.
He get tired in the fourth set a little bit. If you can take advantage of it, the tougher player comes through.
It's also mindset going into a match like this, you know. I don't think if it was the best‑of‑three‑set match you think that way. You know you're gonna be out there for a while. I like that approach.
Q. After such a tough first three sets, how do you explain 6‑Love in the fourth?
ROGER FEDERER: It might be just that one step slower than he was in the beginning, you know. Instead of hitting the forehand close to the line, it clips the tape. It's that one or two shots, and then you have to start taking more chances and then you get frustrated. Then it's over quickly, you know.
To break anyway isn't easy, but you have to put in the hard work. He did it for a very long time. I got off to a good start. I think then he got a bit disappointed.
Important for me is to stay focused and, you know, put him away. It's not an easy thing to do. It looks routine, but it's a lot of hard work in there.
Q. Would you say that you saved more the set points or that he missed a little bit of those set points he had?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm sure he could have played better, you know. But it was a very crucial, you know, moment in the match. There was a lot of tension. I could have won the set twice before; he could have won the set twice before.
So it was just one of those moments where anything can happen, you know. You need a bit of luck. I definitely got that in the third set today.
Q. What's your relationship with Hawk‑Eye these days? I know you don't like it, but have you accepted it more?
ROGER FEDERER: I got no chance other than to accept it. You know, we always hope we don't have to use it much, you know, because the linespeople are so good. That's how it was today. I was happy with the linespeople's performance.
Q. How are you finding the challenge of being a dad and the world No. 1 player?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm happy there's those two challenges. Before it was only the No. 1 in the world challenge. For a tennis player, that is obviously the greatest thing. I feel really good about it.
It's a lot of fun coming back and spending time with them. Now they can also start spending some time at the court sometimes, which was not something we did last year. So it becomes also a bit more fun also for Mirka's day‑to‑day life.
I think I'm handling it well. I'm trying to. It's not the easiest thing, but we're trying.
Q. Nikolay Davydenko said everyone in the draw is scared of him. Are you scared of him?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, respect the way he deserves. Yeah, sure.
Q. Not scared?
ROGER FEDERER: "Scared" is a bad word. I don't like that word. Ask a boxer if he's scared of the other guy. I don't think he's going to say yes.
Q. Do you fear him?
ROGER FEDERER: I respect him like I do over a hundred other players in the draw.
Q. Can you say something about the wind in the stadiums in Grand Slams? Which differences between this year when it's windy on the two different sides of the court?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think most windy is maybe New York usually. It's just the strongest winds. But it's pretty ‑‑ it's not so swirly, you know. I think maybe at the French Open and Wimbledon you get sometimes more the swirly winds.
Here, normally it's easiest to play because it's the most covered center court we have on a Grand Slam level. So usually it's pretty good. There was a slight breeze, a comfortable one today. Still, it makes a huge affect on how you play from one side and the other side.
Yeah, you always got to adjust. It's not easy. But I quite like playing in the wind. I think it's more challenging than just playing the opponent himself.
Q. Can you think about last year where you were at coming into the Australian Open with Nadal at the top of his game and this year? How do you feel different about your game and your attitude now as compared to last year at this stage of the Australian Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, I mean, I came off a tough ‑‑ what was it? Shanghai Masters, I think, not making it to the semis and having a back injury. So it was important to see how I'm feeling and how deep in the draw I can go and how is the back gonna hold up.
Focus is completely on my own game and not really who's playing well. I know if my body is there and my game is there, I can beat anybody. I'm sure Rafa was on an incredible run, but he had issues himself. He also pulled out of Paris and Shanghai, didn't he, that year? So he had issues himself. We couldn't quite predict how incredibly well he was gonna play.
You only see that after the first week is over, who's really in good shape and stuff. So the way I'm feeling now, I'm very happy. I can really concentrate on the way I want to play and not on my body or anything.
So that's a good start already. I'm through in the second round. It's not very deep yet, but at least I got some information, and I feel like I'm playing really well. Hope I can keep it up and go deep.
Q. Was the back bothering you during the Australian Open last year?
ROGER FEDERER: Actually I don't remember. I think I was just worried that it was gonna come back, and so maybe I was playing with a little bit of doubt, you know.
But I still thought I played a great Australian Open last year, even though I ended up losing in five in the final. I think that final match we played against each other was one of the best we've ever played. I still walked away feeling good about my game.
Q. Most people go to the office; sometimes they wouldn't like to go. Does it happen to you, too? Or, I mean, does it happen often that you get bored and you said, Okay, today I wouldn't like to play or practice? Does it happen often or never?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, what's you're ‑‑ what do you think my office is, the practice court or the center court?
Q. I think the office is the practice court.
ROGER FEDERER: The practice court. Yeah, I do sometimes go to the office then thinking, Why do we have to do that many hours today, or is it really necessary? Sure, I also ask myself the questions.
If it's the center court you're talking about, no problems whatsoever to get into it and motivated. The practices are, sure, tough.
But I've gotten really, in the last years, actually quite a lot of joy out of practicing tennis or fitness, because I really see the benefit of doing the tough, long hours.
I will get them afterwards on center court and they will pay off. Like, for instance, maybe in a match like today which was very physical. When I was younger, a teenager...
Q. You see the benefit but you don't enjoy?
ROGER FEDERER: I do like it, because I know I can enjoy it even more out on center court. I don't want to lose any matches because of fitness or lack of practice. So that's not gonna happen.
Q. Santoro said today he had the most respect for you out of the whole career. Do you have any words for him?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, it's nice to hear. We're good friends and we get along well together. He enjoyed playing against me. Same for me. If I could pick a guy to play against, I would like to play against him. Every day I would pick him. He would try something different and I would try something different.
We would almost allow each other to do that; whereas with other players you get tangled up in the same rallies. He's not the power player and he uses a lot touch. So obviously I have a lot of respect for everything he's done in our game.