Roger Federer Interview - Australian Open, Jan 23Posted on January 23, 2010
An interview with: ROGER FEDERER
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Could you assess your game today? Tell us what you thought of it.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought it was dominated from my side with my serve, which allowed me then to take chance on the return. Pretty straightforward match, really. I don't remember him having any breakpoints.
But, yeah, it was tough to play. He was playing tough from the baseline and making it hard for myself. I'm happy with the match and was able to serve it out, so it was good.
Q. I think you made 39 unforced errors. I know you've got high standards. Is that a little bit disappointing?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I don't care about stats. That's not me.
Q. Are you happy with the way the tournament's going now?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I mean, I'm happy I survived a scare against Andreev. After that, I was able to come through comfortably in the next two rounds into week two. I feel like I'm obviously fresh and ready to take on the bigger names.
So far it's been great. I'm happy the way I'm feeling. Obviously you'll elevate your game gradually as the opponents get harder. So I'm happy the way I feel.
Q. Do you sense that there is an even greater strength in depth at the top of the game? Coming into this event, you could have made a case for probably 12 players having a great shot at winning this.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think we have guys now ‑‑ as they get older as well, they're gonna win bigger tournaments and have more experience.
Before, the group was Del Potro, Murray, Djokovic, and all those guys. They were just coming out of their teens. You can't expect them right away to win slams. Now they're all in a good age where normally you either make your move or, you know, you definitely have a chance.
So that's what we're looking at at the moment. A few guys have already won slams. That's not an easy thing to do, because, I mean, Rafa and myself are still around and making it extremely hard for guys to take home any slams. Because over five sets in two weeks, I think we know best how it works.
But, um, I think it's an interesting draw again. You know, I think there's no easy ways to a final or to a victory here. So you definitely gotta probably beat some of the best players in the world.
Q. Does that drive you, the fact that the youngsters on the block are nipping at your heels nowadays?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I think you can always find ways to motivate yourself. I obviously loved the time when I was dominating and winning 10 to 12 tournaments a year and not losing to any top‑10 player. I mean, those were fantastic times for me, of course.
But then again, it was also nice going through the time with the incredible rivalry I had with Rafa. Before that, being able to play against guys like Sampras and Agassi and so forth and being the up‑and‑coming guy. So I think you take it as it is and try to make the best out of it. That's the way I looked at it.
I think today it's a completely different situation. I'm still at the top of the rankings and I like to be challenged. That's what makes me better.
Q. How do you feel in comparison to the last time you won a Grand Slam as far as form?
ROGER FEDERER: My form is fine. I think you have to assess it as the tournament goes on. You can feel great today and play a horror in two days' time. I don't want to say I'm playing the best tennis of my life, because I haven't had to so far.
Depends how you're being pushed and how the opponent is playing. I'll go match by match.
Q. We saw Nadal fighting pretty hard last night and getting through. Everyone talks about his mental strength. Do you think you get enough credit for your mental strength and toughness?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think from the experts' sides I do. I don't know how much the regular media or fans talk about it. But I think you definitely need it to stay at the top of the rankings for so long.
Victories don't come easy. If you look at today's match ‑ I don't know how many watched it today ‑‑ but it looks straightforward. If you're on the other side of the planet you think, okay, no problems whatsoever.
But it was a tough match. I had to battle through, and there was tough moments and frustrating moments out there. They don't come easy, those victories. You have to be mentally strong to be at the top no matter ‑‑ regardless of the player you are.
With him, it's from point one to the last point it's always the same intensity. He never drops it. I think that's what is different if you look at him and other players.
Q. It's the first time we've had the top three players on the council. You've been in that role for a while now. Do you feel like you guys are having any affect on the way the tour's run?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we try to, you know, be involved, of course, as much as we can. You know, of course more importantly is that we play good tennis. We want to leave, I think, the game better off.
For this, we would like to be involved obviously in the decision‑making to some degree. You know, of course we do trust Adam Helfant and the board.
But I think it's better for everyone, to be quite honest, that we are involved. Because too many times as it happened that the decisions have been taken and we almost only heard about it through the press in the past.
That's not the way I think it should be run. I'm happy that Rafa and Novak have a big interest. I also the other guys, if we would ask them, would be interested to be on the board. But I think they trust what we do at the moment, so it's going pretty smoothly.
Q. What do you think are the top pressing issues?
ROGER FEDERER: At the moment?
Q. Yeah, for the tour.
ROGER FEDERER: I think it would be nice to have a main sponsor for the ATP. I think that's maybe No. 1. I always think figuring out, you know, sort of tennis mostly on TV as much as possible, especially in Europe where the markets are pretty difficult to get to sometimes.
Because one's French speaking, one's German, one's English, one's Italian. You have to go to each individual market which kind of makes it hard. I think that would be nice, to get as much tennis on TV as possible.
Other than that, just shortening of the schedule. I don't know if that's a really big priority. I mean, it's always something we'll talk about for the next hundred years. But we'll see if it's possible to change or not.
It's something we're always debating. And as the top guys, I think we'll come together and find a solution for that. The longer the season is the more weeks you have off during the season, so it always works.
Q. To follow up with that question, they're talking about a World Cup competition which could be replacing the Davis Cup over two years. What do you think about that? We read some strange stories, like the players can be substituted during the match. So if it comes out from you straight as you said it, or you read it from the press, did you read anything about it?
ROGER FEDERER: I heard. I mean, I was not in the press the week prior to the Australian Open, because I didn't to have speak to you guys, you know, because I wasn't playing in Kooyong.
I just read a lot as well. I don't know quite enough about the concept, so I don't know. We'll see how it goes. Focus is on the tournament, not on the World Cup or Davis Cup.
We know we have issues, but we'll see. Probably I'll look more into it after the Australian Open.
Q. You spoke on court after the match about the fact that your father worked here for a few months, and there was a chance for a while that the family could have emigrated to Australia. Could you elaborate on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't remember quite ‑‑ I was maybe 12, 14 years old. I remember actually my parents having a debate, are we moving away from Switzerland to come live over here.
At the end, they just said, Look, we have all our friends over here. And even though it's lucrative and nice to go to Australia, they love the country, they also asked us kids. And we were like, whatever the parents decide. What are we gonna decide here?
So at the end they decided to stay in Switzerland. So, yeah, it was interesting time, you know, but it was quickly decided on. I think we even went ‑‑ I mean, went on vacation here maybe before I joined the National Tennis Center at 14.
We went on a big vacation here through Melbourne and Brisbane and Cairns and everything to maybe get a better idea of the country. Beautiful vacation, but at the end we decided to stay in Switzerland.
Q. What was your father doing out here? And secondly, Australia Day is coming up, and traditionally any new citizens who want to change nationalities choose that day to do it. You've still got time.
ROGER FEDERER: I would probably move first to South Africa than Australia, because I have that passport, too. No, my father was working in the paper industry. I don't know how you call it in English. Ask him yourself. He's in the corridor sometimes.