Roger Federer Interview - French Open, May 24Posted on May 24, 2010
Q. You seem to be having a lot of fun at the office today. Can you just talk us through that game?
ROGER FEDERER: Which one?
Q. Sorry, the match. You seemed to be having a lot of fun out there?
ROGER FEDERER: The match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the beginning obviously is always important coming back as defending champion, and trying to get off to sort of a good start. I think I had a breakpoint in the first game, in the first return game. Wasn't able to, you know, to take advantage of that, but I served well. I never really got a chance on my serve. So I was pretty relaxed.
Finally got a chance again at 5 4, so it was a good first set for me, anyway, without any hiccups on my own serve. After that things were a bit easier. He had to push it a bit more. I could relax a bit more, and then the scoreline changed and towards the end I played some great dropshots. So it was like a perfect match to get off the French Open campaign, really.
Q. In the final last year you met Robin Soderling. Now you may be facing him in the quarterfinal. What do you think we can expect from him this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven't seen his draw, to be honest. Don't know who the seeds are in his section, but look, I mean, I think he's done well overall if you think back one year ago. It was a surprise that he made the finals and went so far, and from then on he comes back one year later and he's ranked No. 5.
ROGER FEDERER: 7 in the world? He's really beaten some good players on the way, played consistent, you know, and took advantage of his better seeding. I think he's had a very good year so far. I think he has a lot of pressure to defend as many as points as possible. I think he could have a good year again at the French Open, even though I haven't seen the draw. But of course I do hope I get to the quarters myself, but it seems like he got off to a good start yesterday, I think.
Q. What do you think he needs to improve to get one more level more?
ROGER FEDERER: I think he's doing the right things, so the question is can he beat basically three top 10 players in a row to win a Grand Slam? That's the big question in a best of five set match.
Q. If a young player came to see you and asked you what is the right motivation I have to have to become a champion, what would you answer? And second, have you ever lacked motivation at any time in your career?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think every player goes through a time when it's hard, because you expect so much. When you're young there is a lot of pressure that surrounds you by wanting to improve and show people wrong and prove to them that you're the guy, and so when you get you lose too many matches that you think you should have won. It's very frustrating in the beginning. So then you lose motivation a little bit.
When you're very young you'd rather do something else than go play tennis sometimes, because maybe you've done it already too much. I went through those moments, as well.
So I think some realize it already at 15 that from 15 on every practice will be perfect, some from 12. Me, it was later. I only was a good hitting partner for maybe 19 or 20 years old, I think. When I came on tour I had some shocking practices. Still it was even other great top players, you know, like, I don't know, Henman or Bjorkman, and if I wouldn't be in the mood, I would be just, like, You know what? Today just isn't my day. Who cares?
But then you realize it's a lack of respect and you do give 100% every single time because the other guy also wants to practice and also wants to improve.
Then all of a sudden, to me, it was normal to practice 100% every single time. So, I mean, I would think the last sort of eight years have definitely been very good ones, whereas before it's been on and off, I think.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.
Q. I had the impression that you were moving around nicely today on the court. Is it also your feeling? How would you explain this? Have you worked a lot with your foot practice over the past two weeks?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't have much time, but as I was saying before, the more I play on clay, the more natural it is to me. And I think it was a bit slippery today, because it was quite warm out there. The surface is the sand is very light, and then you tend to slide. You had to get used to this, but then frankly I didn't have many problems with my footwork.
I was moving around okay at the beginning, and that's very important not to miss balls to start with and to be lagging behind and then to play with more pressure on you, but it didn't happen today. So it was a perfect match from the outset.
Q. There is a point at the end of the third set, a defensive point which was incredible, and it was from the baseline you dropped a shot. Is it very important to win such a point? When did you decide to have this dropshot from the baseline?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yes, of course. Well, to start with, I had to stay in the game, in the match, because I had several very difficult slice balls. The first one was not really okay. It was floating, to some extent. The other ones, the other two were really okay. They were perfect slices that were really deep to try and neutralize Luczak. And therefore I have to be more aggressive. I'll play forehand but it was too much in the center of the court.
My legs were a bit too heavy, because that was an extreme effort to stay in the match. I thought, I'm going to try and win more quickly. And I was three meters behind the line, and I wanted to play this dropshot. I took the decision at the very last minute, and it worked well.
He couldn't run any longer for the ball, and I was really surprised. I was really behind the line, and it helped me. But it was pleasant, nice, really.
Q. Now, for a while, people have said that Roland Garros could be relocated outside of Paris. What do you think about this at the end of your career to play in Versailles, Gonesse, or Marne La Vallée close to Euro Disney?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yes, that's a question that people keep on asking during the Grand Slam, that is, people can no longer buy the tickets. The people, the media, ask more. We want to have more, and it's not easy for the tournament, but we have to do our best, and do the best for the tournament.
So if we move elsewhere, does it make sense? I don't know. People will decide. There is a lot of money at stake, and there's a new site, and that means with the new site it means, how can I say? What about the soul of Roland Garros? This is what we might miss after.
So let's think twice before we act. Now, Melbourne, you know, is considering a major change for the years to come. Wimbledon I think will never change. They still have leeway with the golf course. At the US Open they did something new, as well. But I think it was 10 years ago. And it was the old stadium 10 years ago, if I'm not mistaken.
In any case, everybody's always upgraded with the new Lenglen court, with the new Chatrier court. It's changed here at Roland Garros. It's smaller here, the site is smaller. So the question is more important here than anywhere else.
Q. Today, what do you think about the final jewel against Rafael Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, we've talked about this already a little. I don't know if I need to answer the same question all the time, but I hope I'll be playing the finals. If it's him, it's perfect. Otherwise, you know, what a pity for him; what a pity for me if I don't reach this stage, the finals. We'll see. It's the first round, not the semifinals, unfortunately. But we'll see.
Q. You probably have South African roots. That's your mother. But the World Football Cup will take place in South Africa soon. Do you have any ideas about South Africa and the football players? Because you're half concerned.
ROGER FEDERER: I was really happy that the venue is going to be South Africa, because they won what's the name? They won what's the name? The bid or something. Okay. They were short listed. They won. And then Switzerland was qualified, as well.
So it's a good thing. You know, at the time we were not sure they would be qualified. We lost against Luxembourg. But anyway, I know the country quite well. People are so friendly.
The landscapes are also probably it's the most beautiful country in the world almost. They have so much to offer. I hope it's good in terms of the future of this country.
As you know, this country has gone through difficult moments in the past, so I'm really happy to see the World Cup there, football World Cup.
Q. It's in Africa for the first time. What do you think about this? Has it got a special meaning for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Of course it has. Because my foundation is very active throughout the continent, and of course I'm more interested in this continent than anybody else, probably, the African continent.