Roger Federer Interview - French Open, May 28Posted on May 28, 2010
Q. A lot of players get a lot of questions about rain delays or the French Open moving out of Paris the last couple of days, and they actually said that they don't think that much, or they think it's very simple. It's, What do you eat every day on practice? On warming up? I get a sore leg, and how am I going to recover from it and that sort of stuff. So what is on your mind usually on a daily basis? Like the day before when we had a lot of rain delays, do you go here, and say, I'm going to get a lot of questions about rain delay roof, or do you just come here and do your job and let us do all the thinking?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, what I've found out the more rain delays there are, the more the press starts looking for things that are not there sometimes. That can be tricky sometimes, you know.
Other than that, you know, you just go after your job and enjoy the downtime. Yesterday I didn't practice at all, so that was nice. I spent some time with the family. You're happy there's a bit of a change. Because if it's always the same rhythm every day, it also gets a bit boring.
When it rains like this, I don't mind those days, either. They're just slow and nice and relaxing. No traveling for a change, no cars, no flights, no nothing. Just sitting still for a change.
Q. Three matches in, can you say anything different than any of the other years? How do you feel?
ROGER FEDERER: I feel fine, you know. I mean, from how do you say? From a ranking standpoint, I haven't played top guys yet. But, you know, dangerous players, you know, who are skillful on this surface and a guy who just won five matches here in Paris, so you can never underestimate those kind of players.
With my own form I'm very happy. I'm ready to mix up my game playing aggressive. I'm not sure today if I had to face break points. I'm getting very few breaks, and that's obviously always a good thing looking ahead.
Q. You made some comments which were critical or
ROGER FEDERER: Careful.
Q. Oh, I'm always careful. We have time. Don't worry. But about clay court tennis, could you take the...
ROGER FEDERER: What did I say?
Q. You said, On clay you don't need a volley or a serve, you just need legs, an incredible forehand...
ROGER FEDERER: Only? Only means in an extreme way. Very good legs and very good forehand. But you take it the way you want.
Q. Right. Well, I just want to ask you, in terms of the three prime surfaces, clay, hard, and grass, when you talk about athleticism, how would you rank the three surfaces? Can you compare the three different surfaces in terms of what they demand of an athlete?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess on grass it's good to have a big serve, you know. And then the way you back it up, you definitely got to be able to return a bit and be dangerous off that.
You know, I think being good off second serves is a good thing on grass, because this is sometimes where it's gonna be played out.
Anticipation comes, I guess, with grass court tennis. You have to read and react very quickly to shots that you don't normally see.
Hardcourt, I think, is a bit of a combination between clay and hardcourt, you know. If you want to shorten points, you can do that quite easily; whereas on clay it's very hard to shorten points.
You get caught up in many long rallies, and then if you do shorten the points, you're taking all the chances and the opponent's only happy just to keeping the ball in play, you know. You see that happening quite often, and then a guy blows out because he just misses too much.
Then on clay it's also not usually enough with the best players to keep the ball in play. You have to go after the shots and keep it aggressive. With the best clay court players, they're always very aggressive. That obviously helps also on hardcourts when slower balls come along. All the good clay court players are able to put the easy balls away.
So it's a combination, you know. But I think the things have really slowed down in the last years, especially on the hardcourts. Indoors, as well. And that has definitely helped, I think, the clay court specialists or more of the baseliners, let's put it that way.
Q. You said they're all demanding, but if you had to pick one as "the" most demanding for an athlete...
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I guess hardcourts, at the end of the day, is tough on the body. Just the stopping and day in, day out on hardcourts, I think that's a tough thing to go through for, what is it, seven months of the year?
If you don't go back on clay after Wimbledon or after I don't know if there's more after the US Open, but, yeah, I think that's tough. Because clay you kind of glide around and it's better on your body. Grass is soft. So I would pick hardcourt as the toughest surface physically.
Q. I don't know whether you've been asked, but have you seen the Nike commercial for the World Cup which you are sort of premier in that, just like Kobe Bryant?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm a Ping Pong player. Normally I'm a tennis player, but we did Ping Pong.
Q. Was it fun shooting it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was good fun. It was unusual, you know. It was different. They were in Switzerland a few months ago, and obviously it's nice being in a World Cup commercial. It's obviously the biggest thing for Nike this year, soccer being such a huge sport.
And doing something fun with Wayne Rooney like that was...
Q. Did you shoot it together?
ROGER FEDERER: Didn't shoot it together, but we're seen together. It's extreme what we can do these days. It was fun. I think it turned out great.
Q. World Cup, the World Cup this summer would overshadow all the other sports, including Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it always is a big story, and there is sometimes a few Sundays during the year where you just have everything happening during the same time. Could be golf, tennis, Formula 1, soccer, all comes, you know, together.
We're used to that. What's nice about tennis is obviously here there is something written and said about this sport for over three weeks almost. We have a great sport in a way. But the World Cup, I mean, deserving, will get a lot of attention.
Q. The clay here in Paris this week, it's been hot and then it was raining obviously and damp. How has the consistency been for you? I know you've played in both conditions. What do you think about the conditions here this year compared to previous years and the job that the grounds crew has done?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think the clay courts are fantastic here. I mean, obviously there are the occasional bad bounces, but that's because clay sort of builds up like a little castle almost sometimes. So if you hit that, obviously the ball is always gonna bounce strangely.
But I think they do a great job also in between keeping the courts good if it rains overnight. Clay is something that lives, you know, with the conditions. I think we're very happy playing on them. I think it's always been a fair surface. I never recall coming here and it being overly fast or overly slow.
I think it's kind of always been a good surface.
Q. There was talk at the beginning of the week that there was more clay this year than in previous years.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't feel that, no. It was fine.
Q. Nadal won three tournaments. Now you are together in Roland Garros. You won the last year. Do you think that you're able to win also this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I do. (laughter.)
You want me to explain, or are you happy? You want me to explain? I won last year, so I think I can do it again. (laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.
Q. This is going to be like fiction. If Wawrinka wins, you're going against him. I think you advised Wawrinka. Has it always been the case, or would you say that now he can manage for himself?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, he must, and he does it well, I think. This is the objective, you see. I'm not his coach, you know, but at the beginning it's like giving tips and advice. I saw him growing, and he had many problems with the indoors before on the hard or quick surfaces.
I saw how he developed on these surfaces. It's always very interesting to see how he can continue and make progress. He's no longer asking for tips, which is a good sign. It's the same with Marco, as well, or Allegro and all these guys I know. When I give hundreds of tips to them, sometimes it's difficult for them to do what I ask them to do tactically speaking.
Sometimes I think it's better they, with their coaches, manage this by themselves. I can just give advice from time to time in terms of management or how to manage a career, or sometimes I can give them tips about one player because I've never been defeated by this one player.
You know, it's a natural type of evolution for them and for me. I'm happy to see that today he is fully serene on court. It was not always the case.
Q. There was a bit of an argument on the Internet saying that you often play on center court. Today you played on Lenglen. Is it new? Are you the one who asks because you're the best player in the world to play on center court? Does it make any difference for you, technically speaking?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't ask to play on center court. I'd rather play on center court, of course. But it's the tournament. They decide. Last year it was a major surprise because I played my seven matches on center court, but I think it's a bit of luck, as well, because until the third round it was against Paul Henri Mathieu.
Sometimes in this case, once or twice, you play on Lenglen, but this is it. All of a sudden, rather than playing on Lenglen on the third round and fourth round, this time I played against top players, as well, and at the end of the day I was never playing on Lenglen, no.
In Australia and also at the US Open I'm never on the No. 1 court. I'm always on center court, because there are night sessions, as well. That's been the case over the past years, and in Wimbledon sometimes it's No. 1, as well. But otherwise it's center court.
Q. I have a strange question to ask. Do you choose your balls? If not, do you understand the players who do this?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, from time to time I do. I take three balls and I compare them. I want to take the two best out of the three, the ones that are less worn out.
This is going to give me an advantage when I serve with these balls, because if it's too worn out, no. And I want to keep the same types of balls. I don't want to have one that's brand new and the other ones that are too old.
I understand the players who do this. Sometimes it's exaggerated. If you want to have four or five balls, that's too much. Three balls is sufficient, I think.
Q. I'd like to know if, you know, you played sometimes against Fognini for practice, and have you seen anything of his match against Monfils? What do you think about this? Now he's going to play against Wawrinka.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I knew that. I didn't know who he was playing against.
Q. What do you think about him? What's your vision about Fognini in general?
ROGER FEDERER: I think I practiced with him in Australia when he was 17. He was a junior, and for me, it was the end of my tournament. He was a junior. I practiced against him, and then I played once with him in Montreal, I think. It was an easy match. Well, maybe he was impressed.
It was 6 1, 6 1, 50 minutes, a very good match for me. But he has talent. When I see him, when he plays, I think he hits really well. He can accelerate. He can speed up the ball, which really shows he has potential. You can't do it every day, every point, every set. That's the question I wonder about these players.
This is the question they should ask themselves. Of course I watched a bit of the match with Monfils. It was incredible to see how late they played. I played semifinals against Rafa once here in 2004 or '05, rather, at night, and then the Wimbledon finals, it was almost nighttime and it's really difficult to play when it's dark.
So with the umpire who came, it probably was difficult for the two players, so I was happy the decision was not made, or nobody won the match in the evening, rather.
Q. What about a possible round of 16 against Stan? Do you think you would enjoy it, or on the contrary, you don't want to defeat him because otherwise he can't continue with the tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm happy with Stan if he plays well. I'm happy for me, as well. Sometimes this is the way it is. If I have to face him I'll be playing against him.
It's the draw. Well, first he has to play his match, and then it's not that bad. I've never played against him during a Grand Slam, so that's a bit of a difference. He's really fit, and we have the same physical trainer. We know what we do. We've practiced quite often together.
We know it's going to be a tough match, so I'm very happy about this possible challenge, because he's a great player. I'll have to play great tennis, also.