Roger Federer Interview - Wimbledon, June 21Posted on June 21, 2010
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, a few times (smiling). It's normal. He played well. Was it in the third I was down Love‑40 in that one game? I'm not sure. That was the moment I felt was the toughest because if I wouldn't have come out of that game, I don't think I would have broken the next one. I had more belief I was going to break him in the fourth.
So it was a tough match, you know. He played really well and I struggled early on, but came through, which is most important.
Q. Why did you have more belief the second time?
ROGER FEDERER: I just felt I started to hit the ball better. Was an awkward break in the first game of the fourth. I should have never been broken there. But I started to feel my backhand was, you know, starting to be there.
I started to pick his serve much better, which has sort of always been the case every time I played him. Today, for some reason, I wasn't able to read his serve. That really rattled me.
So I had to look for that for a long time. Thank God I found it eventually.
Q. When you win matches like that, do you consider yourself more lucky, more good, winning on mind, or do you consider that the opponent was probably trembling a bit, weak? Mixed feelings?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think I've been unlucky enough this already this season, so I needed one lucky match. We'll see how important it is, depending on the run I go on now.
I've lost a few matches this season with match points, 7‑5 or 7‑6 in the third. This is definitely some kind of a match I kind of needed. You know, you can't win them all when they're that close, because they're being played on a couple of points here or there.
One thing for sure you can do is push the luck on your side. That's not something I have been doing maybe enough the last few months. I'm happy today I gave myself a chance. Maybe some think I should have never put myself in that position.
But he played well. He's unconventional. He doesn't look like much, but he definitely plays very solid and plays very uncomfortable. So I knew that from the start. I wasn't going to underestimate him even though I just beat him 6‑1, 6‑2 in Halle. I think he played terrific. He made it hard for me today.
Q. During your six‑year streak of going far in majors, how many matches have you had like this, this early, where you felt as though you could lose?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, that's your job to find out the stats. It's not my job to remember (laughter).
But I don't think it's definitely happened in many years or ever that I've come back from two sets to Love down in a first round. So that's not the last six years, because I don't remember going through five sets in a first round. It was eventually going to happen. I'm happy, you know, I found a way to win today even though it was a tough match and a tough start for me, because he did offer me opportunities already in the first and second set which I wasn't able to take.
It was frustrating, to say the least. I hung tough and came through. So you have to look at the stats and find your story there.
Q. But how unusual were the feelings that you had during this match for you, especially here at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, like I said, it hasn't happened I'm sure the last six years. So it's not something I'm used you.
You definitely feel, you know, uncomfortable because if you're used to being down the whole time your whole life, it's something that's kind of normal. For me it's not normal to be down two sets to Love, especially at Wimbledon, and early on in Grand Slams. It's something I'm not quite used to.
But still I was able to find a way. That's most important right now. Doesn't matter how I felt out there. Didn't feel great, that's for sure.
Q. How are you thinking about the rest of the tournament coming up?
ROGER FEDERER: Scores are set back to 0‑0 when I start the match. That's a good thing. So we'll see how it goes.
Q. How do you think he was able to stay with you so well in the rallies? You said afterwards he neutralized you.
ROGER FEDERER: For those who saw the French Open match, he served for the set in the first set. People that obviously only remember straight sets don't remember I actually played him. He was playing really well there, as well, taking huge chances on second serves.
Obviously on clay that's even easier. It was slow. It was rainy. We had to come off the court once. I knew he could hang from the baseline.
In Halle, I think there were too many bad bounces so he couldn't work with his half volleys. I was really mixing it up well, playing well, reading his serve terrific. That was something that was different today.
But in Paris I did have feelings against him that he was very uncomfortable to play against, even though I think I've had probably the fastest match in my Grand Slam career against him here on Court 1, like in 55 minutes I was able to beat him. I think if you can overpower him, everything goes your way, he's a guy you can put away very quickly.
Once you get tangled up in the rallies, it's very difficult. He has a great forehand, good backhand, moves well. I think he's improved his serve, to be honest. He's a tough player. Great talent. Good junior before. He's got the right potential.
Q. How did you find the speed of the court?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the thing here, there's no bad bounces. You can just stick at the baseline, half volley, not panic when a guy moves in. You can always flick it at the end. Obviously they're not the fastest courts anymore. Depends obviously how you play, as well.
If you've got a massive serve and you can just outright overpower a guy, then obviously it's fast. But a guy who is that agile at the baseline like Falla makes it very difficult to play against, because he can neutralize you, plays a flat ball, doesn't miss much. You've got to take chances. Today the chances I took were not working.
Q. You said the ability to learn never to panic helped you jump‑start your champion career. Was there a moment where you sort of panicked today?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, sort of, 4‑All, Love‑40, yeah. I mean, I think also the points that leaded up to Love‑40 were not very convincing for me. I think I missed a forehand, missed a backhand, maybe even started with a double‑fault.
My whole game was sort of in disarray. I was just hoping that I get three quick serves to come back. But I had to come up with some passing shots, some scrambling shots. Didn't always get the first serve in.
There was definitely a bit of luck involved there, you know. It's normal when the chances he had, the way I came out of this match, you know, definitely got lucky. But that's how it goes sometimes.
Q. The momentum seemed to swing in the first set when it was 5‑All. You had that distraction, you were about to serve. The ball boy came across. The umpire stopped the match.
ROGER FEDERER: When?
Q. 5‑All in the first set.
ROGER FEDERER: I don't remember what happened.
Q. You were about to serve.
ROGER FEDERER: Didn't I get a first serve because of it? Should have worked my way (laughter). I was about to hit ‑‑ it looked like it maybe, but I didn't take advantage of it because I think I was about to hit a second serve and I got a first serve, which is a good thing. But messed the first serve up, had to hit another second serve, like an idiot.
But, look, no, I don't remember that being any turning point. He played a good game. My serve was on and off. He took his chances well in the beginning.
Q. Any question of nerves because it's the first match? Was there a nervous factor?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, walking on down the corridor, onto Centre Court, sure, there's always nerves involved. I kind of want that, you know, because it means the world to me to open Centre Court. It's a dream for any player to play opening day on the perfect grass court. When I walked out for the warmup, I'm like, This court is amazing. I don't remember it ever being so perfect, you know.
Then once you get the first couple of service games underway, I think my first game was fine during the match, then it's fine. I wasn't particularly nervous once the match started. Just the regular.
Q. It looked like your level of energy was very low. Was that the feeling you had, too?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I was being calm because I knew I had to be concentrated on trying to read his game. And in the past actually I've always kind of struggled in the first set here at Wimbledon on opening day.
Many times I've been down a break in all the six or seven times I've opened the court. I've been down a couple times a break. I remember that going into the match. Maybe I was playing a little bit careful.
But I was playing the right way. I had a couple of breakpoint chances, everything looking fine. Then there was this one game at 5‑All which then turned the match for me.
Q. Do you sense the crowd sort of panicking a bit for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Not too bad actually. I think, I mean, they were waiting for something to happen, for me to make my move. It's usually how the crowd is, you know, when I'm down. You know, I was happy I had a couple of good points to come back into the match. Then it was obviously thriller atmosphere, which was great for me, making him a little nervous, too.
I think I was able to go get the victory. He didn't just donate it to me. That also makes me feel good, because at the end I did play a great fifth set. Nobody will talk about that, I know. People will say he was tired, he choked already way before. I did play a great fifth set. I was able to read his serve. I was starting to play great with my backhand. Things were really clicking in the end.
Q. What carries over for you moving forward? That fifth set or the struggles earlier?
ROGER FEDERER: I think you got to be ‑ how do you say ‑ realistic saying like there was a big threat today. I did get lucky today. It's important to take ‑ how do you say ‑ the right things out of this match. There was positives and negatives, obviously. But then again every player, thank God, in some ways plays different.
The next guy is a righty, big‑serving guy, nothing to do with the guy I played today. Because you struggle today doesn't mean you're going to struggle in the next match, too. Same thing if you win in straights; it doesn't mean you're going to win the next match in straights. That's just the way tennis is.
That's why you're happy sometimes you get over the finish line and have a chance to play much better maybe or play a different kind of a player. That's what I'm going to get for sure in the next round.
Q. Do you think it might have helped you to play him three times in a row?
ROGER FEDERER: It shouldn't have, no, especially after Halle. He should have known that I was going to beat him. But he forgot I beat him (smiling).
Look, he played a great match. I think he gave himself an incredible look. I told him at the net, I hope he's not too disappointed because I thought he played great. Maybe I didn't play obviously the match of my life, but I did play not bad myself at times. That normally is enough to go through in straight or in four sets, but he definitely pushed me. He was a very tough opponent.
Q. What's it like being a dad at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Good. I can come back anytime. I'm a member. I can be a dad anytime at Wimbledon now. It's great being here with the kids and Mirka after last year's time where she was pregnant. It's nice to be back as a family. Even two, you guys didn't know that, so that's nice.
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