Roger Federer Interview - Wimbledon, June 23Posted on June 23, 2010
Q. Are you aware that the longest tennis match is going on right now?
ROGER FEDERER: I am aware, yes. I'd be a fool if I wouldn't know.
Q. Having that in mind, do you think it does make some sense to have a fifth set tiebreak like the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's perfect the way it is. It's unfortunate these guys are going to be a little bit tired tomorrow and the next day and the next week and the next month. I've been following this as closely as I could. I walked on court at about 11 All in the fifth. They're still going. This is absolutely amazing, yeah.
I mean, in a way, I wish I was them, in some ways I wish I wasn't them. So this is a very special match. I hope somehow this is going to end. I don't know. They'll be fresh again tomorrow, I guess. If they have to come back, it's unbelievable. I don't know what to say.
Q. Were you surprised a guy ranked 152 in the world could play that well?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really, because I do practice a lot with juniors and lower ranked players and doubles players who don't have much of a singles ranking anymore. These guys are tough. You know, they can all hit a good ball. Are professionals, as well, do the right things.
So maybe they can't produce it over an entire tournament, but especially on grass they can produce it on any given day.
It's a good match for me to come out. I thought Bozoljac played great. He served amazing. It's hard to get a read on his serve. He served clutch when he needed to. He was able to really play very dangerously also on the returns, even though I was never broken, which is a good thing for me. This easily could have gone five sets. Also could have gone straight sets, so obviously I'll take the four sets any day.
Q. This Isner/Mahut match, does it give reason for a fifth set tiebreaker?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I answered already. I love this. I know they're maybe not loving this, but I guess this is unheard of in our game. I mean, normally there are breaks in tennis matches.
John is barely moving anymore, but he's still able to produce good serves when he has to. It's so impressive to see. I mean, I was watching this. I don't know if I was crying or laughing. It was too much.
Q. Is this a match that's reduced to a battle of wills rather than tennis ability?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I guess once you get to the point of 10 All, 20 All, you don't doubt anymore. You just go point by point. You hope not to be down Love 30. If it happens, you concentrate a bit extra.
But I guess in some ways you're also relaxed, you know. You just say, You know, whatever happens happens. When it gets important, you try to focus. Like this, you don't have that extra pressure and tension in your body. Maybe that's why these guys can do it for so long and so good.
I heard Mahut only had three breakpoints so far in the entire match. I mean, this is unbelievable. They've played I think over nine hours. The stats on the serves I don't even know about because they must be ridiculous, incredibly good.
So, I don't know, you just go with the flow. Obviously once it's 50 All, you're like, I don't want to lose this match anymore after putting in a heroic effort already. Unfortunately there's going to be a loser. But I think both will come out as winners, that's for sure.
Q. Can you relate that to yourself when you played in the final last year?
ROGER FEDERER: I can relate to this in some little degree. This is beyond anything.
Q. There's been talk about the grass slowing down. When you see those two guys, they've combined for 175 aces. Not a lot of returns are getting back in play. Maybe it shows that the court is at the right speed?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I still think, you know, it's a touch too slow. Indoors I think our game has slowed down drastically. But I definitely think the bounces are nice and high here at Wimbledon. I think the bounces were lower. If the bounces are lower, it makes it much faster to play on.
But, you know, it's the way it is. Today I think it's particularly quick. I felt it also on my serve and on Bozoljac's serve. If you do hit your spots, the ball travels through the air very quickly. Once you try to find the right spots, you don't have to take the chances anymore like in the beginning.
You have the opponent guessing, your first serve percentage goes up. Next thing you know you're serving at 70%, not as high a risk, because the air is doing the work for you. The court was fast, too, because it's hard and quick today.
But it's not always like that. I still wish it was faster, but I'm not complaining. I've played fantastic here over the years obviously in these conditions.
Q. The final point when you were standing at the net waiting for Hawk Eye, what did you exchange with him? Everyone in Serbia wants to know.
ROGER FEDERER: They're debating already?
Q. Yes. They're proud of him.
ROGER FEDERER: I asked him what kind of drink he wants later on in the bar. No. (Laughter).
I said, I think the ball is out, really. Anyway, I hope so. He goes, If it is out, I wish you all the best. Please keep on winning and stuff. It's like, Okay, we'll see. Wait for the call first, you know. But he was very nice. He was very supportive of me going on and playing very well in the next few rounds.
He seems like a very nice guy. I've played him once in doubles in Davis Cup. He comes across as a very open and kind of cool guy. So it was kind of an unconventional finish, but he was a very nice guy at the net.
Q. Is it strange to drop three sets in the opening two games for you? You wouldn't have been expected to.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but I won six sets, you know, so... Kind of works. You got to win the right sets.
But sure, you know, I think the first two matches have been tough. My opponents, I think they did play very well. Today was obviously very different. We hardly had any rallies, whereas in the first match it was played out on the baseline points really.
So, I mean, I'm happy with the way I'm feeling today. I'm coming off a five setter. It's never easy. I mean, this is hard. Still, five sets pressure, everything builds up. I was behind almost the entire match in the first round. So I came out feeling actually good. I'm excited that I'm still in the tournament. Looking forward to my third round, regardless how I got there.
Q. Do you think you have improved from your last match to this match?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I mean, it's completely different opponent. You know, the other guy, he served lefty, 105 miles average probably on the first serve. Here we have a guy serving 135 the whole match. You can't compare these kind of matches.
That's what I meant. It's kind of tough that every player plays tough. But it's also good. It makes it interesting. You have to adapt. Today was a matter of staying calm, waiting for high chance, and hopefully come up with some good shots when I had to.
It was hard, because I thought Bozoljac played very well, which also means I think I did very well today.