Roger Federer Interview - Cincinnati, Aug 17Posted on August 18, 2010
Roger Federer Interview
WESTERN SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS - August 17, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A couple months ago, ESPN The Magazine did a cover story on, you they cited your on-court movement as really the key to your dominance. Kind of evaluate that part of your game in comparison to other players.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, you want me to evaluate?
ROGER FEDERER: You're the experts for that. (Laughing.) No, I mean, obviously every player moves different. I guess coordination is a big factor in how smooth, let's say, you move, you know. Anticipation is big.
But then again, playing with a one-hander maybe always looks a bit, let's say, nicer or smoother than playing with a double-hander, even though today obviously we have beautiful two-handed backhands. It's incredible with the open stance how they can move out to the backhand side especially, many guys at the top especially.
I think movement has a huge impact today. I mean, it's not everything, but it's a big part of our game.
Q. How are you feeling making the change from Toronto to these courts? And practicing, how is it going for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Practice has been great. Haven't played yet since I'm here, so I don't know. No, I'm hitting for the first time this afternoon, I can't tell you how it is of. But I expect it to be faster like the last few years.
I've done the switch from Montreal or Toronto to Cincinnati many, many times. I know what to expect.
Q. With respect to working with Paul, your dialog with him, is it mostly you inquiring what to do, or he suggesting or a combination? What happens more?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, it's an open debate. He has things to say and I have things to say because we both have experience, you know. I guess that's what's interesting about this relationship right now.
Q. You won the gold medal in men's doubles in Beijing in '08, and the announced that they're gonna do mixed in the 2012 Olympics at the All England Club. Have you thought about who you might partner with if you're gonna participate in that competition?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I haven't, and I have no clue how it would all work out for us as tennis players at the Olympics. I remember the last two Olympics were very busy. I think I played in eight days, and you have to play a ton of matches. Yeah, it's quick turnaround; it's busy; there's a lot of stuff to do; many people around; it's hard to move around.
That's why I haven't been able to attend any other sports actually the last two Olympics, which has been disappointing for me actually. Whereas still in Sydney I had the feeling I had more time, because I guess I had to get there earlier.
Then I had a couple days after the Olympics were over I could stay and watch I think badminton and swimming. It's been really busy. I don't know how the setup is when the weeks are -- you know, if it's an eight-day event and if you play singles, doubles, and mixed, that could be 15 matches maybe, you know, in seven or eight days. I don't know if that's something I want to do at this point.
Q. Last year and this year - you completed the career Grand Slam last year - talk a little bit about the difference between the two years. The perception is that your level has decreased a little bit. I don't necessarily think that's the case.
ROGER FEDERER: Thank you.
Q. What's the difference between the two years that you can pinpoint in terms of your on-court results from 2009 to thus far this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, I mean, I guess in terms of playing, I had a wonderful summer last year with the French and Wimbledon, which wasn't case, you know, this year.
But last year sort of after the Australian Open when I lost against I think Nadal, people were also talking about how I was on a huge decline. I cried on center court at the Australian Open, which was a big tragedy for many people.
Nobody ever believed I would come back. I won two slams and played the finals of the US Open and won the Australian Open, so -- then everything changes and you don't win the French or Wimbledon, and things are all bad again. So it moves very quickly. I know the rules and how it all works.
For me, it's important that I'm happy with my game. I think I got a bit unlucky through the summer or the spring with Miami and Indian Wells. I think that was a bit unfortunate that I lost two matches with match points. That didn't give me any chance to go further and give me an opportunity to win the tournament, because on hardcourts in the States usually I'm pretty good. That was a bit of a pity.
And then on clay I lost three of the four matches I played in the rain on clay. I'm not complaining. It's the same for both players, or for many players. But maybe with the confidence maybe a bit lower, that kind of didn't maybe help the cause.
Plus I managed to play good players. I mean, they all played well against me. Some of them were dangerous; some maybe I didn't play so good on the day. The next thing you know, it's like the summer is over and you're on the hardcourts for eight, nine months.
That's why I'm very happy with how I played in Toronto. Fought hard and was able to turn it around a bit and get those close matches going my way. Now we're gonna be on this kind of a surface for eight months, so I think this is a very important start for me, playing well on the hardcourts again.
Q. This tournament is the last year of being women's and men. Next year it's concurrent. Do you have any preference for the setup? Do you have any thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER: If I prefer...
Q. The women then the men or both at the same time, just a different format in the tournament.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I prefer only the men to be here just because it's more quiet. There's less players around and it's easier for the practice courts. Everything is just a bit simpler, you know.
The more players you have or bigger the draws are -- as matter of fact, it doesn't matter if it's women's or men's here. If the men's tour were to be much, much bigger it would be the same problem. We would have so many players, and it just makes a bit harder.
But then again, I'm excited for the city here, that they get it the same week. Even though I guess people also liked it that it was back to back so they had two weeks of tennis in the region, now it's only one week but it's compressed. Maybe better quality on the women's side, too. I don't know, I'm not sure about that.
But, look, they've done a wonderful job here now. It's the first day I'm here, and it seems like it's very nice. We're all excited that they have this great tournament now. I mean, it's always been. We love coming here, but now even more so. Next year will be different dynamics.
Q. You've won 16 Grand Slams. What is the minimum number after all is said and done that you would be satisfied with given what you've accomplished?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we'll see at the end of my career. We'll then put a line under it and see what I've achieved and what not. I never put a number out there that I have to achieve, otherwise it's a failure. So I'm all relaxed here.
Q. With your 16 slams and Rafa's 8, you are obviously set apart from the other players. Do you have a sense of what it is about the two of you that makes that so?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he's obviously dominated clay now for many years, so that gave him an opportunity to win many of the French Opens, which he was able to just tear through which has been amazing to see. Especially at his young age, you know, it's been, you know, very impressive.
And then it was somewhat normal to me that he was going to improve also on the faster surfaces, because right off the bat he beat me in Miami. I don't remember what year it was, but he already had signs to show that he was also a capable fast-court player.
And as all the courts kind of slow down, indoors, hardcourts, even grass, it's logical that today, if you're at the top, you can win on any surface. That's what he's been able to do. Still maybe struggles a little bit on the faster hardcourts.
But then again, he won the Australian Open already; he's been multiple times in the semis of the US Open. So that's stuff that he does now quite comfortably, you know.
And then me, obviously I was dominating hardcourts and grass courts until Murray, Djokovic, and then Rafa also came up. It all became just a bit harder on the hardcourts.
But, yeah, it's a tough generation for other players to get Grand Slam victories, you know, because I guess it's just not enough to beat one of us. You have to either beat two of us or other three or four top 10 guys. That's a tough thing to do right now.
Q. How much do you think is mental and how much is the game itself?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it's very much tennis. Mental, I think we're all strong at the top. You don't come in and you already lost. We all know we can beat each other. At the end, it's tennis it comes down to.
Q. You've dominated for so long and raised the bar in the game. A lot of other players now have raised their games because of that. What do you need to do to still be up on No. 1?
ROGER FEDERER: Just a lot of hard work, you know. I've always questioned myself in the best of times, and also when it wasn't going so well. Thank God there was not many bad times, you know, the last seven, eight years. They've always been very, very good.
I've always been in the top 2 or 3 in the word; 3 last week; now I'm back to 2. But I've always been very high in the rankings. That means you've also been doing some good things. So there's no need to panic. I was able to work on many things in my game, and that's really what's most important.
And that players improve or adjust or they adapt and they have nothing to lose against you, that's something that, you know, is hard to control sometimes. That's how our game is being played, especially in best-of-three sets. Sometimes a bit of a shootout.
Can't win them all. I always knew that, so I was very shocked and surprised at how dominant I was and how well I played for so many years. And still today I'm hanging with the top and I've got chances, and already won a slam again this year. I have a chance to win a second one and maybe the World Championships at the end of the year.
There's still a lot to play for. But usually if you stay the same, you will move down. That's never something I was content with.
Q. In regards to some of the changes other players are making, we're heard a lot of talk lately about the new strings and the lighter, stiffer racquets. Have you made some of those changes, and do you think those are affecting some of the other players having success against you in the past year?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't think it has much to do with technology, to be quite honest. There are other reasons maybe behind losses or other reasons for their victories.
So, no, I haven't made any changes in myself. I made a chance back in 2002, and then just kept adapting, you know, the racquet situation. Always talking very closely to Wilson to see what's the latest on the market, what they have to offer. I think that is important to keep an open mindset.
But I do believe that some strings and some racquets have definitely helped players to be better than they could have been, you know, because maybe they had technical difficulties to play with all gut and smaller head sizes. Today with bigger head sizes and the synthetic string, I think you can hit much more through the ball without shanking the ball, and I think that's definitely helped some players today.
Q. Are you using a synthetic string?
ROGER FEDERER: Half and half.
Q. This event has been either hit or miss for you. You either lose early or you win the championship. What do you think has been the reason why that's been that way for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I prefer it that way than playing quarters every time, you know. So I'm one of the winners here, so that's a good thing.
No, I think the transition from Toronto or Montreal to Cincinnati has always been a tough one. Then the draws are extremely hard. I think I lost to Murray once here in the first round; Hrbaty here once in the first round; Karlovic. That was a slugfest, you know. I mean, didn't even play bad, you know, and you're out of the draw, so that kind of goes.
And then all of a sudden four years have gone by. So that's why just try to give yourself the best possible chance. I'm obviously not perfectly prepared here for this event. I haven't even played yet and I'm playing tomorrow night. That's something I need to try to fix as quick as possible, get through that first round, and hopefully find my way into the tournament.
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