Roger Federer Interview
March 15, 2011
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - BNP PARIBAS OPEN
R. FEDERER/J. Chela
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How pleased were you with that performance today? It looked pretty emphatic from the stands, Rog. Were you happy with that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, clearly with a result like this, it's always -- especially on a hot day like that, you pick the right days to play well and win quickly. So I'm happy it went so well today.
Opening first couple of games were kind of tough. I was able to move him around, I thought. Then I was able to mix it up, and I think I took his options as way a bit.
And then obviously his serve kind of went away and I was able to, you know, find a way to outmaneuver him. At the end, it was a great match. For me, anyway. (Smiling.)
Q. Have you seen any of the young guys, Raonic and Harrison?
ROGER FEDERER: Not so much. I wanted to, but I haven't found the time yet, no.
Q. Do you sense it's a start of an exciting period for young players coming through?
ROGER FEDERER: Uh-huh.
Q. You've got a lot of guys with all-court games. These two, Dolgopolov, Berankis...
ROGER FEDERER: True. I definitely feel like we've been waiting for that generation to come back, you know, after the strong generation of Murray and Djokovic and Nadal, really, Del Potro, who were all in that same kind of group. The next wave is coming in, which I think is exciting. That's what I went through as well with Roddick and Ferrero and Nalbandian and Hewitt and Safin and so forth.
So I think it's always nice when that happens. Obviously you want them to do well at the big tournaments like here now, and one of them is definitely going to come through and play me, which is gonna be big news. I'm excited playing against them.
I've never played either one of them, and it's going to be an interesting match for me because they have nothing to lose and got big games, you know, to play aggressive. It will be interesting to see how that goes.
Q. Speaking of nothing to lose, Roger, you said a real interesting thing recently, that you're a better player now than before, that there was no fear and had nothing to lose. Could you talk about that, the quality of playing without fear and what your thoughts are now?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you don't know when you're young that you have nothing to lose. You always feel you have something to lose, but later on you realize I had much less to lose, you know. You just go out there, and I don't know, let's say, breakpoint and you just go, you know, full swing, because you say, You know what, that's probably the right shot to hit at the time.
Obviously at times it doesn't work, but if it does work you feel like the king of the world, you know. So it's something you do maybe a little less later on because you know the percentages, that it's probably not the smartest thing to do. You'd rather to work the point and so forth.
So you play differently when you grow up and you have experience, you know. But still, you want to stay young in your mind with the ideas you have and with the way you want to play all those kind of different points.
Because there is good things about being young, and, you know, no fear. You just want to make sure that the shot-making, or how do you say, the decision-making goes the right way. And as you get older, you start to be better and better at it.
Q. But there's also a pressure that comes with age in a certain way.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I've felt pressure -- even though I had some huge pressures on me for a long period of time at the highest of levels, but I still felt the junior years, I really badly wanted to get through them not quickly, but I wanted to get to as high -- highly ranked possible as quick as possible, really. That's kind of how I felt.
Um, I don't know if it put pressure on me to see Safin and Hewitt won slams before me, and even Roddick. But I kind of felt -- I mean, I was in a good place. I was top 10 already, so it's different maybe than some of the younger guys coming through right now, but they will maybe find themselves in that situation, as well.
So I don't know. I felt a lot of pressure younger just because the media is pushing you on to having to make that breakthrough. And if you finally beat someone big, you're that guy who beat that guy then. That's what happened with me a little bit with Sampras, and then from then on you can build on, but it can also wear on you.
I was able to shake it off and then win Hamburg, and then from then I wasn't the guy who beat Sam was Wimbledon anymore, which was a good thing.
Q. From what you have achieved, people judge you on the slams. Last year or so, if you only got to the quarters or the semis, people would say, What's wrong? Do you feel like you just have to keep going and keep reaching finals and keep winning, or people say, Look, this is what he's done, so what do you expect?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, you always have to look at the season as a whole. But for me, sure, it's disappointing losing quarters of slams, you know. Sometimes you face good guys and they play better than you, and you also have to accept that.
I have been very consistent in Grand Slam play. I always said if I would have had, you know, a few bad Grand Slams in my -- you know, in my CV really for the year, that would hurt more. But if I keep on making quarters and semis at least, you know, I know I'm doing the right things, and, you know, I'm still kind of close to winning those tournaments. I wasn't far off, you know, on a few of them, so that's the good news.
And then the rest of the tournaments I actually played well and consistent, too. So it's not only -- it's unfair to just judge me on only Grand Slams or judge me only on other tournaments. You have to look at the big picture; otherwise why play 20 tournaments per year? Why travel the world? Why not only then just really completely prepare for slams?
You know, I need to play; I need to practice; I need to rest. It's all part of the tour the way we go at it, and I enjoy it. Sometimes slams get overrated; sometimes other tournaments do. It's all a question how you look at it.
Q. Milos said he felted the need at the net the after the match the other day with Mardy Fished to apologize to him for some things he thought Mardy might have read wrong or whatever, that he disrespected him somehow during the match. Mardy said it was no problem, you know, but Milos said he felt the need to apologize to him after the match. I'm just wondering, when you were younger like that, how did you balance sort of that super-competitive edge with respecting your opponent?
ROGER FEDERER: But what did he apologize for?
Q. It was during an injury timeout. He said he was bending over and...
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean...
Q. Maybe he thought that Mardy felt he was taking too much time.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay. Yeah.
Q. How did you handle those things when you were younger? The desire to win so badly, but also you don't want to disrespect your opponent.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, clearly not. You don't want to start to build a reputation, that's for sure. But then at the end of the day, whatever is, you know, within the rules should be all right. But then there is this common sense that this is just stuff you shouldn't be doing.
You know, I don't know what the situation is now, you know, but you always want to make sure you think twice what you do, because it can always have an effect on how, you know, the players see you in the locker room.
But I'm sure if he's already apologized out on court -- he probably felt that Mardy was annoyed by it, and maybe next time he will think twice if he takes an injury timeout and blasts him off the court.
So that's how it goes sometimes. I don't think it's too much to read into it. Sometimes it's good to get a bit of the tough feeling out there. Not everybody should be too nice to each other, you know because -- I mean, rules are tough, so there's not much room for us to maneuver around with our, I don't know, injury timeouts.
I mean, we try to -- really try to clamp down on everybody so we do the right things, but... Yeah, I mean, some guys are famous for doing stuff; some are not. I'd rather be one of the guys who play fair and square that way.
Q. This will be a big moment for one of these two guys to play obviously a player of this generation. Can you talk about when you were in their situation as a young player the first time you faced a top star and what that situation was like for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. For me it was the first time I played Carlos Moya in Marseilles. I got a wildcard, and he was 4, 3 or 4 in the world, and later on actually became world No. 1 here in Indian Wells.
I was able to beat him in three sets, and I was ranked I think 200 or 300 in the world. Amazing feeling, you know. I always felt on a big court I could do some damage. Maybe not the entire tournament, but at least on one given match.
That's what I got with Moya then, and then obviously I got many more after that. I played Davis Cup or I played Agassi in Basel when I -- I think I got a wildcard back in '98 after being a ball boy there. I couldn't believe I faced Agassi in the first round.
So I got early on a lot of big matches, and obviously I loved them and you learn a lot from them. Even if you lose 6-0, 6-1, at least it tells you you've got to go to the practice courts and get better, you know. Any result is a good result I think at that age against a top player.
Q. Speaking of injuries, yesterday Robin Soderling in the press conference here said that his foot was hurting him and he maybe shouldn't have gone on court against Kohlschreiber. Last year at Wimbledon, you talked of some soreness after your quarterfinal with Berdych, and there was a little bit of a discussion about whether that was the right thing to do. Is there some code about whether or not a player should disclose an injury, and how do you approach it?
ROGER FEDERER: Usually I don't talk about injuries. There I just felt it was really, how do you say, not allowing me to play at 100%. It was allowing me to play, but not to retire. So that's why, you know, I play with it and you go along with it.
It wasn't a big excuse. It was just a fact. Then people see it as excuses and trying to destroy the other guy's win. It gets taken out of context. Depends on how you say it if you say, I clearly shouldn't have played. So that's wrong to say that.
If you say, I shouldn't have played, but I wanted to see how it goes, it's different again. So it all depends on how you portray your injury or how the match turned out to be. But it always leaves a bit of a sour taste. I can see that especially some journalists will find something. That's the way it goes, unfortunately.
But I never said anything different that Berdych beat me square and fair. I don't know what Soderling said. I don't care really. It's his issue now.
Q. That sort of ties into what I was going to ask, because the match before yours Kim Clijsters retired because of a shoulder injury, and it seems like there has been a lot of players in both draws that either are nursing injuries or coming back from injuries. Is that just sort of business as usual in tennis, or has the game become more arduous somehow?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think there's a couple weeks during the year where just maybe you get -- there's players maybe with more injuries than other weeks, you know. Why that is, don't know.
The only thing that comes to mind now is maybe we're at the back end of a long hard court season. Maybe that's something to do with it, you know. It started all the way back after Wimbledon, two more tournaments for most guys, and then after that we move over to clay.
So maybe that's, you know, wearing on a few guys. Maybe on a few Europeans, also the traveling over with the jet lag. It's not something that's so healthy for the body at times. So that could be another issue.
And then, you know, sometimes some people just get unlucky. There you go. Then you have a few players with injuries. At least they're not that severe as maybe in other sports, and you usually recover quickly from them.
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