Roger Federer Interview
Sony Ericsson Open - Miami, Fl., U.S.A.
March 23, 2011
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What is it that you love about playing tennis? Simple question.
ROGER FEDERER: I guess, you know, it's myself to blame if I win or lose, which I kind of like, and that it's one on one, or if you like, in doubles two or two.
But there's a distance, so there is always a lot of fair play. There's no ugly plays in that way. Good sport to watch on TV; good sport to watch live. It's atheltical and has a bit of everything. I think it's really nice.
Q. How are you finding the transition from one court to the next?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's still hard court, so should be all right. It's a bit more humid here. It hasn't been brutal, so it's been all right. It was nice and warm as well in Indian Wells, so it's been okay.
Obviously I've played a lot of tennis, so maybe just I'm a touch tired, but I'm happy I still have a few more days. So there's no issue there.
I practiced yesterday and today here and I feel fine, you know. There's not much to say really yet. Conditions are obviously slightly different, adjusting, you know, string tensions, just understanding how far the ball flies, how it bounces, and all those things.
That's why I just need a couple more practice sessions and I'll be okay.
Q. A few weeks ago Andre Agassi said of Andy Roddick, if it weren't for you, that he would have had a tremendous career. Do you take a little bit of joy in knowing you've knocked Andy out of sort of that major block? What do you see in him down the road?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm not happy at all. I think he's done actually really well. I mean, he achieved all his dreams basically you know, except maybe winning Wimbledon but he was in many great matches in finals there, which he can always look back on.
I think that was very nice, as well. Clearly he'd like to win those, but not everybody can say they've been in multiple Wimbledon finals, you know. He's won the US Open, was world No. 1, won Davis Cup.
How much more do you really need to be happy as a tennis player? So I think he's actually considering that everybody always is so negative around him, you know, especially in terms of the press, I think he knows what he achieved. The players know it, too, and that's why he's so respected.
His career is not over yet. There are still things to achieve out there. I've always enjoyed my matches with him.
And, no, I don't feel happy that I did any I had a part in maybe making his career worse or better or whatever, you know. Who knows, if I wasn't around maybe somebody else would have been around, you know. So you never know.
Q. As you know, there was earthquake disaster in Japan. If you don't mind, could you leave a message for the Japanese people.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's been very sad news, of course. I've followed, you know, what happened in Japan, and it was devastating, you know, to say the least.
It's always one of those natural disasters, that really, you know, touch everybody, to see those terrible pictures. And then obviously thinking of my good times in Tokyo when I was there and good times I had, which I really enjoyed, you know, obviously the fans I have in that part of the world or in Japan in particular, you know.
I can only tell them that I'm thinking of them as well and that I wish them only the best and that they can rebuild and get stronger out of how it was before, because it's not an easy situation right now.
Q. Kim Clijsters said yesterday that she wouldn't go to Asia because of the radiation; she wouldn't take her kids, et cetera. Does that sound like anything that you would consider?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, I haven't even thought about it yet because I'm not going to Asia, you know, in the next couple weeks.
Q. She said Shanghai. She said no China. No Japan.
ROGER FEDERER: Really? No, it hasn't even crossed my mind yet. I will only think about that when the situation is right in front of me. But we'll get the green light or not from someone else, you know.
At the end of the day you always have to take your own decision, but I don't think it's gonna be a problem by then, to be honest.
Q. How difficult it is to win Indian Wells and here? Why is it so difficult to win them in a row?
ROGER FEDERER: Back to back?
ROGER FEDERER: Why is it hard? I mean, I guess it's hard to win back to back Masters 1000s in general because you have a lot of good players in the early rounds.
This one you have no excuse not having had enough time off, because there is enough time so you actually can get ready. It just seems like I guess here and in Indian Wells usually everybody is playing pretty well, you know, because the season is underway for a couple of months.
Everybody can play on hard courts, you know, so it's not really a surface that's favors a particular playing style. You know, the South Americans have their chance, like the Europeans and the Americans have and so forth. So I think it's pretty straightforward, and that's why I think they're tough to win back to back.
But then again, if you're hot, like Novak at the moment, or me back a few years ago when I won back to back Indian Wells and Miami, you could do it, you know, just because the draw falls into place, you are playing well, you are not thinking too much, and you are very just better than the rest at the moment.
Q. Kim said yesterday that having a child has helped her to, A, enjoy tennis more, and B, also put it into better perspective in terms of her life picture. I was wondering if it's similar or what it's done for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don't feel like I needed kids to put it all in perspective, to be honest. It's definitely had a huge impact in my life, in how, you know, you go through life 24/7 thinking about kids and making sure that you put them on the right path, and, you know, you help and support, you know, my wife and so forth.
But I didn't feel like I needed a kid to distract me from a loss or something. I always felt like I had the right mindset when it came to what tennis means to me. It means a lot to me, you know. But there's many more important things than tennis, as well.
It's what I really enjoy doing. The travel has been incredibly a lot of fun for me to be able to share that with my wife and my kids, you know. It's been a wonderful time.
As they're growing, they understand more, they can come and watch matches, you can play with them more, and it only becomes more enjoyable, the tour. I've always made the tour for me special by inviting my family, my friends, having a good time, sort of getting that home away from home feeling.
Now with the family on tour with me, my own kids, it's different, you know. It's maybe nicer. I guess it's nicer, you know, but it's always been a lot of fun traveling on the tour.
Q. It seems kind of strange not to see you ranked No. 1 or 2. You've been that for so long. Does it seem any different to you at all?
ROGER FEDERER: No, you don't 1 or 3 is different, yeah, but 2 or 3, it's all right.
Q. Along the lines of your kids and tennis, could you're a dual couple tennis family. Could you see your children playing pro tennis? Would you encourage them? Along those lines, there are a lot of people saying they don't want their kids to lead the life that they have led.
ROGER FEDERER: Um, I don't know if I would encourage them. I would support them. You know, if they want to play tennis, if that's what they like doing, we'll see how it goes. You know, how many hours they'll spend hitting against a wall and going to tennis practice and where, you know, is our home gonna be and all those things. I really don't know yet.
Depends also a little bit on how long I'm playing, you know, how much in contact do they come, do they actually play more or less when they're on tour with me? I don't know. It all depends on those things.
Right now I don't see any signs that they like it or don't like it, so it's still completely up in the air. But, you know, I think sports is a great education, you know. To spend time with other kids, learning how to lose, learning how to win, all those things I think is a good thing for a lot of kids, you know.
You cry because you lost; you're happy because you won. You know, you pretend you won something big. All those things I think are nice. That's why I'll support them in any sports. If it's tennis, at least I know a little bit about that sport. (Laughter.) Other sports, maybe I don't know so much.
Q. You have a very solid outlook, but are you puzzled, annoyed, or amused by people who say that the Federer era is over, he's down to 3 and sinking?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, depends on who says that. I don't know if it's 5% saying it, 95% saying it. Then at the end of the day, it doesn't matter too much to me if someone is saying that or not.
I still think I've had a great six months. I feel like I'm playing really good tennis, and right now Novak is just a bit better than the rest. And that's okay.
I've gone through phases like this on multiple occasions with Rafa, with Murray, with even Agassi and Hewitt and Roddick and so forth. It's just something that's part of the game.
I never expected myself to dominate for 15 years, you know. So it's always it goes in phases. This is a good one. I think at the top right now I think actually everybody is playing well: Rafa, myself, even Murray. You know, maybe he has not had the best last couple tournaments, but he did make the finals of the Australian Open.
I'm sure he's gonna be extremely strong again this year. And Soderling, maybe if he were not if he would feel better physically, also I think he's also had a great six months winning Paris and I think two or three titles this year.
So everybody is playing really well at the top, but then you hear stories being made up. They are also part of our sport. And it's fine, whatever it is, as long as I don't get affected by them. That's what counts.
Q. Off of the question he just asked, one of the criticisms of you came recently from Martina Navratilova saying that she doubted whether you'd be back at the level of three or four years ago or back at No. 1. The fact it's coming from her, does that register at all for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. You'd rather hear other things, you know. Maybe she missed the London World Tour Finals. I don't know. Maybe she was somewhere else climbing Kilimanjaro. I don't know. I love her.
Look, I think she's been an inspiration to my wife and I always love seeing her, but if you had the microphone in front of you and you get a negative question, you get dragged into it. You have to answer it.
So that's what happens. And she's in front of the microphone a lot of times, you know, like other experts, as well, and eventually you can't just say only good things. You have to also say more negative things. Then you pick up on these, and next thing you know it's like I'm being asked and then I have to answer it, which is unfortunate.
I have no problem with Martina. She's allowed to say.
Q. I believe it was Pete Sampras said if you won one major a year that's a good year. Would you subscribe to that theory?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think so. I don't know what you guys think. But then again, at the end of the day, the whole season is not just majors. We play 20, 25 tournaments during the year and only four of them are Grand Slams, so why are we all here? It's not because it's a Grand Slam.
So these matter, as well, and many other tournaments, too. Some are more emotional and some are less. But, you know, you always have to look at the tour as a whole.
I'm sure for different people there are different highlights during the year and majors are definitely one of them for me but they're not the only ones.