Defending champion Roger Federer fell victim to Tomas Berdych for the third time in four tries after the four-time Cincinnati champion was dismissed yesterday by Czech 62, 76 in the Western and Southern quarterfinals.
In his presser (below), Federer says he feels healthy, he’s playing playing better than he did in Montreal and he says he’s still in contact with Tiger Woods. And Roger adds that he has some things to work on before the US Open.
The third-ranked Federer has not won a title since Doha. In 2008, Federer lost early at the Canadian and Cincinnati but still went on to win the US Open.
Q. Today in the match you did not earn a single break point on his serve. Also at Wimbledon when you were playing against Tsonga, the last three sets you were not able to get a break point opportunity either. Are you feeling okay about your return game, or do you think that’s as area you need work on before the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think I’ve done well against Del Potro and Blake. On a quick court like this against big servers you can go through matches like that. I definitely didn’t feel like I was getting a great read on his serve today, and that definitely cost me a bit of maybe giving myself more opportunities and just getting into the rallies more on his service games, which then maybe would have allowed me to try out a few things and so forth.
Look, I thought he served well. He played a good match. Unfortunately I didn’t play a very good tiebreaker, and yeah, he was better than me today.
Q. 5-All in the second set; you’re serving: six aces, two double faults, a net cord against, and a screaming baby. You ever experience anything like that serving or receiving in your career?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess I have. I must have. I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve gone through many funky service games. But not sure. It was nice serving so many aces, but it was a big game for me to hold and then to put the pressure on Tomas.
I had a slight opportunity in the next game, which unfortunately I couldn’t take. So it was a bit unfortunate today.
Q. Is there anything you can point to in your matchup with Tomas? You went on a run where you beat him eight times, and now he’s won three of the last four. Anything in your game that’s different than when you ran off the eight wins and then the last four?
ROGER FEDERER: I lost the first one against him in Athens, so…
Well, I feel he wasn’t really living up to his potential, was he – I don’t want to say for a very long time – but I remember he did win Paris indoors years back, right? I think that was first glance at how good he can be, plus the match where he beat me at the Olympics in Athens.
Then I guess we were all kind of waiting for him to do something. Maybe that’s the time where I was able to beat him more often. It was in those times when basically I was losing every, I don’t know, 30th match. So it was like hard to beat my anyway.
Lately he’s been playing well, I thought he played fantastic in Wimbledon. I shouldn’t have lost in Miami against him. And then here was somewhat close as well. I think it’s been very even. Unfortunately I couldn’t turn this one around today.
Q. In tiebreaks against top 10 players in 2011, you have won 3 out of 11. Can you talk a little bit about why you think that is.
ROGER FEDERER: Good question. I mean, it’s not very positive, not very — she’s asking me all the worst questions. (Smiling.) Yeah, I’ve got to do better. Very simple.
Q. How have you felt about these two weeks as far as getting ready for the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, last week wasn’t very good. I thought it was okay. It was nice to get back on the tour and getting some practice in with top guys and playing some matches.
Now, I thought this week I was feeling much better. I thought I played really well against Del Potro and Blake. Sure, close matches. It’s a quick court, so you’re not going to be coming out of this tournament feeling like you have the greatest rhythm in the world, especially with the guys I played against.
I did play against very strong, tall, aggressive baseline players, you know, I mean, so we were never going to see the longest of rallies.
But all in all I feel okay. I feel better now than I did in Montréal where it wasn’t a very good match against Tsonga. So at least I have three more matches under my belt.
And physically I’m feeling perfect. That’s at least the positive thing coming out of this tournament.
Q. Just to change topics, it’s going to be the tenth anniversary of September 11th.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I know.
Q. Talk about where you were that day and just your memories.
ROGER FEDERER: I was back in Switzerland. I don’t remember how I played that year, but I was practicing back in the National Tennis Center in Switzerland. I was in the gym, and I think someone told me something was happening on the phone, I think.
Went up to see the TV and was kind of watching the whole thing unravel. It was disturbing to watch in some ways because nobody know what was going on. You figure many people passed away. So every year since hasn’t been the same coming back to New York. So that’s been tough.
I never went to Ground Zero. Never felt like I had to go see that place. But I’m sure they’re going to create something nice to remember all those people.
Q. As you get older – and I know you just turned 30 – do you find it more difficult against the top players than to used to be? What changes have you had to make since you turned 30 like last week or whatever? Talk about that.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think you have to try to stay healthy. I think that’s the key. I mean, I went through a rough patch with mono and the back issue. I was able to play through a lot of those problems really. I didn’t have to sit out of tournaments for months and months, which was at least a good thing.
But I definitely maybe started to play at times the wrong ways because of my issues I had with my body and health and so forth.
Now since, you know — every year maybe I do a bit more maybe I do feel like I’m physically much better again. I’m healthy, even though I went through some sicknesses due to the babies, but nothing major.
I’ve been feeling really healthy, and that’s been key to then being able to practice well in the off-season instead of missing out. I got unlucky couple times because of problems I mentioned two, three years ago, which then took away many of those buildup practice blocks from me. I felt in the matches I was lacking practice.
So I don’t feel that’s the case anymore. I’ve had a good season in terms of playing enough matches, having enough practice, and being healthy and so forth. So I’m hoping that the end of the season is going to be strong.
Q. Today may not be the best example, but you talk about matches being fun. That’s not a word I hear a lot players say. It stands out to me that you obviously often say it. Is that something that comes with having accomplished so much, you can enjoy the fun side, or have you always had that attitude?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think my attitude has changed a lot towards the matches as the years have gone by. But love for the game has always been there. I always loved it, even when I was a teenager.
I couldn’t stand picking up a racquet or looking at it because I was frustrated with how I was playing at times, but I knew that was just a short moment. But, you know, honestly, it’s changed a lot from when I tried to make the breakthrough and then finally sort of getting to world No. 1 and then riding the wave and so forth. Maybe now not winning 95% of my matches anymore, it’s always change, you know, in the way you look at the matches and things and feel it.
But I definitely feel since breaking Pete’s record and feeling since also winning the French Open I’m supposed to enjoy it more. Because like you say, it shouldn’t be just a grind every single time. You also should be able to take fun out of the atmosphere, out of playing in a nice center court.
Things are happening for you. It’s supposed to be positive. Shouldn’t be negative the whole time like what some people might make it sound like. What a grueling tour we have and so forth.
I like it. I wouldn’t change it for the world, and I would do all over again. I am very happy where I am right now. I wouldn’t want to be 20 again, so it’s a great place.
Yeah, I do take losses a bit easier, but doesn’t mean I didn’t try everything. From here forward, I have a lot of work to do before the US Open, but I’m looking forward to it.
Q. It’s been stated that you’re not really a fan of Hawk-Eye. Are there any rules in the game of tennis that you would change if you were commissioner?
ROGER FEDERER: Not for the moment, to be honest. It’s fine. You know, today was a bad Hawk-Eye day. More on Tomas’ side. That’s okay. Whatever.
Q. What do you have to do to get back to No. 1? Is that a goal? Obviously winning consistently, but specifically in your game is there anything you can point to to improve?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I know what I need to work on. Definitely comes with winning big tournaments and getting some momentum going and having big confidence. That will definitely help.
But in the game itself I know what I need to work on, and that’s what I’m going to try to do coming up now, and then sort of after the US Open.
Q. You have slipped from No. 1, but you’re still staying very close to the top, in the top 3 still. Compared to someone I know you’re friendly with, Tiger Woods, hasn’t been able to come close to getting back to No. 1. Can you talk about that and your relationship with him now?
ROGER FEDERER: The end was my relationship and?
Q. And comparing your effort to get back to the top where you were.
ROGER FEDERER: I think we’re in different places. He’s gone through massive injuries and more problems than I have. I mean, how many times has he got knee reconstructions? Three, four times. I never had surgery in my life, so we’re in completely different places health-wise.
Tennis is much more physical than golf will ever be, so it’s different. They can play for a much longer time. Obviously I’m very hopefully that his success is right around the corner, too. I’m sure once you’ve been as successful as Tiger, it’s right there anyway. You just need a lot of dedication and hard work. I’m sure he’s one of the most hard working guys on the golf tour.
And my relationship, yeah, it’s fine. We’re in contact. Even more so when I’m in the States and so forth. So we night might catch up. See how the schedules work out.
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