Roger Federer: I Have No Hard Feelings Towards Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer dismissed talks of an ATP player strike Monday at the Australian Open. The four-time champion in Melbourne added that he and Rafael Nadal are still on good terms despite reports.
Federer, who easily won his first round match, also said the back injury that forced him out of Doha was fine, but he cautioned he’ll re-evaluate tomorrow.
Federer’s full presser below:
Q. Everything fine, moving okay, twingefree?
ROGER FEDERER: Twinge means pain?
Q. Yes. Everything good?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, I expected otherwise honestly I would’ve been worried and I would have mentioned something. I’m not keeping secrets about that stuff.
But I’ve been feeling fine for three, four days now. Been able to practice full out. Today was fine. It was just tough against a guy who hits big and flat from both sides and takes a lot of chances.
In some ways, for the first match, it was a bit more how do you say intense, where I felt a lot of pressure. Because in Abu Dhabi they were exhibitions, and then in Doha, the first match with Davydenko was somewhat straightforward.
Then after that I got injured. So everything was a bit on a relaxeder [sic] mode maybe, or then trying to come through with injury or the matches were too easy, you know.
Here I really tried to put in an effort to every point play as hard as I could first to see how the back felt, try to get into it, hopefully win, and then see how I feel tomorrow.
I’ll get a lot more information tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.
Q. Good day to play at night probably because of the heat.
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I don’t mind the heat. Actually, I would have liked to play in the heat. It’s been a tricky week in terms of practice because there’s been a lot of rain. I practiced twice indoors.
This has definitely been the hottest since we’ve been here. When I was warming up, the ball was definitely flying much more than, again, tonight, because conditions get significantly slower in these types of conditions.
Look, I’m just happy to be on Rod Laver Arena. Sure, nights is always quite something. It’s electric and it’s nice to be out there.
Q. I’m sure you would have been made aware of some of the things that Rafael Nadal said in here yesterday. You could call it criticism of you, perhaps. Certainly the comments were quite outspoken. In those circumstances, do you have any response to what I’m sure you’ve been told he said?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I kind of heard it, you know. I saw him after he said the comments Sunday was it, I guess? I saw him Sunday afternoon. I asked him how the press went. I didn’t know he spoke to the press.
He said, Yeah, it was fine. Mentioned a few things here and there. I was, Okay, whatever. Then I read the comments. So things are fine between us, you know. I have no hard feelings towards him.
It’s been a difficult last few months in terms of politics within the ATP, I guess, trying to find a new CEO and chairman. That can get frustrating sometimes.
He’s mentioned many times how he gets a bit tired and frustrated through the whole process, and I shared that with him. It’s normal. But for me, obviously nothing changes in terms of our relationship. I’m completely cool and relaxed about it. He seemed the same way or at least I hope so.
Q. It’s fair to say you have differing views in terms of what should happen.
ROGER FEDERER: You want to know the issues or?
Q. He said you’ve got one view and the others have got something else.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think that’s normal. We can’t always agree on everything. So far it’s always been no problem really. Back in the day he used to say, Whatever Roger decides, I’m fine with.
Today he’s much more grown up. He has a strong opinion himself, which I think is great. It’s what we need, especially on the council. It’s been nice working with him.
That he has a strong opinion also creates sometimes good arguments about where you want to move the sport forward to.
You know, we talked about that in London after we played at midnight before, I don’t know, my semifinal match. We called each other after Davis Cup, and then we met again here.
So we’re always constantly trying to get on the same page, or at least talking about it, so we can do the best for the sport. That’s at the end of the day both our goals.
Q. Specifically are you willing to talk about the point that possibly you sometimes stand outside the process, maybe not getting behind some of the top 100 players, or does that come back to the differences in points of view, for example, pushing for changes to prize money, things like that?
ROGER FEDERER: I was in the meeting, you know. I completely understand and support the players’ opinions. I just have a different way of going at it. I’m not discussing it with you guys in the press room. It creates unfortunately sometimes negative stories.
I think we’ve done really well over the years now since me and Rafa in particular have joined the council, and also Novak in the past. And when Adam led the ATP, I think we had a really calm relationship about politics and about, you know, dealing with you guys.
So I choose not to talk about those issues with you guys. That doesn’t mean I don’t support the players. I think of the players first. Usually when I take decisions, I think of the lowerranked players first. I hope they know that.
Otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting on the council, just trying to do what’s best for the top guys. I mean, I’ve been around for too long to just say, Okay, we need more stuff for the top guys. I’m very happy if the lowerranked players are doing better, too.
Q. Do you disagree with the concept of a strike in principle, or do you just think it wouldn’t work?
ROGER FEDERER: You know, it’s such a dangerous word to use. That’s why I always say, Let’s try to avoid it as much as we can, right? I think that would be the best for all of us: you guys, fans, tournaments, players. It’s not good for anyone really. We’ve seen it in other sports happening in the States. That’s why I’m always very careful about it.
If there’s no avoiding it, I’ll support the rest of the players. But I just think we have to think it through how we do it, if we do it, can we do it, whatever it is, instead of just going out and screaming about it. That’s not how I think you’re going to get results.
There’s been too many tries and too many things done in the past that haven’t worked. That’s where I just think we’re on the right track and things are under control, I think. I’m confident we’ll get to a good solution in the near future.
Q. There seemed to be so many mentions of so many different issues, bits of this issue here, that issue there, prize money, Davis Cup, whatever. How important is it that there is one argument from the players’ point of view?
ROGER FEDERER: One argument?
Q. Just one, a consistent view. Is that important, in your opinion?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t quite understand. I just want to make sure I understand you.
Q. You ask 10 players, you might get 10 different issues raised.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it’s not normally that bad, but…
It’s usually two or three. Well, there are more, many more, but they’re smaller problems.
Sometimes do you want to play white balls or yellow balls. Is that going to be a big issue? Sometimes yes; sometimes no. It depends on how big the issue is and how it impacts every layer of the tour. That’s sometimes how you go at it.
Obviously within the system, you can’t ask every single opinion, but you try to represent every opinion that you have and you try to work on all those issues.
I thought we’re going in a good direction. I thought the game was healthy. We’re in a golden era right now. Everybody is happy, talking positive. We’ve been able to sign sponsors. We’ve been playing well. Al those things.
But I understand we can always try to do better. It shouldn’t be just saying like, Things are great. Let’s not change anything. I think as a perfectionist, professional, whatever you do in the business or as a tennis player, I think you should always try to become as good as you can be or try to just, you know, change things to as good as they can be for everyone.
Q. Is it perhaps taking it too far to say this could be potentially a defining year in the relationship between the players, the tournaments, the Grand Slams?
ROGER FEDERER: Potentially. I don’t know. I really don’t have the crystal ball with me. I wish I knew. But, like I said before, I’m confident that we’ll manage the year in a good way and we’ll come to good terms with whatever it is.
Right now I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it’s going to be okay.
Q. Do you feel extra pressure coming to this tournament since it’s been a while since you won a Grand Slam, almost two years?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, I feel pressure coming out and seeing my girls on the other side of the court, seeing me walk on court. Maybe that makes me nervous, which was the case today.
But otherwise I feel not particularly more pressure. I’m always excited. I felt it, you know, actually walking down that Walk of Champions, getting out on court and feeling like, you know what, I have good intensity and I am really excited to see the Aussie crowd. Just go after another victory here hopefully in the first round, and then take it from there.
So I was anxious to find out how I was going to play, how my opponent was going to play me. So, yeah, I was really excited and a little nervous actually going into it, which was a good feeling to have. I’m looking forward to the other matches.
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