It was a good start for Swiss tennis great Roger Federer who steamrolled past Carlos Berlocq 6-4, 6-3 in the second round at the Rome Tennis Masters.
Federer’s win was his sixth in a row following his big title at Madrid on Sunday. After the match, Federer met the Rome press for the first time to discuss he near withdrawal, the windy conditions, the blue courts in Madrid and the possibility of him becoming a future movie actor.
Q: Roger, did you hesitate a long time before you play here and when did you finally make your decision?
Federer: What was the first part of the question?
Q: Did you hesitate a long time?
Federer: Yes, until this morning after practice. I just wanted to see how I felt and it there was anything major –if this were the last tournament of the season then there would be no problem but we have a long summer ahead. This is the beginning to many tournaments in a row and many 5 setters in a row and so I think it is important to make very good decisions.
Q: Roger, I wanted to congratulate you are finally number two in the world are so many years. Are you happy about that? What are your comments and what are your feelings
Federer: Well it is always nice moving up and down is always tough. — but this is our career. The rankings are very mobile and obviously you don’t jump 20 slots when you are in the top five and honestly one slot means a lot that this position. To me this is not a major issue and I look at the big picture and what is important to me is just to be in the top 10 and if I am No 2 or not at the French Open doesn’t change anything when and it doesn’t change anything for Rafa. That I was able to win Madrid was amazing that is what I look at right now is not the rankings.
Q: Roger, Hi. There was a lot of red dust flying around about wanted to know if that affected your game or not?
Federer: Well, we actually had that in Madrid at the end as well and so there was nothing new. Yes — it makes things, tougher. I mean you have to chase the lines a little. It is so much slower here in Madrid and so it takes a lot of adjusting to do — and sometimes we can ………… inaudible ………. that is not something that was not possible in Madrid and so there are some information form the match and how to play from the baseline and how points are constructed and I’m sure that this match has given a lot
of information and it takes some adjustments from Madrid.
Q: One, we are the start of an incredibly busy period with a lot of very important titles up for gabs. Do you think of the nature of the schedule for the next few weeks that it is going to be likely that you will be spread around amongst players.
Federer: Maybe – I mean that has always been the case. I was in Wimbledon back to back and that is going to be the case again, just because it is a hard thing to do but a little easier it will be Wimbledon and then the Olympics only because it makes sense — is in the same place and 3 weeks after… if you are feeling sure and can win Wimbledon then you are confident going into the Olympics. But the 3 set format earlier on in the Tournament and that is very dangerous as we know going onto grass and then the US Open is after that and so…..who knows then who is in good shape and who is not. Time will tell – usually when I play and win in Wimbledon then I am in good share at the US Open and I think just today how the conditions are then if you lay good then you play good everywhere. But maybe you are right and we may be spread out and its hard to see someone win all four – I mean Paris, Wimbledon, The Olympics and the US Open and I don’t think anyone is thinking of something that crazy at the moment. I think we are all taking it one by one.
Q: Roger, the way you re playing, you could even get back to number one into one grand slam in the couple of months. What would you prefer — a grand slam or the No 1. How do you see them?
Federer: We’re talking about great problems. I don’t really care. We’ll see how things go. I didn’t win the world tour finals which for me are a huge tournament which at times — now we have grand slams. I have a good win under my belt and I might be number three next week but that doesn’t matter for me and Rafa. I know it is an interesting time right now is that there is a lot to talk about rankings and I know that I have a shot until the US open with the rankings and you will see.
Q: ………… Rafa was saying that seems to know exactly where he is in the race and yet some players don’t give it that much attention. How do you see it?
Federer: No, I don’t. I wouldn’t even know how many points I am right now. Just occasionally I’ll check other rankings like my friend …. audible ….. will be because they are more volatile back there and I just kind of know what the other guys have to defend and what I have to defend. That kind of thing I stopped doing a long time ago. It just consumes more energy.
Q: In Madrid you met Will Smith and after the match you had a special gift from him. How do you feel? Just like another man in the or another actor on the ground?
Federer: If I am going to be an actor one day?
Q: Yes — if the man in Black is the right role for you — something action
Federer: It that would be the right movie for me? To watch, yes, to play, no. I’m not a very good actor but I think I’m a good tennis player and I think we know from weaknesses. I doubt that my career is going to be over there and it was nice to meet Will again and it was nice I was able to help him promote the Men in Black 3 movie in Madrid – but that it abut it – as my acting career.
Q: Roger I was not in Madrid but following from afar, you seemed to stand back from all the argument that there was about the tournament. Do you think the fact that you are about 5 years more that most of your opponents and you have more experience helps you deliver your best.
Federer: Maybe but as I said, Rafa should never have lost against Verdasco and he would have had the tournament – he would still have been the big favourite for the tournament despite the conditions of the court in Madrid – it is clay and it is slippery and it is blue but it is in Madrid and Rafa is the king of that surface and he probably wins hundreds of matches on that surface and loses maybe 3 or 4 or 5% of his matches on this surface and maybe so ………but on tour I still though that conditions were very different. You had indoors and then all those different indoor courts – many of them were very fast and then … many more clay court specialists such as Guga and Musters when I came on tour already knew they would make their points n clay and other guys already know they would points on grass. They were much more experts in their field whereas today I think people can just abut play anywhere and we have
to adapt – for example here in Rome it is not as crazy as it used to be. In the past we used to have some really craze changes – probably more back in the 70′s and the 80′s and so you take it as it comes but the
unhappiness for the blue court was not …….. the decision was taken by the chairman the day before and we know why it was taken for and so I know it was going to be a test and there was no reason to freak out about it . I think what we have to do now its to talk about what is going to happen next year because it was not the best of conditions for all people.
Q: You said that it was amazing for you to win in Madrid. Would it have been more amazing to have won here …….. now having arrived – what do you expect.
Federer: Well – probably the same. It was great arriving and not knowing here my game was at whereas other players had been playing for weeks and weeks and so they had been to S. America and all I had was an indoor think in Switzerland and so that was what it was………at least here we have 2 days off which can be a life saver and in my situation I don’t think I would have played this tournament if I would have had one day off…….. I mean I took 1 day off to play 6 days in a row and then another day off to play other 6 days,…….in Hamburg and that is why we had all to pill out.
Q: Andy Murray was told off for a verbal comment he made yesterday in his match against Nalbaldian but he later said that he often hears worse from Spanish players but nothing happens because the umpires don’t understand it. Do you thin that people are punished more and do you ever say things in Swiss German on the court?
Federer: No – I don’t. I haven’t said that much any more but yes – if you speak English then you are understood more whereas there are some coaches that you out and speak to the players in their native languages and are not understood.
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