Roger Federer: You Guys Think I’m Old, But I Can Run For Hours And I’m Not Scared Of Players In Their Prime!
by Tom Gainey | January 28th, 2016, 8:49 am
  • 44 Comments

After a very rough start Roger Federer at least made it respectable in a 61, 62, 36, 63 loss to Novak Djokovic Thursday night in the Australian Open semifinals.

Federer, who dropped only one set all tournament going into the match, was overwhelmed early winning just three games

Q. Was it disappointing that after you took the third set that you had to stop for the roof closing?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, yeah. I mean, maybe. But then again, I don’t think that’s where the match played out, to be quite honest. The match was in a tough spot at that point anyway.

But maybe with momentum it could have helped. I don’t think so. We were told beforehand that this could happen. It’s fine, you know.

Q. You played him many times. How good was he in those first two sets?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen Novak play this well before. It’s tough when it’s from the start because obviously you got to try to stop the bleeding at some point, you know. Because he returns very well, like Andre Agassi. He can get one or two sets all of a sudden. Those sets run away very quickly.

Before you can really sometimes do something, you know, 45 minutes a lot of tennis is being played and it’s tough to get back into it. I found a way. Started to play better myself. Made a bit of a match out of it, which was nice.

But still disappointed obviously that it didn’t go better tonight.

Q. In 44 matches before you lost to him only once 6-1. He was playing great, but maybe you were a little flat in the beginning or anxious to try to do something too risky?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, honestly I don’t care if I lose a set 7-6 or 6-1. As long as you lose a set, it’s not a good thing. I know how important the first set is against Novak especially at this time right now when he’s world No. 1. When he gets on a roll, it’s tough to stop.

He’s always played very well throughout his career with the lead. Even more so now when his confidence is up. Then I was going to say something else, but I don’t remember anymore.

Q. About yourself.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, you know, of course I wanted to do well. Of course I had a game plan. Of course I had ideas what I should do. I couldn’t quite get it done. Maybe parts of my game, maybe parts of his game just matched up in a tough way and the first set ran away very quickly.

Q. I know it’s hard to celebrate, but that point in the fourth set, chasing down the lob, saving the smash. Pretty remarkable point. How does that rate for you in the best points you’ve ever played?
ROGER FEDERER: Top hundred (smiling). Then I got an unlucky let cord. That calmed me down very quickly again.

But it was a nice point and great ovation. I was very happy I got as much support as I did. It was a cool moment. I wish I was in a better spot in the result.

But nevertheless, yeah, no, I’m happy to pull those shots off. Of course.

Q. For a long time we’ve talked about how great the Djokovic return is. He served impeccably well tonight. Do you think that’s been an improved stroke of his or how did you see it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I said it before many times. I think he cleaned up his game very nicely. Whatever was sometimes suspect before is not as wobbly anymore like it used to be. His serve is part of that. He used to have issues with double-faults. I think he serves very accurate, which is important for a serve.

It’s so important for me, too. You serve close to the line or on the line, it makes all the difference. Especially both of us. We don’t serve 225 or 235. We need the accuracy and the slide and all that. I think he’s done that very well now for many years.

I think it’s definitely helped his game, no doubt about it.

Q. For many of us watching the match, it’s easy to wonder whether you can actually beat him again at a major. What gives you confidence that you could if you come up against him in the next year or two?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I have self-confidence as well, you know. That doesn’t fade away very quickly. I know it’s not easy. I never thought it was easy.

But, you know, I don’t know. Best-of-three, best-of-five, I can run for four or five hours. It’s not a problem. I prove it in practice again in the off-season no sweat. So from that standpoint I’m not worried going into long rallies. I know you guys make it a different case. I get that, because you think I’m old and all that. But it’s no problem for me.

But it doesn’t scare me when I go into a big match against any player who’s in their prime right now. But of course you need to prove yourself. You need to have all that going. It’s disappointing, but at the same time I’m going deep in slams right now. I’m having great runs. I thought I had a tough draw here, so I’m actually pleased where my level’s at at the beginning of the season.

Novak right now is a reference for everybody. He’s the only guy that has been able to stop me as of late, and Stan when he was on fire when he was in Paris. It’s okay. I wish I could have played a bit better, and who knows what would have happened.

Today Novak was very, very good. There’s no doubt about it.

Q. As dominant as you have been the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and so on, since there are not any more the Nadals or the Federers in the next three years, we don’t see that around, the fab four. Do you think Djokovic will be as dominant or more dominant than you have been having no great opponents in the future?
ROGER FEDERER: You have to be careful how you phrase a question. You don’t want to be rude to the other players because you have to face them. I don’t have to face them. I don’t ask them stupid questions like that.

I think there’s a lot of good players on the tour. I’ll tell you that. I think it’s hard to keep up that level of play. What he’s been doing is amazing. I was very happy how I’ve been able to keep up my level. Is it better or not? I don’t know.

I think we’re both, all of us, with Rafa, Novak, me, Murray, you name it, Stan, we’re all very happy with our careers. Of course, you can argue all these cases. We’re trying our best, you know, everybody. I think we’ll all walk away very happy that we were as successful as we were.

Q. What do you think you were doing better in the last two sets that could have maybe turned this match around?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he definitely maybe dropped his level of play just ever so slightly. But that’s all it takes, you know. It’s not easy to keep playing the way he was playing. You can’t read all the serves all the time. I started to get a few more free points. I started to get more opportunities on his service games, as well.

Yeah, you know, just get into the match. Doesn’t take much. Margins are small out there. Even in a match like tonight where the first two sets run away. You can’t get discouraged. You have to keep going, stay aggressive. I think my game started to come more and more.

My rhythm, my timing, all that, was a bit off in the beginning. He took advantage of that and did an unbelievable job for a long, long time tonight.

Q. The first two sets, do you think that’s the highest level he’s played against you?
ROGER FEDERER: I said it before. I think he’s played this well against me in the past. He’s a great front-runner. He starts swinging freely. Usually does it towards the end of the match, obviously when he’s in the lead. It’s rare for him to do that early on.

But the problem is for me, he got the early break and started to feel very free and very good on the night. There was no wind. There was nothing there that could stop him really, other than my playing. That made it tough for me. But great effort by him to open up early really, to be quite honest.

Q. You mentioned the standing ovation you got when you hit that point. You also had a standing ovation in the beginning of the third set. How much did the crowd help you turn things around?
ROGER FEDERER: Definitely parts as well, you know. I talk about it every time, especially at the end of a tournament, how thankful I am for the crowd. It is an incredible run. It’s a big part of why I’m still playing today.

I spent a lot of hours on the practice courts, you know, for exactly moments like these where you feel like you’re appreciated, you’re being pushed forward, they want to see you win, and all that.

I wish I could have one more chance to play another match here this week, but I don’t. So of course I’m disappointed maybe for parts of my fans and also for myself.

Definitely walk away from a place like this and say, I want to come back next year. I want to relive it again. No problem to hit the practice courts. Can’t wait for the next tournament. You know, everything’s easier when you have a crowd like that. I felt that again tonight.


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44 Comments for Roger Federer: You Guys Think I’m Old, But I Can Run For Hours And I’m Not Scared Of Players In Their Prime!

chrisford1 Says:

Federer has a great point. How can he be old and washed up when he can run for hours and regularly beat everyone save Novak these days?

Yes, Novak Djokovic has had his number since late 2012 in all the major events. But considering the level of competition being much higher than the early 2000s when Andre Agassi was in his early 30s, far more physical than when some of the Aussies like Rosewall were pushing their 40s and still going deep at events? Federer is the best senior statesmen the sport has seen on the mens side.

Even with primetime Nole in 2015, who I think is a better player than primetime Roger except on grass – Roger still beat him 3X , and contested him in 2 Finals and the WTF Final.

Props to Roger. He may have a small chance for a last huge win. He just keeps having opportunities he makes himself to contest for the big trophies. And who knows? Maybe he can play better than Nole at one of the big events. Maybe someone else takes Djokovic down earlier and Roger faces an easier target in a Final. Djokovic could get injured or get a nasty illness like he did at the 2014 FO Final against Rafa.

What I saw today was Federer still showing he had the speed and energy needed to win in the 4th set. Today’s manifestation of Roger showed a level of play that could have beaten anyone but a zoning Stan or Djokovic on his A game.

So as a Djokovic fan, take heart Fed fans!! He isn’t CLOSE to seeing retirement looming. Even with no “holy” Majors added – to be the 2nd or 3rd best player at his age – just adds to his legacy.

And Roger has talked about Plan B off and on. Which is if he can’t contest at the top in men’s singles, he is thinking of ending singles play but picking up doubles. That would be good for the sport. Some of the best doubles men are in their late 30s , early 40s.


Tennisfan Says:

Good responses by Fed here. I really didn’t think he’d get as far as the semis so overall its been a good run for him imo.


Ben Pronin Says:

Well measured responses from both guys. I do think Federer deserves a good deal of credit for fighting back in the third and fourth set. When you get blitzed for 2 sets like that it’s hard to keep fighting but he made sure Djokovic had to earn the win.


RZ Says:

LOL. He’s ranked 3rd and in the last 3 slams has been to 2 finals and 1 semifinal, losing each time to the dominant #1 player. Doesn’t sound old to me. At this point in anyone’s career, let alone Fed’s, there is no shame in losing to Djokovic.


Ben Pronin Says:

Hmm so Federer will be less than 200 points behind Murray if Murray replicates his runner-up finish. If Murray loses to Raonic, he’ll move down to 3. If he wins the title, he’ll actually distance himself quite a bit from Federer and cut into Djokovic’s lead (not even by that much though which is crazy).

On the one hand, I want Djokovic to continue dominating. On the other hand, I’d like to see a race for year-end number 1 this year that extends past March.


madmax Says:

Novak right now is a reference for everybody.

It’s such a classy thing for Federer to say, after he was clearly so disappointed with himself.

I just think he is awesome. How tough it must be with all the success he has had to accept this, after being asked stupid questions time and again.

Chrisford1.
No thanks. Don’t need your platitudes.


calmdownplease Says:

Roger is nearly 35
He has not won a slam since 2012
He is not past it compared to most players but he is (now pay attention) past it by his own lofty standards and, seriously, is no challenge whatsoever to Novak.
Now, he could continue until he is 40 and probably have results that most top 50 players can only dream about
While his H2H records crumble and all the rest
Personally, I’d love him to stay just for that.
But I doubt any of it will ‘add to his legacy’ going on!


chrisford1 Says:

Madmax – that is the problem with some Fed fans like you. Born assholes that cannot accept a compliment from another players fan.


Margot Says:

@Ben
I forget which tournaments there are in February but whatever they are, Andy won’t be playing in them.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Chris Ford1 its just many of your compliments towards other players come with some back handed dig attached….


Ben Pronin Says:

Rotterdam and Dubai. Federer is slated to play both. If Murray doesn’t win the title here, I think it’s almost inevitable Federer will end up with the 2 seed come Indian Wells.

CDP, by the same token, Murray is 28 and hasn’t won a slam since 2013. If someone takes Djokovic out, Federer becomes the favorite for any slam except the French.


Margot Says:

@Ben
I’m not so bothered about Andy being No 3 at RG TBH. He did better than usual last year, but don’t think the seeding will effect him too much.
Avoiding Stan before the semis might be the best plan …;)


Ben Pronin Says:

You might not be bothered, but given the way Djokovic is playing and his current records against Federer and Murray, it’s probably a big deal for each guy to land as far away in the draw as possible.

Murray may have done better than usual, but do you think he’s content with that? Federer reached the last 2 slam finals, beating Murray once along the way. At least from his perspective, it’s fair to assume he’d be playing in the final this Sunday if he had been in the bottom half of the draw.

Reaching the final will always be better than reaching the semi. And should either guy come up with a huge win, it’d be easier to cope with it coming in the final rather than having to prepare for another match.

We’ll see what happens this weekend, though. Murray has a chance to completely flip the script.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ben, absolutely right. When there were three top dogs, seeding wasn’t as critical: you were going to have to go through somebody really tough. With one clear king, being #2 is an ENORMOUS advantage.

Have no idea the points situation between Fed and Murray for the next few months. Assume Fed gains here and Murray needs to win tonight or lose points.


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s late positive results over his main rivals after their last big win:

Djoko versus Fed (since 2015): 6-3 with today (23-22)

Djoko versus Wawa (since AO 14′): 4-1 (19-4)

Djoko versus Nadal (since USO RG 13′): 9-1 (21-9)

Djoko versus Murray (since Wimby 13′): 10-1 (24-23)

The two biggest losses Djoko had were to Wawa last year RG and Nadal RG 14. But this are the only wins, other than that Fed is the one who gets more wins over Djoko the last few years.

But judging by the last results it’s clear Federer is the one who gets more wins over Djoko. Nadal and Murray having very lopsided results last 10 matches and Wawa apart from the 2 Slams wins lost 15 matches.


Daniel Says:

Probably Murray won’t play Rotterdam nor Dubai to stay with Kim and the baby, somebody else could confirm, so if Fed can return to #2 by IW with above semis results in both ATP 500 tourneys. Murray is defending Quarters on both, 90 each.


Margot Says:

He’s said he wont play, Daniel.
So Ben you think Andy has a good chance of winning RG? Great.
But Stan won last year, isn’t he at least as great a threat as Nole at RG? ;)


courbon Says:

Boris Becker.
I noticed a new trend on TX of slating Becker for his looks…
So, let me get this straight:
First when he got job with the Novak-good ridance BBC-he was awful commentator anyway…bla, bla, bla (andrew Castle-much worse )
After that it was like this:What a mistake by Novak! Boris is clueless…He will get sacked in a month….bal, bla, bla
But then he proved everybody wrong and;;;well, there is noting to criticising him for so lets laugh about his looks….
WoWW! Very Classy! So he is fat bafoon, ugly mug etc…
Guys and girls,unless you look like a Brad and Abgelina-you should keep mouth shut!
I notice some girl wrote about Boris today-ugly mug!?
Lets not be a hypocrits, because if I wrote, that Mauressimo is ugly horse face ( she is damn ugly, isn’t she?) I would be attacked by Girl Police on this blog, being chauvinist…
And what about Lendl , that great looking, fit guy??
He has a face like a depressed Tuna but because he was Murrays coach, he never got one single comments about looks…
Uncle Tony looks like a boss of kebab shop… So what?
Who cares how they look?
Boris was a damn good player and he is damn good coach… Is that not enough?


MMT Says:

There were a couple of very negative questions in there from the press – they think they have to ask them, and there’s no harm in doing so. But I wouldn’t give up if I were Federer. He could have pulled an Ivan Lendl and dropped Roland Garros altogether after 2008, but he’s continued to play, made two finals (won one) and done QF or better in all the other years. If he had given up (after making and losing 3 finals to Nadal, who at the time was looking almost as dominant as Djokovic) he would have deprived himself of his lone victory there.

I don’t think he’ll deprive himself of a shot at any more majors until he’s consistently losing before the business end of the tournaments. I’m sure for Federer, Murray and the rest of the field is an after thought.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Courbon lol,nice to see you here,and congrats to your favorite on making the final,and yeah OK,OK i will hold my hands up it was me little me talking about BBs looks,but just for you and because i like you so much i wont mention that again,how ya doing BTW ;))….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Courbon the rest is true,although i do find Brad Pitt a great actor,but looks wise hes overated,dont know what the men folk think about Angelina though….


Ben Pronin Says:

Margot, Wawrinka is an enigma. Between 2014-15, he’s 7-1 at RG. Murray is 10-2. Stan’s inconsistency is crazy. I would agree that it would benefit Murray to avoid Wawrinka, but there’s also a chance he won’t have to. With Djokovic, it’s much more likely Murray seees him in the semi or final than not.

As for Murray’s chances at RG, if he were to make the final, then he’s only 3 sets from the title. He might not get them but those are better odds than losing in the semi.


courbon Says:

GG-I was waiting for you to put up a hand! Naughty girl!
I think all that rude language of CDP, rubbed of you…(-:
I’m fine, noting special ( work, family, tennis…)- just waiting for winter to finish…


Gypsy Gal Says:

Courbon lol,well as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of Yorkshire,but you cant take the Yorkshire out of the girl,anyway same here work,tennis,hubby,but alot going on for me this year personally so cannot wait,so excited….


Gypsy Gal Says:

And although i did find BB irritating as a commontator,and rather smarmy,i will say hes a damn good coach,i wish Rafa would bin Toni off and get someone like that….


courbon Says:

GG, Glad to hear it.


courbon Says:

gg, he was not great commentator, thats for sure.But Castle irritates me more…


jalep Says:

god, courbon – you are killing me! On a roll I see today. Thanks for that laugh…


Gypsy Gal Says:

Courbon Andrew Castle more irritating hell yeah tell me about it….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Hi Jalep….


jalep Says:

;) GG. Your bracket is so good this time. Your only mistake was Rafa, I think, if I’m remembering right. I shoulda kept Andy to the final!


calmdownplease Says:

‘If someone takes Djokovic out, Federer becomes the favorite for any slam except the French…’

Tell that to Wawrinka, he’d be amused to hear it.
Who actually won the AO 2 years ago when the opportunity came.
This year the tour will be more of a challenge I’m sure of it.
It won’t be more of the same with Roger being ‘evergreen’
It will take more than you thinking he is 2nd best for him to get over the finish line for number 18, that’s for sure.
The laws of physics can only be warped so much.

‘CDP, by the same token, Murray is 28 and hasn’t won a slam since 2013′

The same token?
I don’t recall Fed being out of the tour for months on end with injury/surgery. and recovery. I just recall him making the most of it as Andy and then Nadal were no longer around.
And he IS 28, that you have correct.
And 6 years is a lot in tennis.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Jalep YAY ME…. ;))….


van orten Says:

Thanks roger for everything. Fellow fed fans .the journey is not over yet …


van orten Says:

Average age of the winner of the ironman in Hawaii the last years was 32!!!! That being old stuff is a pain in the ass For every sportsman in his thirties haha


chrisford1 Says:

van orten,
It’s a mistake to look at athletes in one sport and because some are in their 30s, extrapolate that to other sports.
“WHY not a 35 year old female gymnast medalist!! After all, Federer will be 35 when the Olympics are played!!”
It just isn’t how human physiology works. Especially in sports or activities involving long annual grinds and need for fast recuperation.
So bully for the Ironman winners in their 30s, but that’s as far as it goes.


Pauly Says:

I recall Federer was shocked about the Doha result ?
6-1 6-2 ?
Funny considering he was in that same position in Australian open !


chrisford1 Says:

Yeah, Pauly, great observation! One the writers missed completely.
I daresay Fed was shocked with what hit him. I mean he has seen Novak turn into the Serbinator before, but later in matches. Not from the first point.


Bob Lewis Says:

It really isn’t about fitness. Federer is a very fit man. It’s about reflexes, and his ability to hit effective shots. And picking the right shots and executing them.


joe strummer Says:

he is not scared? his smug face tells otherwise.


jane Says:

hilarious post at 1:58 courbon, ha ha!


Tennisfan Says:

Lol but Boris really isn’t a looker though. The best looking players in their hey-day (imo) were Marat Safin and Bjorn Borg.


Purcell Says:

Chris (weekera) Ford : why would anyone want to accept platitudinous, patronising, vocabulary-poor compliments from you when time and time again you trash other players to feed your Djoker idolatry?


Purcell Says:

So Strummer, how do you get to look smug and scared at the same time?

Top story: What To Make Of The Novak Djokovic-Boris Becker Split?