Roger Federer: I Didn’t Even Know Stan Was In My Section Of The Draw Until A Few Days Ago
by Staff | January 24th, 2017, 9:18 am
  • 16 Comments

Roger Federer reached the semifinals at the Australian Open for the 13th time in 14 tries on Tuesday night by thumping Mischa Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Federer smacked 65 winners during the 3-set, 92-minute affair and it set up a showdown with countryman Stan Warwinka. Federer owns Wawrinka winning 18 of 21 meetings and all 13 matches on hard court.

After his win over Zverev, Federer talked about facing Stan Thursday night and the surprise of returning to the semifinals of a Grand Slam so quickly after a long injury layoff.

Q. Did that pretty much go according to plan?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, there are several plans when you enter a match. I think it definitely went as good as it possibly could have gone.

So I’m pleased with the way I started the match. Right away again got off to a great start against him, like I did against him a few years ago. After that, naturally everything’s easier.

Second set was definitely a key to shut it down for him. It was good that I was able to break back after he played a good game there.

Yeah, then in the third set I think I was rolling.

It was a nice match. I think I played great. Mischa had a wonderful tournament, so well done to him.

Q. There was a time in the match when he went to a baseline strategy. When he went back to net play, you started breaking him again. Were you surprised he went back to his serve and volley?
ROGER FEDERER: He always serve and volleyed. Never changed. I think if you look at the stats, I think he serve and volleyed first, second 100%. I think you’re wrong. I hope you’re wrong (smiling). My recollection is that he came in all the time.

Q. Of the eight matches you’ve played since you’ve come back after six months, what has been the thing that’s most surprised you?
ROGER FEDERER: I think winning back-to-back matches in best-of-five sets against quality, great players. Really that’s been for me the big question mark, if I could do that so early in my comeback.

I felt I was always going to be dangerous on any given day in a match situation. But obviously as the tournament would progress, maybe I would fade away with energy, you know, that kind of stuff.

I think now that I’m in the semis, feeling as good as I am, playing as good as I am, that’s a huge surprise to me. Like I said on court, if someone would have told me I’d play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that one for me. For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn’t even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I’m in his section.

I figured it out eventually that he was playing on my days, but I never really looked in that quarter of the draw because that was just too unrealistic for me.

Q. Can you look at Stan, the dynamics have obviously changed from when you first started, now that he’s a three-time Grand Slam champion, talk about how those dynamics have changed.
ROGER FEDERER: Look, like a lot of guys, I was able to play them when they were young, which is, I guess, for the head-to-head an advantage. I don’t care much about head-to-heads in general because I feel like every day’s a different matchup.

So I think in the beginning, he was really struggling on faster courts. I played him in Rotterdam and other places. You could sense in his footwork, the way he was returning, that he was uncomfortable on them.

That’s why it was incredible for me to see that his first Grand Slam he was going to win was the Australian Open. If I would have called any Grand Slam for him to win it was always going to be the French, because he moved so effortless on clay. That’s his base. That’s his DNA really.

I think he’s done incredibly well on all the other surfaces, including grass actually, also indoors, hard and fast. He’s become such a good player, I super respect that, that the guy is able to transform his game around like that, in his footwork, in his mind, also in his game plan.

That’s his transformation, and I like what I saw. He’s always been a believer that he can do it. It shows how far you can go.

Q. Given how well you’ve played without having played for six months, do you think, going forward, you might be able to take longer chunks off?
ROGER FEDERER: Play a tournament, take six months off (smiling). I’ll have no ranking eventually because I won’t be able to win every single time I come back.

I always felt like breaks were important for me. If you think back, I always played, but I always also took bigger vacations, bigger breaks. I know you don’t know exactly what I do in my time off, or when you don’t see me after Wimbledon, what I do until Cincinnati or the Canadian Open or what I do after the year is over.

I remember some years I wouldn’t hit tennis balls for four to five weeks. I think that was really important for me to look at the longevity aspect.

Sometimes I was talking to the team and thinking it was too much time off almost, because I had all this momentum going for me, I would just throw it out of the window for longevity.

It’s so nice to play when you’re confident, because to get that kind of confidence after winning a slam, not playing anymore, it’s a bit of a waste actually. You should be playing then because you could just keep playing with confidence.

But I guess looking back overall, it was probably a good decision to take. I hope the six months are going to help me in the future. But I think it’s still super early stages in my comeback, that I first want to play a couple months now on tour, and really reassess, maybe by April, how then the schedule is going to look like down the road.

I will probably never be able to play 27 tournaments a year anymore. We know that all. But maybe instead of playing 22 you play 18, instead of 20 you play 17. That could totally happen. You always need the right balance, I feel like, enough practice, enough matches, enough time off. I guess as you get older, everything becomes a bit different.

Q. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in Stan off court in your relationship since he’s won these three Grand Slams and is ahead of you in the rankings? Has that shifted the dynamic between you two?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t recall exactly when that started to happen. I remember giving Stan a lot of advice on how he should play certain guys. What I like with Stan is if I would tell him something, I felt like he was able to do it. That showed me that he’s a great player, that he’s got a mind of somebody who understands what I’m trying to explain him.

Some players, you tell them something, they’ve just got no clue what to do, what it means. Stan had that early on, so I think he was a great learner.

Then the day came where he didn’t call me so much any more. He called me less and less. I also felt like I didn’t tell him any more, because he created his knowledge, his base, had his team. Only from time to time would I give him advice if he asked me.

Otherwise I was happy that he was able to let go and go on his own path. I don’t remember when that was, but I think it was sort of a few years before his first Grand Slam.

Q. Have you ever asked him for advice?
ROGER FEDERER: Of course, I have. We always used to talk to one another, naturally in Davis Cup, because then you were on the same team, you would talk about players. It has happened. But it has been 95% of me giving him advice.

Q. Do you think he knows your game better than anybody in the draw and therefore represents a greater danger?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think him and Rafa know my best game. I played him so much. Stan and I practiced so much together. With Rafa, I only practiced once in my life, whereas with Stan, I can’t even keep count anymore. Yeah, I guess those two guys know me very well.

Q. Is it strange, here you are in the semifinals, and a guy who you grew up with was just announced to become a Hall of Famer in Andy Roddick? Did you see him here?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I didn’t even know he was going to be here. Next thing you know, someone told me that he’s here.

I’m like, Wow, that’s so cool.

I hope I run into him. I’m very psyched for him. I think Andy’s a great guy, enormous tennis player. So well-deserved really. So I hope I can run into him. I hope he’s not taking the first flight out again and I missed him, because I’d like to congratulate him.

I’m always happy to see old friends that I can even call Hall of Famers now. It’s very cool for him. I’m super happy.

Q. For Americans, your ’09 final with Andy was huge.
ROGER FEDERER: It was tough, as well (smiling).

Q. Talk about Andy, that match, and particularly his forehand to the open court. You often say that one shot doesn’t make that much of a difference, but talk about that shot, that match.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if he wants to hear about that.

Look, he deserved it maybe more than I did that day. I don’t know. Maybe it was just meant to be for me. Mirka was pregnant. I had just won the French. Things were going my way, I don’t know. Of course, I fought as hard as I possibly could. I had to get lucky as well in the process.

Like you said, he did have that one shot. Who knows if he makes that what’s going to happen. I didn’t break him, I think, for, whatever, three and a half, four hours. Of course, I was frustrated myself.

Somehow I stayed in the match and was able to get it in the end. It’s definitely one of the great matches that both of us ever played because it was also played at Wimbledon, under the circumstances.

I came off of a tough final the year before. I had a brutal loss to Nadal. Of course, I wanted to get back to winning ways at Wimbledon. It meant a lot to me.

If I’m not wrong, he won the last match we played against each other, and I won the first, so everything in between is a blur.

Q. He stated you were lucky he retired because he won the last match. He was joking.
ROGER FEDERER: We joke a lot, the two of us.

Q. Do you feel the faster courts this year are helping, let’s say, the older players in this tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Older players? I don’t know. I understand what you’re saying.

I don’t know. Possibly. I think with faster conditions, the older generation, I’m saying like anything before 2005, they are used to faster courts. From that moment on, it was a switch. Maybe it was shortly before that. I’m not sure. But we had to grow up in faster conditions.

I remember my indoor courts that I used to play on in Switzerland, they were lightning. I mean, I was playing on carpet or something like this that was shiny. You hit a slice, you could stay on the baseline, you knew it was always going to come to you.

Then everything changed as time went by. I think if you look at also Venus, she loves the fast courts. She always has. I think it just is natural for her to play well on this surface because maybe there’s less thinking going on, you just play with instinct. That’s maybe what older guys can do very well because they don’t get frustrated in faster conditions.

It’s also an art to learn that. You see with Zverev, who was able to attack the net all the time, not getting frustrated. Sometimes it very tricky against that kind of player because we just don’t see it so often.

But I generally enjoy it because I like when he puts in a nice volley past me. I just think it’s a nice play. I think there’s nothing you can do about it. Then you kind of move on. That’s why maybe I stayed as calm as I did today. Maybe it has helped me, too, in my comeback, no doubt about it.


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16 Comments for Roger Federer: I Didn’t Even Know Stan Was In My Section Of The Draw Until A Few Days Ago

Van Persie Says:

Yeah, right. He did not watch the draws….


Truth Says:

He’s a phony. What’s new?
He didn’t respect Wawrinka enough to look at his area of the draw.


Gordon Says:

You hear this from a few pros. This is not club tennis. Some athletes focus only on the next match at hand. Some even refuse to look at the draw and rely on their coaches to tell them who their next opponent is.


madmax Says:

Be quiet Truth. You sound like Giles. Goodness me. Give it a rest.

Fed watches his own draw, his own players and we know that. Each to their own.

Analysis – Can Federer get past Wawrinka?

British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith on BBC Radio 5 live

It’s a great match because Wawrinka wants to stay back and bludgeon the ball with huge swings and power.

Federer’s job, in the lively conditions, is to take time away from Wawrinka and not allow him to get into that rhythm. Federer has to come forward and test Wawrinka’s passing shots a lot.

That’s important because I don’t think Stan’s the best passer in the world. Roger will be able to come in a lot because Wawrinka does chip and block a lot of first-serve returns.

The way Federer is playing, even though he has missed six months of tennis, I think he’s maybe the slight favourite from what I’ve seen.


Daniel Says:

Thought the same VP,
First thing they do is check the draws. This is just for media hype, Fed is expert on this;-)


J-Kath Says:

Agree VP + Daniel :

Such naivety….


rognadfan Says:

He said he found out a few days ago that Stan was in his draw. AO Started not a lot more than ‘a few’ days ago.

Petty criticism and debate has been the norm in the world these past couple months. Just look at America! Small/big hand, small/big crowd/ and so on.
So, not surprising to see from Truth and the posse to see this.


Atom Says:

Mr.Truth, come on may be he thought that he might go out early and stopped looking further … its just speculation , whats you problem here ?


Wog Boy Says:

Masters of the mind games, time and time again, this one was the message for Stan, to reinforce Stan’s inferiority complex and to remind him who is a daddy. I believe Stan won’t be able to rise above it, it is cemented in his mind.


Daniel Says:

Atom,

Agree, by what he said seems he was resigned to not going further than Murray should they met in QF, if he passes Berdych and Kei..


Van Persie Says:

“ROGER FEDERER: Of course, I have. We always used to talk to one another, naturally in Davis Cup, because then you were on the same team, you would talk about players. It has happened. But it has been 95% of me giving him advice.”

I like that one by Roger :)…I just remember Wawas reaction, when he was asked last year, after the UO final, if he took advice from Roger :)…Wawas feedback was priceless :D


Van Persie Says:

Just hope, that Stan will win tomorrow. Come on, Stan! You can do it!


madmax Says:

VP! Indeed.

Let’s hope for a brilliant, engaging, awe inspiring match.

Some humour to the proceedings:

A boss, A legend, A father, A husband, A Rod. Congrats on the hall of fame @andyroddick, so happy for you
4:37 AM – 24 Jan 2017

http://www.news.com.au/sport/tennis/roger-federer-gets-one-over-andy-roddick-again/news-story/60efc73f97e4fc782605d5fa22ddb53e

“I mean, the guy’s real obnoxious, he has to win Twitter too,” Roddick joked, before adding that it was “really nice of Roger” to send that sentiment his way.

“It’s weird because you share history with someone. It becomes a part of your definition for a long time,” Roddick told Associated Press on Tuesday. “I’m happy that a part of my definition is as respectful, as classy and as good of a human as Roger.”

Dear Wogboy, let’s hope that Roger wins. Master of Mind games?

Who?


Truth Says:

Roddick must “enjoy” his time in the news; he’s a legend in his own mind and hated tennis news that didn’t involve being Fed’s lapdog. Zzzzz
Pretending to care for tennis when all he is is a jealous, evil, deluded, humorless, greedy, abusive deceitful manipulator of idiots.

Swiss Fraud showed Roddick on a clay court pic.
How sad for Roddick after Roddick said he didn’t care for the news about the French Open favorites.
Not even a genuine love from Fraud.


Bobby Says:

I am impressed with the federer fitness. The semifinals are important. Here is my desired list of who I want the next Australian Open men’s champion to be: 1. Federer. If Federer can’t win I would take 2. Wawrinka winning. If neither of those two win, I would next want 3. Dimitrov to win. If not I would want 4.Nadal to claim victory. I would hope that any combination of the other three would have pushed Nadal to an insane limit and he is worthy of the title. Go Federer.


madmax Says:

Truth,

You are great entertainment value. Thanks.

Top story: Federer Goes Down To Nishikori In First Straight Set Round-Robin Loss At ATP Finals; Djokovic Monday