Roger Federer: ‘I Still Feel I’m Heading In The Right Direction”
by Tom Gainey | October 11th, 2013, 10:06 am

Despite another early round loss, Roger Federer remains upbeat and positive about a season in which he’s earned just one title (Halle), one top 10 win (Tsonga in Australia) and battled a bad back.

“I still feel I’m heading in the right direction,” Federer said yesterday after losing in the third round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters to Gael Monfils. “Honestly, now looking back, I know I took the decision to take the seven‑week break (after Indian Wells) but I couldn’t utilize it the way I wanted to. I was going to have to rest anyway how I felt after Indian Wells, which was really bad. I couldn’t train for two, three weeks after that. t took me some time to get over the issues I had. So that break wasn’t necessarily as helpful as it actually was. But it was planned, but it kind of matched up well with one another.

“But then again, because it’s been a bit more of a quiet year this year, that I didn’t play as many matches, I didn’t have that many tough matches overall, hopefully that’s going to allow me to have more potential maybe to play a bit more next year again. It always goes in phases.”

Federer says he knows the answer to his problems right now, but at 32 can he still execute?

“It’s pretty simple: you just keep on working hard, make sure that you get back on winning ways, then you become confident again, sort of get there,” he went on. “Still losing against good players. The level of play is very good. But important is if you do play the right way and you move the right way, then all of a sudden that margin you don’t have maybe right now, you get it again.”

And now that he’s out of contention for the No. 1 position, Federer admits he’s not interested in the rankings anymore.

“I don’t really care that much about the rankings if I’m not world No.1,” said Federer who is ranked No. 7 this week. “So for me it’s just important to keep on enjoying what I do. I loved my trip here in Shanghai. I mean, Monfils is a quality player, like some others. I lost some other matches this year because I couldn’t really perform at 100%. Probably shouldn’t have played. But I don’t really care having to explain some losses from time to time. I have nothing to say.

“I’m looking forward to Basel now. That’s the next step for me, and hopefully that’s going to go well for me.”

As Federer said, he will now go home to play in Basel, then the Masters 1000 Paris and hope to qualify for the ATP London Finals next month.

You Might Like:
Roger Federer On His Back Injury: I Still Can’t Practice, But Hopefully Wednesday I’ll Be On The Court
Roger Federer: The Loss To Rafa Was Still A Good Step In The Right Direction
Novak Djokovic: My Ankle Is Not Bothering Me, I’m Confident Of Playing Well The Next Few Weeks
Roger Federer: When I Was Younger I Serve And Volleyed, But Then I Became Great From The Baseline
Ahead Of French Final, Novak Djokovic Admits To Sudden Bout Of Fatigue, But Says It’s Nothing Serious

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

46 Comments for Roger Federer: ‘I Still Feel I’m Heading In The Right Direction”

queen Says:

Ugh…what do u say to that? Great Fed play till you 40. God Bless

holdserve Says:

Fed is milking the cow? The tennis sponsorship cow for all its worth by hanging on till at least 2016?

Patson Says:

Roger Federer , the eternal optimist.

SG1 Says:

He’s hoping for one more magical run somewhere. Then he could go out like Pete did.

SG1 Says:

If a draw falls right for him, he could win a slam. Falling to number 7 or 8 makes his life a whole lot tougher come week 2 of a slam. But, if Novak and Rafa take an unexpected loss in a major, he could be right there. A lot of if’s.

SG1 Says:

I don’t think Roger is just going to play for the love of the game. He’s a competitor even before he’s a tennis player. He’ll love tennis the rest of his life. That doesn’t mean he’ll hand around to take beatings from better (and younger) players. If by the middle of 2014, things still look rocky, I can’t imagine he’ll keep going. Champions hate losing more than they love winning.

skeezer Says:

“If a draw falls right for him…”
Problem is, he has had some decent draws this year, but couldn’t capitalize ;(.
Oh well, nothing to say here but we’ll see………….again.:(

Rumble Says:

3 indoor tournaments. All 3 in Europe. All best of 3. This is the last chance Federer has to prove that he can still hack it. A total of 3000 points at stake. If he cannot get a tournament win out of these 3 (assuming he makes the 3rd one), he just doesn’t have any chances in the future.

The old man should retire. He’s losing to much lower ranked players now. He’s 10-6 since the start of wimbledon, with two losses to players ranked outside of 100, one loss to player ranked outside 50, and two losses to players ranked below 20. Wow. THe highest ranked player he has beaten is a 35 year old 13th ranked Haas at Cincinnati.

Rumble Says:


Sampras’s magical run was – well – magical, since he got to win a slam without playing a top 5 player. How often does that happen? Almost never.

And now, its not even clear that he can beat a top 10 player. or top 20.

Patson Says:


I disagree. Federer should play the entire 2014 season. 2014 would tell him if he should play 2015 or not. He should give himself one more season if he’s willing to put in the work. A bad 2014 season would mean he’d had two bad seasons in succession. That would be the time to call it quits.

skeezer Says:

Suggest reading Gordo’s excellant post on the “Fading Federer..” Thread, good insight.

hawkeye Says:

Great post, skeezer!!!

Couldn’t have said it any better Gordo!

Look what Sampras did after not winning a tournament in almost two years!

courbon Says:

@ Skeezer: I just read Gordos and Madmax posts ( just before Gordo’s ) and I could not agree more.
Just let the guy play tennis for God’s sake…

Patson Says:

Well to be fair, nobody is knocking on his door and asking him to retire. Some people think he should and they just say it. Let me know if somebody steals all his rackets so that he can no longer play. Now THAT would be a bit over the top.

courbon Says:

@ Patson: You are right and not right in the same time.People just say it?Thats right but for what reasons? Federer is obviously Ok when he looses match these days, but some of his fans are not…for selfish reasons.They are embarrassed and they would like him to stop playing.Sounds crazy?But its true…
…and there is also some of Nadal fans saying disrespectfull stuff but that’s to be expected.
Like I said-you are right and not.Its just your opinion -you have a right to say it.
But who are you,to say when Federer should stop? You see, it all depends how you look.
By the way, how you feel about Novak so far?

Polo Says:

Federer is still the most popular player in tennis and by a vast margin worldwide. He may not be winning as much as he did before but he still makes more money from sponsors and tournaments because of the way he draws crowds. As long as that keeps up, he will continue to play. That also explains the things he says in interviews. Keep the fans interested and as long as people continue to hope to see one more great match from him, they will continue to come.

Patson Says:

@courbon: He did well against Monfils. Came back from a set down against a player who was playing good tennis. I like his chances against Tsonga. Whether it’s Delpo or Nadal in the final, I predict relatively easy wins for him. He’s playing good tennis – can do better though.

About Federer, I guess you take the good with the bad. If we talk about fan qualifications, most of us don’t even have the right to posit that a certain tennis era was weak and a certain one wasn’t. Yet we do so. People either agree a certain era is weak or they say it’s not, but nobody says “Who gave you the right to judge an era which you never played in ? Did you ever pick a racket ?”

It comes down alot of his fans being emotionally attached to Federer who want him to leave the game gracefully. If Federer’s frequent losses forces them to say that may be it’s time to retire, the correct response is to argue why he shouldn’t retire and not say ‘who gave you the right to tell Federer when or when not to retire’.
That’s more like an emotional outburst.

My two cents.

jamie Says:

2014 will be one of Federer’s worst seasons.

Pitchaboy Says:

He certainly is. It is the direction of retirement.

Alex Says:

Shame on some of you. Roger has done so much for us,when the time comes to giveback, we complain.

I love Roger, let him do what he wants.

By the way, do you think a Guy wins 17 Slams by telling himself his playing cr+P?

The only Potion Fed knows is confidence, so let him exercise his right as Goat. So pathetic to hear people complaining, when this guys dedicated his entire life to the sport.

So he is not allowed to play for fun? God bless him. Probably the only player to love the game so much.

Let him do what he wants and be grateful you’re still here to see him play.

Selfish Era of humanity…

Give me more, Give me more… (see Petshopboystrack).

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Roger is still very positive and optomistic which is a good thing,i once read a book and watched a film called The Secret it teaches you to be positive and optomistic even when everything seems to be conspiring against you,not easy i agree,but Roger continues to remain positive even in a negative situation,to talk with a negative attitude would only bring more negativity,but he has to think positive too aswell as talking positive,he has to believe in himself,and believe what hes saying,sorry if this all sounds like gobledegook,but i hope it makes sense to people.

SG1 Says:

Sampras did beat Rusedski, Agassi, Haas and Roddick on the way to the title. They may not be top 5 but they were still damned good players who, on a good day, could beat just about anyone. Getting Schalken in the semis was a good break but he did beat 4 pretty damn good players to win that last slam. Not bad for a guy who lost to George Bastl on Pete’s best surface only a couple of months earlier.

Steve 27 Says:

So he is not allowed to play for fun?
For money, He and the entire ATP players are not Mother Teresa.

courbon Says:

@ Patson: I read carefully your post and then my post and realised: you are right-I was wrong.
I even don’t have emotional investment in Fed, I just kind off feel sentimental…
Back to present tennis.I have not seen the match so I’m not sure what to think.Very often I can only see Novaks body language and I know if he will win tournament ( right about 80% of the time, not bad ) or not.But this week all the matches are during my work hours, so I don’t have any indications if Novak can win.
Thanks for update.

Michael Says:

It is fine that frequent losses have not diminished the appetite and passion of Roger for the sport. I believe him when he says he works very hard and has the right motivation. After every early loss at a Tournament, we have the Roger speak looking forward to the next tournament in all eagerness. Now, that has become a familiar pattern. Results so far have been disastrous measured with his high standards. It is fine to be oozing with confidence, but one must also take into account the ground realities and the scenario where Roger is not able to match the competition due to his advancing age as well as big father time. As Rod Laver rightly said, it is consistency which ditches you when you become old for Tennis. Roger still produces some magical Tennis for moments, but the problem is that it is followed by mediocricity. I hope Roger lives up to his words.

youyong Says:

I think Roger’s biggest weakness is his pride. The way for him to move forward is to come to terms with how his game and confidence has deteriorated in the past 2 years.

Nadal and Djokovic have always been looking for ways to improve their game but it seems like Roger is too stubborn to adapt his game to how others have evolved.

This year has been especially disappointing for him as there seems to be a lot of self denial in his post loss assessments. I am not saying he did not admit that he played badly but somehow he always says that things look good nonetheless and “going in the right direction”.

It is one thing to keep a positive attitude but another to deceive oneself from the need to change strategy.

I really felt disappointed with his half hearted attempt with a new racquet. I think he expected results too quickly. I don’t think those early losses when he tried to switch was mainly due to the racquet. There is a possibility he could have subconsciously allowed that to happen to show that he should still stick to his old ways (and racquet).

It is really hard to see things improving for him unless he is willing to be commit to adapting his game to how his age is impacting his speed and how his opponents have changed their strategy against him.

That said, I still believe that there is still a lot of tennis in him. The talent and skill is there, he just needs to be willing to make adjustments in his game and strategy to overcome the slump he is experiencing.

All the talk about him retiring is stupid and selfish as pointed out by some of you. Win or lose, Roger still draws crowds to matches and with all the haters out there, some may even pay to watch him lose. So why stop? (This last point is just tongue in cheek.) :)

Nirmal Kumar Says:

It looks obvious for me that Roger is still not completely out of physical discomfort. I have rarely seen him put so little effort on the serve. He does not bend enough for volleys to put enough torque on the ball.

Let him finish the season on his terms. Maybe he is learning few lessons here and trying few things so that he can use his training block during December to good use. It would look bad if he is in similar position next year.

Sirius Says:

im really glad that rogers showing his middle finger to the people who want him to retire. Keep on playin, man.

Win or lose, theres always some of his magical shots that can be seen throughout his matches. Some magic that I have seen only him to do

madmax Says:


He isn’t waiting for one more magical run, you are, I think? He has made it very clear he wants to continue playing – and why should federer fans stop him from this because we want him to win all the time. It isn’t going to happen.

I feel sad in one way, but can honestly say, these moments are replaced, very quickly, by acceptance.

holdserve, you just have to wait, and when it’s your time, I hope you don’t cry like a baby, because your comments on federer smack of misplaced youth and it’s clear you despise him. Grow up please. Acceptance will come soon enough for Roger, when he is ready.

Recently, Rod Laver commented on the state of Fed’s play -as you know – the only man to ever win the calendar Grand Slam twice (1962 and 1969), knows what it is like to feel greatness wane away. Visiting China for the first time this week at the Shanghai tournament, he discussed Federer’s current position.

“The only thing I can say is sometimes when you get to be in your 30s, 30 to 35, somewhere in there, in my game, I played a match the day before, I played a terrific match, played 100 percent, as good as I was [when I was 21],” Laver said. “The next day, I go out and there’s nothing there. So what is it? Is it the desire? Is it your emotion? Is your adrenaline not flowing as well as it normally does in a match? That’s the times I found a problem. I don’t know whether Roger’s feeling anything of that nature. But sometimes I notice him; he just doesn’t have it that day. But the day before he was magnificent.”

Novak Djokovic also weighed in on the state of Federer.

“By his standards, definitely he hasn’t been playing well this year,” Djokovic said. “But also he hasn’t been playing too many tournaments. I’m sure that he’s going to tell you better what he feels, what are his priorities at this moment. … But still he’s a top-eight player in the world. He’s always dangerous. To play against him on any surface is always very unpredictable really. If he’s on that day, if he feels well, I mean, we all know what he’s capable of.”

The bottom line is there’s no denying Federer’s achievements are of historic proportion. No man has done what he has done in the game starting with those record 17 Grand Slam trophies. Federer, as Laver alluded to, can show off what makes him one of the greats, but future expectations need to be dialed back.

His claim to the G.O.A.T. throne shouldn’t be affected by a slow fade anyway. Let’s say Federer retired after winning Wimbledon last year. Why would that make his legacy any better than if he spends the next two years hovering around the top 20 without any more major wins? Everything that happened before is still on his résumé. Willie Mays bumbling final year with the Mets doesn’t affect how we remember his youth.

Anyway, Federer’s too late to for the “go out on top” exit. If he was going to drop the mic, he should have done it after the 2010 Australian Open. Or, even better, he’d have walked away after beating Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009. Then we’d spend the next 30 years wondering how many Slams he would have won. There’d be mystery around his career, an eternal debate about “what could have been?” Federer would have become a modern day Bjorn Borg or the tennis version of The Beatles, who broke up before they faded into a haze of 1970s excess and 1980s synth. When athletes or musicians leave on top, people incorrectly assume they’d have held onto greatness forever.

But that’s not Federer’s style. He’s moving into the Bob Dylan mode of career adaptation and readjusted expectations. There will be tough times (for Federer, this year; for Dylan, the 1980s), but getting through those only makes us appreciate the future achievements even more. If he sticks around, Federer will slip outside the top 10 and then the top 20 and continue losing early at Grand Slams. You’ll watch his game and long for the days when that forehand would have dipped inside the baseline rather than sailing long.

Sirius Says:

madmax, great post!

tennismonger Says:

madmax – great post!

I was able to see Laver play in the mid 70’s – he must have been around Tommy Haas’ age @ that time. Watching his strokes unfurl on that indoor carpet was like seeing a giant swan landing on a lake.

He lost that day to some journeyman aussie whose name I can’t remember. I’ll never forget it & I’m glad I was able to watch him play before he retired for good.

madmax Says:

Sirius and tennismonger, there is so much out there right now (and here), among posters, demanding “Federer should retire”. Rarely do we see anything of what was written in the above link. But I think it is true. Let the guy carry on until he is ready. There is no need for anyone to say that he will tarnish his legacy. How? and who cares?

For me, to have had the privilege of watching fed play live, 5 times – well – to then see him go and never see him play again. I don’t think I will be able to watch tennis.

For me, when Federer goes, I lose my interest. I would rather see him play and then lose, rather than never see him play again.

Respect is all I have for him, to try and try and then fail. I accept that his best times are over, but every now and gain, to watch those shots paint the lines and hit the target, for me? It’s worth the wait.

Federer is the golden guy for me.

I wonder though, whether his team have said, Roger, time is up…and he is saying, No. I want to try one more time. I guess we will never know. And has Laver said, when he was between 30-35, some games he was “on” and then the following day, he was “off”. Same is happening to Fed.

If he is putting the hours in, in practice (and this is what he says he is doing), and still has the motivation (which we all know he has), then it will only be a matter of time before his game clicks again.

To my mind. No more long rallies for Roger. If he is not going to work with the bigger racquet head size, then he has to a) be more aggressive at the net, early on and b), shorten the points.

He has nothing to lose now. In terms of his 2013 season, yes it has been a disaster for him, but if you look at it another way, name me one player on the tour who has been at the top, so consistently for almost 12 years, and only now are we seeing this pattern of him losing much more regularly.

Not only that, it’s the first time in 10 years that he “may” not qualify for the WTF. I will say that again, FIRST TIME IN TEN YEARS. A phenomenal achievement.

I was there watching him play in 2010 and I can say, he was awesome. Just awesome.

So pleased to have seen the fed play live. The most brilliant tennis player to have ever lived.

Good luck Roger, now and please concentrate on 2014 season.

Forget 2013. That was your annus horribilus.

Rumble Says:


Rusedski, really?? Haas and Roddick were barely getting their stride in 2002, Agassi was 32 years old trying to get something going – and he played a tough match againt Hewitt in the semis while Sampras lay it easy against Schalken in the semi. And with no rest day in between semi and final, that was a HUGE difference on that sunday. Otherwise no way Sampras would have won (remember Hewitt and Safin beat him to pulp the previous two years??).

Really, if Rusedski, Agassi, Haas, Roddick were such strong players in 2002 – why wasn’t even one of them top 5?

How often have you seen a player win a slam in recent years without EVER facing a top 5 players?

Don’t try and justify it mate. It was pure magical luck for Sampras in 2002 USO. That’s all it was. Of course, home court advantage helps – he got to play ALL SEVEN of his matches at night – not a single day match (match against Rusedski, which was supposed to be a day match, was rescheduled to the night because Sampras had a tough match the day before – wow, that’s home court advantage).

Home court, no day matches (so he didn’t have to spend that much energy), not facing a top 5 player, getting a lucky break where it mattered the MOST – Schalken in the semi instead of Hewitt (who Agassi got) – Oh, many magical things had to happen for him to win that one…

Alex Says:

There really is a big difference to Sampras. He could play someone his own age in the final in Agassi. Fed would most likely not have that privilege. He probably would have to play Djokovic, Nadal, Murray maybe Delpo, all younger and fitter than him. Plus, these guys are used to fight when things are going entirely their way. Roger didn’t have to do that for many years. It’s tough to change that attitude now.
I think he should have better results when the indoor tournaments start. If not, well there’s a lot to think about then.

madmax Says:

Alex Says:
There really is a big difference to Sampras. He could play someone his own age in the final in Agassi. Fed would most likely not have that privilege. He probably would have to play Djokovic, Nadal, Murray maybe Delpo, all younger and fitter than him. Plus, these guys are used to fight when things are going entirely their way. Roger didn’t have to do that for many years. It’s tough to change that attitude now.
I think he should have better results when the indoor tournaments start. If not, well there’s a lot to think about then.

October 12th, 2013 at 2:48 pm


it’s what’s going on between the ears at the moment. Not only that, Fed needs to be more aggressive at the net and keep the points short. That way, he avoids getting into long rallies, where, these days, he won’t outlast the big boys.

It’s all a matter of time.

Rumble Says:

I agree with Alex. Sampras played a player 1 year older (Agassi) who had had a really tough long match less than 24 hours earlier (2002 USO), while he had an easy one against someone ranked outside of top 20, and a straight setter.

If Fed gets that chance, he could win too.

Age. Age. Age. Matters a heck of a lot. Fed is 32. Nadal is 27. Djoke is 26. Djoke one his first slam in 2008, Nadal in 2005. So they have been slam winners for a long time. Its no surprise that Fed can’t beat them now.

Hawkeye Says:

Last time Fed beat Rafa in a slam he was 25 and Rafa was 21 in 5 sets at Wimby.

Rafa beat him at FO and Wimby when Fed was 26, at AO when fed was 27. That’s three times when Fed was in his prime and Rafa was just 22-23. 5-0 in majors since Fed was 27.

Alex Says:

At the moment I don’t see him winning a slam. Maybe he only needs some wins against some top 10 players again. That would help his confidence. Only one Top 10 win is really bad for someone like him. Like I said, with Sampras it was a different situation. Luck and playing very well came together for him. Doesn’t happen that often, especially at an advanced tennis age.

hawkeye Says:

Well Pete could only beat the players on the other side of the net like Fed did, no?

Patson Says:

Out of pure interest, I spent a couple of hours watching Federer of the yore and Federer of today on youtube.

Federer seems to have gotten a bit conservative with his forehand. His forehand needs to click and he needs to take control of the rally with the first forehand he gets to hit. He should be willing to hit close to the lines which was something he was doing regularly in the past. If he can cut down the unforced errors because of his forehand, a menacing Federer shall emerge.

Serve is one of those things which is a bit hit-and-miss. It’s great when it’s working but there’ll be many days when it won’t. The weapon has to be the forehand. That would allow him to come to the net to finish off points.

jenny Says:

Roger has played throughout his career with “no help” – ie Doko puts himself in a “space coffin” to recuperate and Nadal has blood pumped into him – maybe Rog should try some news tattics

madmax Says:


If there is one strong point about fed’s game, it’s his serve. No other like it on tour. You never know where he is going to place it.

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Hawkeye you are correct that Rafa indeed won those three slams over Fed. Missing from your analysis is the Wimbledon and Australian open matches were classic nail biters in which Fed had plenty of squandered opportunities. They didn’t play much in 2009 and after that Rafa began to have more of a margin as you would expect. Also as far as age Feds b-day is soon after Wimbledon while rafa’s is during the go so the age spread is really about 5 years. After Australian open 2009 they only played 3 times in 09 and 10 splitting 2 matches on clay and Fed winning the 2010 yec. Since Fed turned 30ish Nadal has had more of a margin both recordable and also to my eye. This is as you would expect given that Fed is post 30 and Nadal is in what are generally the Prime year’s of a top tennis player

tennisfansince76 Says:

Recordable = recordwise

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Patson the Federer of yore was a better mover than the Federer of now. thats one thing that is obvious from comparison viewing. there’s a certain abandon in the movement of a young tennis player that getrs lost as you age. a young player can really throw themselves around a hard court

Steve 27 Says:

All great tennis player had weaknesses and Laver, Borg, Sampras, Federer and Nadal are not perfect. There is not a GOAT, and if in the future there will be one would have to be the male version of Steffi Graf. 20 or plus Grand Slams, a calendar or even better, a golden calendar year slam, 30 or plus master 1000, 7 WTF, 7 consecutive years being number 1, 350 weeks at number 1, 4 or more channel slams, 600 or more victories on hard court, 450 or more victories on clay, 150 or more victories on grass, had a 88 percenteage of victories, have a season with only 2 defeats, win at least one major during 10 or more consecutive years, and many more records.

Top story: Rafael Nadal To Miss Wimbledon, Olympics To Rest Body
Most Recent story: Zverev Humbled By Humbert In Halle; Korda Keeps Winning In Grass Debut