Roger Federer: Injury Timeouts Are More Mental, But He Took One So I Did Too
by Staff | January 26th, 2017, 9:46 am

it was his second Top 5 win in five sets of the tournament, but the Roger Federer did it. The Swiss 35-year-old rolled back the clock and stunned No. 4 seed and reining US Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Federer struck quickly, breezing to a two set lead. But Wawrinka, who had left the court for medical purposes after the second, gained an early break in the third and when he broke late in the fourth things got complicated. Stan was hot, Federer was not, and Stan took the fourth to force a final set.

Federer, who was coming from a six month layoff, had to leave the court before the fifth. But a Wawrinka cracked and it was Federer returing for the first to the Australian Open final since 2010.

Afterward, he spoke to the assembled media:

Q. What did you think when you were playing the fifth set? Was it struggling a lot or not?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Like I said on court, the leg wasn’t better or worse in the fifth. I felt tightness throughout the match, and I felt like it slowed me down.

I just hoped that maybe having the physio work on it, that it would make me feel better. But it didn’t. It’s not something I’m necessarily really worried about in any way. So that’s a good thing.

In the fifth, I just knew I had to find my energy again, you know. Play with intensity, play more aggressive, take the ball early, believe in myself, serve good, try not to get in too many tough moments early on, which then I did.

It was an awkward match. Always against Stan, it was always never going to be easy. Especially how the third and fourth set went by, I needed to react really, because he had the upper hand from the baseline.

I thought it was going to be tough in the fifth. I think he gave me a cheap break in the fifth. After that, I never looked back.

I’m happy with my attitude in the fifth. So I’m very pleased, of course.

Q. Are you saying the leg is not going to affect you in Sunday in any way?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, no. If I had to say anything right now, no.

Q. Now that you’re back in the final, can you look at the six months that you had to take off as almost a good thing, something that worked in your favor?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, now it seems like it. It was a good thing to do. You can only ever do so much treatment to feel decent. What I’ve just come to realize is when you don’t feel well, you have too many problems going on, you just won’t beat top-10 players.

At some point you reach a limit, and you just can’t go beyond that. You can play them tight. You might win one of them. You just can’t win back-to-back. Just not feeling free enough, you know, in your mind, in your body.

That’s where both, I guess, Rafa and myself said, Okay, enough of this already. Let’s get back to 100%, enjoy tennis again, enjoy the practice. Not just practice, treatment, practice, treatment, match, treatment. All the time all you’re doing is fighting the fire.

From that standpoint, yeah, the six months definitely gave me something in return. I didn’t go into a direction where I felt like I had to reorganize my life or reorganize my tennis in any way. I just wanted to get healthy again. I’m happy this week has been a good one.

Q. In terms of knowing your limits after six months off, when you’re in a second five-setter against top-five guy here, is that too far?
ROGER FEDERER: Midway through the fourth when I realized my game was fading, Stan was having the upper hand on the baseline, I thought, I guess that’s what I was always talking about. Things turn for the worse, you don’t know why.

But the good thing is, I did have the cushion from the first two sets. I think I did a lot of things right. I prepared the match in a way that allowed me to win it later on.

He definitely, I think, relaxed midway through the third and fourth mentally and played more freely. I, unfortunately, didn’t have the best serving day today. I think also Stan put pressure on me. Things can change, but maybe that’s part of that.

I’m happy with the way I came out of the blocks again. Against Stan, I think that was always going to be really, really important. I know he’s a tough customer in the fifth set. Maybe his knee did not help him. Look, a lot of people carry a lot of things that we don’t know about. It is what it is.

Yeah, super happy I was able to win another five-setter in a Grand Slam. I don’t know how many times I won two five-setters in a Grand Slam. Maybe never before. So this is big.

Q. You said on the court you never take the timeouts. That’s kind of a new turn for you. Did it help to give you a chance to clear your head before the fifth set?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think these injury timeouts, I think they’re more mental than anything else. Okay, normally you would have to do it on court. If you do groin or something like that, or a tape way up there, you have to go off court.

For the first time maybe during a match you can actually talk to someone, even if it’s just a physio. We know him well. It maybe relaxed Stan, you know, just to be able to talk about I don’t know what. The same thing for me, as well. You start chatting about it, how good or bad the leg is, how you hope it’s going to turn around. That can leave a positive effect on you when you come back.

I only really did take the timeout because I thought, He took one already, maybe I can take one for a change, because I’m not a believer in any way that we should be allowed to take a lot of timeouts. But I took it after the set break.

Yeah, people know I don’t abuse the system. I hope it’s going to stay that way in the future for me, too.

Q. You know the media, crowd, everybody in the tennis world would like to see a final between Federer and Nadal again and again. If I were Federer, maybe I would prefer to play Dimitrov. I’d like to know, considering the previous matches, what is your opinion? Best to play Dimitrov, or Nadal for the history?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yeah, you would probably think I have a slight better chance to beat Dimitrov than Nadal. But who cares. At the end it matters if you win or not.

I’m in the finals, I know that. I know I will have a chance to win on Sunday now. That’s a great position to be in. Regardless of who it’s going to be against, I think it’s going to be special either way. One is going to go for his first slam or it’s the epic battle with Rafa.

All I care about is that I can win on Sunday. Doesn’t matter who’s across the net. But I understand the magnitude of the match against Nadal, no doubt about it.

Q. On court you said in your rivalry with Rafa early on, you maybe played him too many times on clay court, and that impacted how you played him. Can you go into more detail on that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, not really. Why give him an edge? I said enough. Maybe I lost the Wimbledon finals in 2008 because of too many clay court matches, because he crushed me at the French Open final. I said that before. I think it affected my first two sets at Wimbledon. Maybe that’s why I ended up losing.

I know Rafa played great in that final. I actually ended up playing great, too. It was similar like today. I was fighting a two-sets-to-love lead. I wasn’t fighting the right way. I think that was the effect that the French Open loss that I actually got crushed in left on me.

That’s kind of the things I meant with it. It was more mentally something at some moments. Now it’s a different time. A lot of time has gone by. I know this court allows me to play a certain game against Rafa that I cannot do on center court at the French Open.

Q. You talk about age a lot. You’re the oldest guy since Rosewall to make a men’s slam singles final, since ’74 US Open. He was 39. You’re 35. What does that give you in terms of pride about your longevity? I know you’re a big fan of the Aussies from that generation.
ROGER FEDERER: Especially Ken Rosewall. We don’t speak about him enough. I think he’s a wonderful man. He wrote me a letter again this week to wish me well again. He does it every year at the Australian Open. Still haven’t seen him, unfortunately. I know he’s around.

I love that generation of players with Tony Roche, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson. We got to milk a cow together in Gstaad. We go way back.

I know he’s a few years older, but I know he had a tremendous career. So to be in the same breath like these guys, it’s a great feeling. I love these guys. It means a lot to me to have equaled something like this since a long time.

Q. You said on court that you’re Rafa’s number one fan. Have you always been able to appreciate him or has absence made the heart grow fonder?
ROGER FEDERER: I just think he’s an incredible tennis player. He’s got shots that no other one has. When you have that, you are unique and special. Plus he’s got the grit. He’s got the mental and physical ability to sustain a super high level of play for years and for hours and for weeks. He’s proven that time and time again. He’s come back from many injuries, you know, time and time again. He made it seem easy, and it’s not.

I think he’s been tremendous for the game. I have a lot of respect for him on many levels.

Q. If it is Dimitrov, people have said that he has imitated your game over the years. Do you accept that? Because of that is he an easier opponent to play?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, only result will tell. If going in, he’s easier because I don’t think I’ve ever lost to him. There you have it. But that doesn’t buy me anything. That doesn’t give me the trophy.

I think he’s playing totally different now to how he was playing 12 months ago when I beat him in Brisbane and here back-to-back. I think he’s got the confidence. Like I said, you never want to play a guy with confidence because he believes he can rip trees out, you feel like Superman for a second. Rightfully so, he worked super hard. He probably believes he’s worked harder than anybody right now.

I think he has a legit shot against Rafa. If he won that, then clearly also against me. I think he’s doing a nice job with his game right now. He’s cleaned it up nicely. He came from a tough place.

I’ve given him some advice, too, because he came to me last year at some point. He was having all sorts of issues. We were just having a simple conversation. I’m happy he took some things onboard. He seemed to turn it around somehow. I’m really happy for him.

Now if the match were to come up, I know I have to play a good match because he does present different things. He brings different things to the table because of the way he plays. Not many guys can do what he can do. He might be similar to me, but I was similar to Pete, too. I always told people, I’m not Pete Sampras. He’s not me. He is his own guy. He’s his own identity. Different character. Just because he played with Nike and Wilson like I did with Sampras doesn’t make us in any way the same. I think you got to give him that, please.

Q. Having not played against each other, you and Rafa, would that help you overcome the psychological edge?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t understand.

Q. Having not played each other, you and Rafa, in a Grand Slam final for a while now, will that in any way take the edge?
ROGER FEDERER: They haven’t played in a Grand Slam?

Q. You and Rafa.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, it’s better than being crushed at the French Open and playing him at Wimbledon again. If you’re looking at that, it’s better to have not played. The last match I played against him, I won, in Basel.

I’m not looking back at that match like, If I win Basel, I’m going to win here. There’s a lot of work to be done. Still super far away from winning the trophy. It is only one more match now. But it’s something I can mentally prepare for. Like I said on court, I’ll leave all the energy here in Australia, and then I can relax after here.

It’s gone much better than I thought it would. That’s also what I was telling myself in the fifth set. I was talking to myself, saying like, Just relax, man. The comeback is so great already. Let it fly off your racquet and just see what happens.

I think that’s the mindset I got to have, as well, in the finals. Sort of a nothing-to-lose mentality. It’s been nice these last six matches to have that mentality. It worked very well so I’ll keep that up.

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16 Comments for Roger Federer: Injury Timeouts Are More Mental, But He Took One So I Did Too

Miles Says:

That’s a very disingenuous headline! Federer clearly means that when the physio tells a player that the injury isn’t bad, that player can play with more mental freedom. He is not implying that he took his MTO for frivolous reasons!

Truth Says:

Fraud is back to being disingenuous. Insults and fake praise from him to pretend he’s sportsmanlike.
Stan should be extremely ashamed of himself. No surprise he fell for mirka and Fed’s mind games and lies.

Miles Says:

Oh, just change the record! Federer keeps being voted the most sporting player on the circuit by his peers – they know how he behaves a LOT better than you!

skeezer Says:

Let’s see.. the truth from a couple of grumblers, or……

That’s the big Truth here.

Look, they both had “dings”,( Fed leg, Stan knee ) nothing major. Fed usually plays through them. Others don’t. This time he decided to take a RARE MTO over his 18 year career. Chill. Enjoy the finals.

Willow Says:

Didnt see the match because of work, both took an MTO no biggie IMO, im the exact opposite to Skeezer in that alot of the matches have been the middle of the night where i am, or really early in the morning when i have to go work, the reason why the AO is my least favorite GS ….

madmax Says:

You should all read the interviews really carefully – those that want to make waves. Not only that, LISTEN to Roger’s on court interview. Um. MTOs, well, you just check the count for the current top 4 and then you can start throwing stones.

Truth, you are a disgrace and a liar.

Q. Did his medical timeout, the timing of it, stop your momentum a little bit?

STAN WAWRINKA: No, I don’t think so. Anyway it’s a set break, so it’s a longer break. I took one when I need it. We both know each other. We’re not the player who took extra medical timeout. If we take it, it’s because we need it.

I took it when I need it; he took it when he need it. I went to the toilet in the same time. If you look in the end, the fifth set, I had some opportunity at the beginning. I don’t think it didn’t affect anything on the score.

madmax Says:

That’s a really misleading headline Staff of TX. Poor ‘journalism’ at its best.

madmax Says:

Now we know it was his adductor –

rognadfan Says:

This Truth guy is about to burst from inside because of the jealousy and hatred that’s filled him as Federer marched to the Final.
Hopefully he won’t do anything nonsensical and dangerous!

madmax Says:

haha! Well, I guess people like him/her are just bitter and twisted instead of enjoying this age of tennis – Fed has just been awesome the whole tournament. I could not have wished for this in my wildest dreams. His speed, agility, finesse and strength, it’s mesmerising.

Travis Bickle Says:

I am not sure why Fedophiles on this site are so upset when someone brings a (valid) point that Federer used a fake MTO. Even otherwise nice and polite poster like madmax calls people “disgrace and liar”, which is a personal insult and in direct violation of site posting rules… More importantly and more dissapointingly, it shows his/her true persnality. Oh well…

Regarding Federer’s medical time out (MTO), he himself admitted of taking it for no real medical reason by saying his MTO was “more mental than anything else”.

Few pro and con analytical points regarding this:
1. Pro Fed – Taking a MTO is not cheating since is ABSOLUTELY within the rules
2. Con Fed – He is the most vocal opponent of any MTO, especially fake/tactical/mental ones took last night.
3. Pro Fed – Wawrinka took a real MTO last night (unlike Fed, he did have a real injury to his knee, based on the tape he was wearing in the Tsonga match), and on top of that, Wawrinka is known to take fake MTO – recall his famous 5-setter against Djoker at AO2013 when he took numerous massages on changeovers…
4. Con Fed – He really hates when his opponent takes a MTO. Just few days ago he threw a tantrum on this very court when Nishikori took a MTO. Fed threw garbage all over his seat and let poor ball kids clean it up after him, simply because he was pissed Kei used a MTO!!! Here is the video:

Bottom line, Fed did nothing wrong and fully deserved his victory! People may point to ethical issue of hypocrisy in how he could be so adamantly against something and then do full 180 and do that very thing when it suits him… But that is more of a question for folks who think Federer is a saint and does only fair things and never abuse the rules. Those folks (Fedophiles) have sort of mental disorder and cannot be helped anyways :-)

Finally, Rafa’s semi will be an excellent preparation for the final since the Bulgarian is “the Federer light”. In the final, Fed should win in straights. Anything longer and Rafa will grind him out using his “safe margins” game, and no number of “mental” MTOs will help Fed. So either Fed in straight sets or Rafa in 4!

Berghain Says:

I did see the match where he threw the garbage… It was a little strange – the way he tossed that water bottle backwards though – like a boss!

Berghain Says:

For all I care he can bring a team of masseuses in bikinis to his next match and they can massage him at every changeover, as long as he wins.

rognadfan Says:

Faking injuries right in front of the whole crowd in grandslams finals is Nole’s thing. USOPen- ring a bell?, didn’t work that time, but that Aussie open totally worked against Murray. Bottomline. Even at Doha, the few games before he broke in the third, he was showing murray an injured self every time he missed a shot or could not get to the ball.
As soon as Murray faltered, everything was magically gone.

Truth Says:

I will never respect the so-called Fed fanatics that showed their true “colors”. It’s not like I care about their bitter lies and their darling’s fake reality. No doubt the Abomination Cult will heckle Nadal.

Swiss Cheese Fraud is used to getting fake sportsmanship awards.
He never had to fight for years to win Davis Cup and blames the many tough clay matches for his grass failure.
Lol Murray beat him on grass and Nadal had nothing to do with Fed’s failure.
No shock that Fed lies about the GOAT Novak and acts like an evil hag.
Princess even moans when the big choker Kei fell apart with an injury.

Fed also threw water bottles and blamed the wind for failing and said Novak struggled badly before beating him in Miami a few years ago. After that, Fed became his true evil self.
Not hiding behind fake compassion for his lapdogs in the weak era anymore.
Spoiled brat cursed in an insulting manner at Murray for having the courage to beat his divine self in the Australian Open.
Murray smiled at him, in disgust. Fed didn’t act like that when the abusive worthless Roddick kissed his butt. LMAO

I’m not a Nadal fan but Nadal will be a respected legend and Fraud will be regarded as lucky in the 2003-2017 years, and nothing important to real sportsmanship lovers (not money grubbing sycophants).

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