I translated a long interview with Roger for RF.com and thought to post it over here as well:
„To be #1 again would be a crowning moment”
By René Stauffer
Roger Federer is looking ahead to a centenary summer in tennis. The 16 times Grand Slam winner knows which big chances he has and does everything in order to use them.
Roger Federer arrives alone, without his manager, without press advisors or overseer. The 30 years old Grand Slam record winner has invited 6 Swiss tennis journalists into the Panaroma hotel Feusisberg. At first there is a group interview and afterwards one-on-one interviews. Federer seems at ease but serious and it feels that he is in the middle of the preparation for one of the most important stages in his career.
From May 6th there will be the big clay tournaments in Madrid, Rome and Paris and the grass events in Halle and Wimbledon within 2 months. And then there is the Olympic tournament which takes place in Wimbledon from July 29th to August 5th.
You are in a six weeks stage without a tournament. Do you make the attempt now for this unique tennis summer with the Olympic Games in Wimbledon as an extra bonus
That I lost early in Miami (against Andy Roddick) and we didn’t have to play in the Davis Cup was surely quite lucky under the circumstances. I had more vacations and can do a better build-up. But I left everything open this year. When we had won in the Davis Cup against the USA I would have maybe skipped Indian Wells and Miami. From Madrid to Wimbledon I will maybe only have one free week and afterwards there will also be a huge stint and therefore a longer break was necessary.
Madrid will be played on blue clay for the first time. What do you say about this revolutionary innovation?
I have no idea how this will go to be. We were against it, Nadal even vehemently and I support him. He fears that a tradition is getting broken and that one tournament director wants to have blue clay, the other one grey, green or red one. I’m also for traditions but I can understand it that new things have to get tested. The clay in Madrid has to be perfect though otherwise it will be a debacle for the tournament.
You are not vehemently against it?
I’m against it because Nadal is against it and we would have other options. But tournament director Ion Tirias has insisted ad nauseam. In the end we said: He does a lot of good things for tennis so we let him go with this one. But it isn’t good that he has such things in his hands.
You went from Miami to vacations in the Caribbean. When did you start to practice again?
Already at the end of the holidays I started to practice again. I let Jesse Levine fly in as a sparringpartner. When I came back to Switzerland in the middle of April I fully started to practice. I didn’t had any problems with the weather as I started to work on my condition with Pierre Paganini first. But I played enough tennis. Beside Paul Annacone and Severin Lüthi there was Michael Berrer here for a week. I’m totally on the timetable.
Do you have respect of all the waiting challenges during this summer?
There is a wonderful stage ahead of us with many highlights. Therefore the motivation isn’t a problem. We tennisplayers are really privileged to have so many highlights. I divide the next months in 2 blocks: First the stage with French Open and Wimbledon, then a 3 weeks break before the Olympic Games and the hardcourt season in North America.
Which tournament would you like to win in 2012 the most: Paris, Wimbledon, Olympic Games or US Open?
For me Wimbledon has always been the nonplusultra and it is still special for me.
That we have the chance this year to play there in the same stadion one month after the Grand Slam tournament is huge luck for our generation. It is nice for me to have chances everywhere. I hope that I can win a few of those tournaments.
If you could choose: Would you prefer to be Wimbledon- or Olympic Games winner this summer?
I don’t have any preference there, both is equally important to me even though Olympic Games has the bigger scarcity value. Many people think that I would reach more for Switzerland with a victory at the Olympics but I don’t see it like this. It gives me pleasure that we go to Wimbledon with a strong generation – with Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and I. The tennis tournament will be on everyone’s lips. This should be good promotion for the future of tennis at the Olympic Games.
Does it increase the pressure that it could be your last Olympic Games?
I don’t think it’s impossible to play in Rio as well. We have pressure everywhere. What makes the Olympic tournament dangerous is the fact that it will be played over best of 3 at the beginning. 10 weak minutes will be enough and everything can be over. It’s another event like the Grand Slam tournaments.
Will you stay in a house in Wimbledon for the Olympic Games as well?
Yes, we have rent the same house for both tournaments. It will be a new one again. The lessor from last year didn’t want to give us the house this year again.
Is it a big aim for you to defend the title in doubles with Stanislas Wawrinka? You only played seldomly together and are only ranked #1272 in doubles.
The doubles in the Olympics are a huge aim for sure. But it is difficult for me to play there as well. I play so many tournaments and had minor problems with the body. I felt my feet the whole time in Rotterdam, the Davis Cup and also in Indian Wells. The only thing which is going to help you is vacations and rest. It wouldn’t be smart to play doubles beside singles. But I hope that I can play somewhere before the Olympics with Wawrinka. I have to approach him, he is always accessible.
Most of your fans think mainly about two questions: Do you get back to #1 and win a 17th Grand Slam title?
I don’t know. But you can see which incredible chances I still have. We talk about absolutely big success here. That is also the reason why I work hard and give everything. The #1 is possible for me this year but I have to play extremely well. Djokovic can win his 4th consecutive Grand Slam title in Paris and when he manages to do this it will be very difficult for me to get #1 within the next time. You have to respect this. But he hasn’t won in Paris yet and when I continue to play well I am at least in a good position – if I would be able to win a Grand Slam title.
Would it be the crowning moment?
To get back to #1 would indeed be a crowning moment, absolutely, it would be incredible. Therefore I’m doing everything for it and played more tournaments.
In Monte Carlo you could have theoretically get back #2. Didn’t you felt tempted to play there?
Yes, but at some point it gets too much. I didn’t played the tournament in Rosmalen back then when I could have stayed #1 for one more week and break the record of Pete Sampras.
Why have you refused the offer to play a show match in the Bernabeu stadion of Madrid on July 14th against Nadal?
The date – the first Saturday after Wimbledon – doesn’t fit me at all. I will be on vacations then. I could have done it one week later but it wasn’t possible. It would have been great and I now hope that he will have success with Djokovic.
Has your relationship with Nadal in the last months cooled down because of the dissensions you had? He has stepped down from his position as vice precident of the players council – of which you are the president.
We surely have seen each other not that often. He wasn’t in Rotterdam and Dubai, I wasn’t in Shanghai and he wasn’t in Bercy. We only saw each other in London, Melbourne and briefly in Indian Wells. We have a bit more distance at the moment compared to times when we saw each other for weeks nearly daily. That’s one of the reasons why there have occurred certain problems as we couldn’t communicate that often. That shouldn’t be an excuse though. But I also think it’s normal that we have differences in opinion. I don’t have a problem with Nadal no matter what he says or thinks. What’s important is that he keeps on being interested in the political goings-on on the tour and that he wants to actuate things.
Do you support Nadal with the blue courts to enhance the goodwill again?
That has nothing to do with it. This topic has been talked about one year ago before our dissensions about the election of the new ATP president or the system of the world rankings.
There’s not much to win for you as president and you already got criticizes by players as Nadal, Stakhovsky or Davydenko. Haven’t you ever thought about to chuck in the job?
When I would react spontaneously I would have maybe already resigned. But I never felt personally attacked. Many players exaggerate with their threats and then nothing is gonna happen anyway. Some wanted to go against the Grand Slam tournaments way to aggressively as they think that they don’t get enough of the big profits. Roland Garros and Wimbledon have meanwhile reacted and gave answers and now everyone is more satisfied.
Wimbledon has increased the price money now. Players who lose in the first round get 26 % more as last year. Is this a way for success for the council?
Yes, that’s a success for all involved. Important is that the Grand Slam tournaments are fair. They can do whatever they want as they have a secure status. In the last 10 years the price money mainly has been increased for the later rounds and now it was important that the others would get a chance. The tournaments are in better positions and now the players get something back. It doesn’t have to be 50 % like it has been in the NBA but also not that less as at the US Open.
At the French Open Nadal can write history beside Djokovic when he wins his 7th title. Do you see yourself as a potential spoilsport in Paris?
No. But it is incredible for Djokovic that he gets the chance to win his fourth consecutive major title. I had the same chance twice and Nadal had it in 2011 in Melbourne. It has never happened in the history of tennis that three players had this kind of chance within such a short time. I think it’s great that the best players play that well at the moment. When I don’t win a tournament it’s most of the time another player of the Top 4. That’s quite incredible.
You have been the most in-form player overall in the last months but neverless you are still a bit in the shadow of Nadal and Djokovic. Do you mind this?
It also has to do with the fact that I didn’t play in Monte Carlo whilst Djokovic won in Miami and Nadal in Monte Carlo. You only have to go on vacation and everything is different… But I really enjoy it to completely disappear and don’t have to talk with anyone. I’m omnipresent all the other time – in tennis, in Switzerland. I’m pleased with my situation.
Do you catch yourself thinking about your life after tennis? Your girls are growing-up and are nearly 3 years old. What kind of influence does this have?
It’s a great situation for us. At the moment we think about where we want to live one day, where the girls go to school. That hasn’t been decided yet. There are small things which I have to decide slowly. It is nice for me that I can influence their way, nearly day by day with our education and the rules we make for them. I’m often thinking about what I would do when I would stop to play tennis. If I would work as a coach, play showmatches from time to time as Pete Sampras…
… or senior tournaments as the Zurich Open in the Saalsporthalle…
Exactly. I don’t have an idea yet. It depends how fit I would be, how much I would like to travel, how much I’m occupied with my foundation. A lot of things are possible as I met so many people. But I know that I’m a tennisplayer and that is what I want to be – and that’s what we concentrate on fully now. Everything else can wait.
You bought a property in Herrliberg. Is it decided that you are going to live there one day?
It is an option to build something there but we haven’t decided anything yet.
Do you want to have more children?
We are enjoying the little ones yet which keep us on the run the whole time. I think we will talk about it next year. At the moment this decision is a bit afar.
You were in the stadion when the ZSC won the ice hockey championship. You looked a bit shocked or is this the wrong impression?
No, I wasn’t unmoved. I sat there with Seve (Lüthi) and he was extremely for the SCB. At the deciding goal I thought: “Oh my god, that can’t be true.” But this is why we like to watch sport as we don’t know what is going to happen. It was brutal for the SCB but an incredible performance by ZSC. I had a lot of fun as I like to watch icehockey. But I felt sorry for the Berner fans and players. But they had their chances and you have to live with something like this.
Original source: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/sport/te...story/18230641