Have to laugh at Roger fans presenting this as him caring for the game! He's benefited from the slower courts throughout his career - far easier for him to rack up all those Wimbledons and US Opens in an era which didn't favour big servers than in the 90s. It's only now that Djokovic, Murray etc. have a clear advantage over him on those courts and he's a step slower that he has spoken about this issue - he's been on tour 14+ years, is in his 30s - speaking about it isn't showing leadership, it's pure self interest.
Also, apart from minorities of vocal fans on messageboards the vast majority of the public don't seem to have an issue with the court speed. Tennis is far more popular now than in late 90s - the top stars get great coverage, top events sell out etc. I'd be happy to see more variety but the idea that all courts are the same is a nonsense anyway. If they were we'd see the likes of Almagro picking up 250 hardcourt/indoor titles rather than only winning on clay and vice versa for those with terrible clay records. If the hard courts are a little slower it's also true that the clay is a little faster.
So it's great for Federer to talk about the top guys being "protected" but it might have meant more if he'd wanted any change when it would have been adverse to him.
No doubt Nadal, Djokovic and Murray will disagree and why wouldn't they - they'll all favour the type of court that helps them.
Federer beat Sampras at Wimbledon, who is one of the best servers of all time. Not to mention how he manhandled Roddick and other big hitters in his prime. Now when he's older he can overpowered more easily since he doesn't move as well. It's also easier for the bigger players to get to his shots since the courts are slower. He didn't have problems with big hitters when he was racking up his titles.
And it's not like he was prompted to this response: he was asked about it and he gave his opinion. It's not a spontaneous outburst.
On popularity, tennis was hugely popular in the 80s, guess why? It's the players and their charisma and rivalries that create interest, not style of play. The nineties didn't have as big stars, especially the late 90s. Sampras could've been one but he tired to stay out of the spotlight. Agassi was very inconsistent.
What I like about Federer is that he always does things that are good for tennis, not just things that are good for him. Some might actually be good for him but that's not in the back of his mind, at least that's how it seems for me.