Maria from RF.com translated a very interesting interview between Roger and René Stauffer:
"I cannot please everyone anyway"
By René Stauffer
Roger Federer makes balance at the end of a tumultuous year; he speaks about his experiences in Brazil, the light and the dark sides of his popularity and looks ahead.
At 12 clock on a Sunday afternoon Roger Federer invites me in the Hotel Tivoli Sao Paulo Mofarrej, which boasts of having the largest presidential suite in Latin America. He was accommodated here with father Robert, manager Tony Godsick and physiotherapist Stéphane Vivier although this is not the official tournament hotel. Exactly at 12 clock he comes out of the elevator, he seems sleepy and admits that he's just woken up. The two of us sit in a corner of the bistro watched quietly by a handful of bodyguards, who also control the lobby.
Federer orders cappuccino, cereals with milk and mineral water. He talks fast and almost doesn't eat. When the arranged half an hour is over he remains seated and continues speaking. He thinks that it's "cool" that a German-speaking journalist and a journalist from West Switzerland made a trip to Brazil. "There are very few exhibition tournaments of this kind, that's a shame. One sees here a different, more relaxed side of us. The match against Tsonga is among the best that I've ever played - also when the mood is concerned." At 13 o'clock he has to leave for the Ibirapuera Stadium. The waiter asks him to sign the bill but Federer calls out to him that he should sign it for him.
Five hours later begins his third exhibition game against Tommy Haas which he won 6-4, 6-4. "The atmosphere was wonderful and that's why at the end I put on Brazilian football outfit," he says afterwards. He was a bit sad that he would soon leave Brazil, but was looking forward to two play-free days. On Monday he fulfilled another dream by visiting the huge Iguaçu Waterfalls, then continued the journey to Buenos Aires where he is to meet Juan Martin Del Potro tomorrow and on Thursday. "Thank you for the wonderful time," he said to the journalists who saw him off.
Roger Federer , do you feel threatened by the sometimes hysterical onslaught of Brazilian fans?
No. They are just a little loud and emotional but enjoyable. It's the same in the stadium. It's also OK if I cannot give autographs or take any pictures once. It's according to the motto "at least we have seen him". It's similar in Asia. In the beginning, in front of the hotel there were four people, then twenty, then fifty, then a hundred. But I must say that they are very polite. They made a queue around the hotel up to the street and I took a photo one after another for twenty minutes. But sometimes when I don't have time I just give autographs quickly.
You have been announced as a myth in Brazil; you are considered as an icon and a living legend. How do you feel about that?
It already went in that direction when I broke Sampras's Grand Slam record (the American once led the list with 14 titles, Federer now stands at 17). There was so much talk about this when I finally managed to do it that many people were feeling like they were witnessing a legend that was still active. Therefore it is difficult for everyone to classify me. I always say: let me play and then you can judge me. Tennis already experiences good times because Nadal also won all four Grand Slam titles and has set records that I can never break because he set them at such a young age. So we have two players on the tour who move in spheres in which just a little number of players can penetrate. I already feel this, especially in places where I've never been or I've been a long time ago like in Japan or also in Stockholm, where even an hour-long practice session is broadcast live. And I feel it extremely well here too.
Do you feel that 2012 changed anything? After all at the age of 31 you became Number 1 and won Wimbledon once again. Many didn't believe that you'd ever do that again.
Maybe, yes. I think that something has built up over the years but it's true: this was another great year for the people who supported me and hoped that I would celebrate major triumphs once again. I started playing great last year and the question was whether I could become again No. 1 with Wimbledon and the Olympics. Then a simply wonderful summer followed and people saw that I could still keep up with the top guys, win and become the world number 1. And if I have managed to do it now, then I could succeed also in two years. Now many believe in this again.
But not all.
No, not all. Exactly like others believe that I could never fall out of the top 4. But that's also okay; there is the entire spectrum of tennis fans and you cannot have everyone supporting you. I don't want that either.
Which of the many encounters of your six-day trip to Brazil has impressed you the most?
The one with Pelé for sure. I met him at his home on Saturday, it was unbelievable. He is a myth to the 10th power and when you see him you think, wow, he really exists... (laughs). He is one of those larger than life personalities. You come in and he hugs you immediately; he also feels comfortable with the colleagues that I brought with me, who of course want to document everything in film or photos. He was glad to meet me and looked amazing. I can count myself being lucky that I have such opportunities. But I also enjoyed the encounters with the boys who played football or the tennis clinics with the kids - I love doing this the most anyway. Of course I also had meetings with a lot of officials, politicians and businessmen who helped to organize the tournament. But I liked them too as well as the meeting with the fans.
Is there anything you do not like?
No - as long as people appreciate it. But when I realize that they do not care, I get less desire to do it. However, I met more fans who collapsed in tears here than anywhere else. It was amazing how many were shaking, had great joy and began to cry, so I had to practically hug them and say: It's okay, it's okay ... I'm leaving this place with remarkable impressions.
Did you expect that?
Not at this level. I thought that they would surely be glad to see me, that there would probably be a certain euphoria. It had been spoken about these matches for a long time. But I haven't expected to have so many memorable encounters.
Have you sometimes chuckled to yourself at being so idolized because you secretly think: but I'm just Roger from Münchenstein?
Yes, logically, clearly. I have to constantly remind myself again about where I come from and tell myself who I am. I still like the normal life too - back to reality, family, friends, just quiet, please. And then, sure, sometimes I dip into the other incredible life that I have. I often think that it's crazy how much I've been through and experienced at my age and that this brings me enormously further as a person. I'm aware of how much tennis has given me and I should always be grateful for that.
Two weeks of a quiet family vacation are behind you and now you are having 10 days of hectic life without wife and children. The contrast must be huge
Yes. But that's exactly why I also needed these quiet holidays. If I had a different job, I would spend the holidays differently and would do many more things. But I should have a complete rest so that I can do things like that and survive the hype surrounding me with no problems. I slowly get control over this. I didn't see my family for 10 days already during the tournament in Shanghai so this is not the first time. After all we can see each other via Skype.
The season just ended in London and now you are already at the beginning of the preparation for the new year. There won't be a peaceful Christmas?
I will train the hardest around Christmas. This is one of the sacrifices that I must make. But okay, that's how it is. I have already spent Christmas and New Year on the plane. When I arrive in Australia I'm going to have three days off. I should take care to hold back before the first Grand Slam. And during the hardest training block I make sure to sleep for at least eight hours or rather ten, eleven hours. Thus I can recover well. During tournaments there are fewer short nights like this when I can sleep only five or six hours. When I play Basel, Paris and London in a row I sleep late almost every day for three weeks. I need this too; you have to find a way also when you are not on holidays. My physical therapist also helps me to pull through.
For the first time you don't play another tournament before the Australian Open. How risky is this?
I had a contract with Doha according to which I had to say six months in advance if I would play. I said: I can't play longer than 2012. Besides, the last time I got injured in the semifinals. One of my big goals for the coming year is to train a lot and improve my game and stamina.
Let's talk about more sensitive topics. Your image improves abroad but it has recently gotten some scratches in Switzerland because of the stalled contract extension with the Swiss Indoors and your reluctance to play the Davis Cup. Does that bother you, are you aware of it all?
Yes, logically. I'm also asked about it. A lot is told and sometimes I cannot even comment on it which surprises me. But you cannot fight against everything. And I shouldn't be afraid either to make unpopular decisions. I plan long term and hope that perhaps I could still play the Davis Cup in two, three, four years. But no one thinks about it because everyone is so focused on the current moment and doesn't understand all that I've been through.
What are the difficulties of the Davis Cup?
I have to explain this for hours. In some countries and for some people it is not important at all, in other countries and for others it is very important. I don't make such decisions acting on instinct but rather ponder for months. Now I came to the conclusion that for me it would probably be the only right decision (not to play against the Czech Republic in early February). I could take part, but then I would only play four or five Masters 1000 tournaments instead of eight or nine. And next year I won't play Abu Dhabi (exhibition tournament) and Doha either and will only play one or two 500 level tournaments.
Miami is not on your schedule either.
Yes, it is difficult to make all this comprehensible so there's no point to explain much. I just hope that people understand me and trust me that I have thought it over well. And if I may say something about Basel: I had been aiming for a long-term contract before the tournament so that exactly such things don't occur. When I realized that we had a communication problem, I guessed that we would end up talking only about money. But I was also aware that there was good will from both sides and that everything would end up well. Ultimately, however, it was presented as though I demanded I don't know what and that my home tournament was no longer important to me. That is absolutely not true. In addition, people must understand that planning is difficult for me mostly because Basel, Paris and London take place one after the other. Then some people say: he is supposed to skip Paris, it won't be a big deal to miss it for once. As I did this year. But even then nobody says: Thank you for Basel.
Besides if you have had a good result in Paris, you would have had a small chance to finish the year as number 1 at the ATP finals.
Exactly, you never know. I do not want to go too deeply into the details. You have to be able to deal with it. But yes, it hits me and makes me sad when I read untruths. But at the same time I know that I will give my maximum to be the best ambassador of Switzerland and I am proud that I can travel the world as a Swiss. For me the Davis Cup is not the only competition in which you are representing your country. For me the Olympics and other tournaments are also a part of it. I'm always addressed as Swiss and I see Swiss flags everywhere. Things with Basel just turned out bad but all this will be straightened out in the next few weeks.
Another criticism is the big amount of money that you earn. It should be more than 50 million euros yearly; the South American tour alone will bring 10 to 12 million francs; a new deal with Moët & Chandon has just been signed. Are jealousy and resentment just the dark side of success?
I can't please everyone anyway. If I had no contracts, it would mean that I had done something wrong. But to my knowledge those complaining about my contracts are not so many. It is important that I'm not omnipresent especially in Switzerland. I don't want that there is a Federer-overkill and that's why I say: less is more. But what can I do when the media like reporting about me because they know that people like reading it? One should just deal with the fact that this might bother maybe 10 percent of the people. I have gone through many things, a lot has changed during all this time, but the important thing for me is that I myself don't change. And if I know how I really am, what is written is not so important anymore.
Much of what concerns you is blown up. A sign saying "Keep Out" on your property at Herrliberg is even a headline for some people. Does that bother you
These are personal things and I do not want to explain why this happened. But when I read this, I cannot believe that something like that is in the newspaper. I'd like it if it were not written about where I live and so on. This has to do with the fact that I do not want to suddenly have tour buses coming, tourists walking around and disturbing the neighbors. And I don't even have a house there, it's just a piece of land. I just hope that I can have a quiet time with my family in Switzerland and I think most Swiss understand that too. Because they would want to have the same as me. And that's why I try to make myself unnoticeable when I'm in Switzerland. I still visit public places though. I can lead a normal life in Switzerland and I want to be able to do so in the next 50 years.
You and Tony Godsick both left the agency IMG at the end of May. Since then there hasn't been any announcement on how it will go on from here, but right now you are working with the American closer than ever before. Will there soon be a new company?
Exactly... it was a tough year, there was no time for everything. We need to discuss this calmly and we've been in the process of doing so since the U.S. Open and will continue until the end of year. Therefore, I expect that we can announce something in Australia. The end of the contract for both of us fell right in the middle of the French Open, followed by Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open. At this stage it was important that I could concentrate on tennis and that I was not distracted too much. But it goes well, Tony was great in this process, I am very pleased with it. However, he was also somewhat run down by the Basel-story.
You will be 32 next year, plan to play less and say that the world rankings will not be that important to you anymore. Can you imagine still playing as number 8, 10 or 20?
We'll see then. The goal is not that I finish 2013 as number 20 even though that is still a good ranking. Being number 20, you can get to 10 in a week and then become 5th in another week. You can move very quickly forward or backward. You can see that with players like Nadal who are injured for a long time.
After all he is still the number 4
True, but in the coming months, he must defend all points. If you have ever played at such a level, it would be difficult to permanently lose in the first or second round. But even the number 25 already has a somewhat even match balance - he wins and loses about 25 matches. When a player wins 2 out of 3 games, he is almost in the top 15. But no, I am not oriented towards the rear. I want to assert myself more in the top 4. This is important to me. I will focus extremely on my tournaments, just because they are not so many. However, if one considers this season, it is striking: I won sick in Indian Wells and injured in Madrid (hip), and I was injured in Rome as well. But nevertheless it was also thanks to these three tournaments that I became number 1 in the end. This is a phenomenon in tennis: when you are injured or ill - as I was at Wimbledon in 2003, when my back was blocked and I still won the tournament - sometimes you play the best. Because the pressure drops and you just play point by point whereby the level rises.
So you still have high ambitions, you don't want to finish off your career slowly.
Just because I can prepare better for the tournaments, I expect myself to get a better chance to compete well also against the best players. This year I was enormously constant so I want to continue this way - always to reach the semifinals and give myself chances. And then it depends on how the win-loss record against the best looks. It was not so bad in the last few years; I want to improve it even more. And for that I need to train enough and have sufficient confidence.
It is noticeable that you haven't won a tournament since August. That's a big contrast to the previous two years when you ended the season practically unbeaten and won three titles. Does that worry you or was it simply as a result of the summer and a lack of practice?
A little maybe. But I should have won in Basel and then everything would look different. At the U.S. Open I played okay and should have won the first set against Berdych, even though he played strongly. Yeah and ... In Shanghai I had the feeling I just played in order to secure my 300th week as number 1. There in the semis Murray was really better. Then I played better in Basel and very well in London. And we speak of four huge tournaments. One should be able to deal with losses. I have not thought even once that the end of my season was bad.
I didn't say that.
I know. But at the end I was on the way up, so I didn't have to panic on the beach.
What also struck was that in the summer you said that Rio 2016 was still far away. Now you point out that it's not so far.
It all depends on how you look at it. If you play 25 tournaments each year, it will be incredibly a lot. But by planning a more simplified schedule in 2013, I get some air and can look ahead relaxed. When I was asked in the summer how it looked like with Rio, I said: stop talking about this. But when you take some important decisions, the next two years look much easier. Sometimes I have to make unpopular decisions so that I don't feel so restricted. That's why I also say: each player must manage his own tournaments and stop complaining how full the calendar is. You can play whenever you want. This is not like skiing where the season is over when you get injured. Nadal is injured indeed but once he is fit again he can play again.
One last question about Brazil: you didn't only meet Pele here, but in an advertisement you also appear with football stars like Lucas and Ganso as well as playing volleyball. Did you get to know all these people during the shoot?
No, no, that was all virtual (laughs). It was weird for me too. It was the same in the advertising with Tiger (Woods) and Thierry (Henry) - we never met either. Well, we shot my scenes in a studio in Dubai in front of a canvas. Probably this is also how they make all the Hollywood movies - and suddenly there is an alien there. For me it was an amazing experience to see how it was set up and when they tell you how somebody is now brushing your shoes or you give someone a high five even though he is not present.
Original source: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/sport/te...story/21002961
Maria's translation is even already mentioned by Stauffer on his twitter