done with the Welt Online interview
"Noone should write off Father Federer" -- 19.05.2009
In the middle of the decade he was the best tennis player in the world. But Roger Federer actually conquered the fans' hearts for the first time, only during the last twelve months, when Rafael Nadal caused him consecutive painful defeats. In an interview on WELT ONLINE the Swiss reveals how he wants to achieve his latest great career goals.
Roger Federer (27) is the most successful active tennis player of our days - till now he has won 57 tournaments, among which 13 Grand Slam Titles. But recently he has shown signs of weakness, he has been defeated many times by Rafael Nadal, and he has been waiting since October 2008 for a tournament victory - until he beat his steady rival on Sunday at the final in Madrid.
WELT ONLINE: Mr. Federer, next week the French Open begins. Where do you see yourself standing right now, just before the major tournaments in Paris and then at Wimbledon?
Roger Federer: I'm convinced that, after a hard year in 2008, I am again fully on the right way. This has also to do with the fact that I feel much fresher and fitter.
WELT ONLINE: Can a single victory like the one in Madrid change everything?
Roger Federer: Sometimes a great success is enough. Everything comes and goes very quickly in tennis. I haven't been saying without a reason, when I was no1, that nothing is for granted when it comes to my dominance.
WELT ONLINE: It seemed like a given fact however - after all you have dominated the tennis world for many years. Now you're still only (sic) no2, and therefore recently people say constantly that you're going through a crisis.
Roger Federer: I myself have created these great expectations/ high standards. When you remain the no1 for so many years and you only lose 5,6 times in one season, with some more defeats a state of emergency will be proclaimed. But I was never in a crisis. I never really lost my calm, and I have always looked into the situation with composure.
WELT ONLINE: Really? Boris Becker, after a sudden fall from the top of the world, once said: Tennis is brutal.
Roger Federer: This is in the nature of things - when you're out there all alone, you can't hide. There's noone to catch (?) you, like in a football team. You can win ten tournaments in a row, everything's great. But even if you lose (only) two times in a row, people start asking questions. Sometimes even you yourself start wondering. That's something you can't prevent.
WELT ONLINE: Many great athletes have felt true/genuine support from the beginning, while you had to walk off with big defeats first. What do you think of this?
Roger Federer: Yes, particularly after Wimbledon, last year. People were sad for me rather than happy for Nadal. I found that almost bitter for him. Many suddenly understood: Federer's wins are not for granted. It makes someone more human, if one loses sometimes.
WELT ONLINE: There have been voices that said, Federer is not receptive to advice, he wants no guidance.
Roger Federer: There are many who say much. I am not standing on a memorial (pontium?) and say: I know everything, I can do everything. I see the weaknesses, I see the strengths. And I bear the consequences. I examine myself every day, I am my own strict judge. Otherwise I would have never managed to have these successes.
WELT ONLINE: Observers have interpreted the latest developments this way: The big pack, that has hunted in vain for years, have now lost their respect for Federer. Because he has no longer the aura of the Invincible.
Roger Federer: Maybe. I never felt though, that there was a great pressure for other players to stand against me. You could get out on court and you had an easy job: either lose, which was nothing special, or be the hero who brought Federer to his knees.
WELT ONLINE: You are still highly motivated, even though you have won everything. Are you ever tired of tennis?
Roger Federer: I love this sport incredibly. There may be a moment once in a year, that I think: Now it would be nice to stay at home. As a junior I had already those zero-willpower-days, because I only depended on my talent.
WELT ONLINE: How much have you been thinking about the Grand Slam Record? Pete Sampras' 14 titles record is to be beaten.
Roger Federer: A few years ago I said: let me win ten titles, and then we'll talk about it. Now I am damn' close and I would like to make it. But I don't chase this goal with sick ambition. This is imputed to me indeed, but it's not true. I read: Federer fails at Wimbledon, at the Australian, because he has Sampras' recond in mind. That is silly.
WELT ONLINE: A few weeks ago you got married to your partner Mirka Vavrinec, and you will soon become a father for the first time. How much will this affect your career?
Roger Federer: My life's gonna change for sure. But I don't feel that this is going to make me lethargic/unenthusiastic. More likely the contrary: this will give me a boost. Our shared dream has always been that our children would be born while I would still be playing tennis. And now the first child is on the way, and I already feel great anticipation.
WELT ONLINE: Will your wife still travel with you so regularly?
Roger Federer: I would like this very much. And we have the means - certainly more than others - to sort out the financial matters and to organise the practical matters. We will be a travelling tennis-family. Right now I feel very happy. And this happiness, this satisfaction in my life - these feelings inspire me. I wouldn't advise anyone to write off husband and father Federer.
WELT ONLINE: Have you already talked to other tennisfathers about the impact of the birth of a child?
Roger Federer: No, not yet. Right now all I wish for is that our child is healthy, that everything turns out well. In the beginning one thinks: is it going to be a boy? is it going to be a girl? But then there is only one thought, that there will be no complications. The attitude is changing very quickly.
WELT ONLINE: The birth date is during summer. Approximately during Wimbledon?
Roger Federer (laughing) : There is nothing to worm out of us - and this is the right thing to do.