Re: Players' Comment on Roger
Here is what Martina Navratilova said about Roger in the "Guardian".
Another title beckons for Swiss magician who has it all
Tuesday June 29, 2004
Every generation has its maestro and for me that's what Roger Federer has been during the last year. He's been magic to watch, partly because he makes it all look so easy and that's always a sign of a genius, to make everything you do seem effortless. He might not have been at his best against Ivo Karlovic yesterday but he still looked in complete control.
Federer could be one of the greatest players of all time, without question. He's certainly got the hands and the balance to be.
These days the modern rackets enable you to do far more with the ball than used to be possible - I know I'm doing things with the ball now that I wasn't able to do before. A lot of players wouldn't know what to do if you put a wooden racket in their hands, but Federer would still be a magician even with a wooden racket. He's got a very compact swing but he generates so much speed and while he doesn't look that strong, he has so much wrist action on the ball and gives it a little bit of extra spin.
Other guys are playing well against him, too, and he's making them look silly. Players have no idea what's coming because he can spin the ball this way and that; he can hit the ball flat; he can serve and volley, ghost in when you're not expecting him or he can stay back. He's got it all.
He's like Martina Hingis with more power and more spins. I don't know what it is about the Swiss, but they seem to produce some fantastic players.
I was lucky enough to play mixed doubles with him in Hong Kong at an exhibition in January this year. When they asked me if I wanted to play doubles with Roger, I asked, "great, how much do I have to pay you?". It was a real treat because he was simply a joy to be on the court with. Then he asked me to practise with him and I got to hit for 45 minutes just one on one, which was phenomenal because I really got to feel how he hits the ball.
When he hits his forehand he can hook it so that he can go cross-court or down the line, tailing away from you because of all the topspin. He can hit a forehand cross-court so that it jumps at your body, which is effective on any surface but particularly on grass because it's almost as though he's inducing a bad bounce because he makes the ball jump differently and that's what his kick-serve does as well.
He's got spin on everything, he's got a heavy slice that stays low, he can float the ball so that it stays low and just dies on the court so you have to create all the pace, or he can knife it so that it skids through. On his groundstrokes he can hit it harder or can hit a cross-court ball that looks like it's going to be no problem until it suddenly takes off in the other direction after it bounces.
Roger looks the part right now and I'm sensing that he is feeling inspired by coming back and defending his title at Wimbledon. It was obvious when he won last year how much it meant to him and how he feels about the place and that's important, because you really have to embrace everything about Wimbledon and grass if you want to succeed here. You could see that even when he beat Sampras in the 2001 quarter-finals. Now Pete has gone and Roger is the king - the man that everyone is trying to get close to.
Because he's a great guy and such a wonderful player, everyone is saying nice things about him but it's important not to buy into the hype about you. Roger has his feet on the ground and I'm sure he's not reading a line of what is written about him. I never read anything that anyone was saying about me, at least until I was out of the singles competition. While it was going on I only ever knew what was happening when the press asked me a question. Reading about yourself can't help you because one way or another it just ends up putting more pressure on you.
Of course Federer isn't the only contender here. Lleyton Hewitt it getting back to where he was and showed that yesterday by getting past Carlos Moya, who has given him trouble in the past but I don't see him beating Federer in their quarter-final. Everyone left in the draw knows that they are going to have to play a heck of a match against the world No1 and even then they will probably still lose. If he continues to play the way he has been, then I don't see anyone taking three sets off him at these championships.
Of course Federer still has things to learn because no one ever knows all that there is to know about the game, but he looks to me like he feels invincible right now. He's undoubtedly the player to beat.