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post #286 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 12:58 PM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Serena is not cocky but confident like Rogi. People need to stop it.
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post #287 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 01:27 PM
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Illusionist Federer turns winning into an art form
By Simon Barnes, Sports Writer of the Year

IT WAS a horrible day and it rained all the bloody time, but it was worth
going to Wimbledon for the sake of two minutes. That was the first game of
the semi-final, as served by Sébastien Grosjean. Five points later, he was a
break down, mesmerised, spellbound, entrapped by tennis of precise and
exquisite beauty. I scarcely need to write the name of his opponent, but I
will do so out of journalistic good manners. Roger Federer, of course. No
one else spellbinds.
He carried on spellbinding for as long and as late as the weather permitted,
eventually forced off Centre Court when leading 6-2, 6-3, 4-3. It was not so
much a semi-final as a rain-soiled masterclass.

And I am reminded of stories about the trainee pilot who was so insanely
gifted that all the instructors used to come out and watch him land. Or the
music teacher who sobs to his pupil: "Go avay! I can teach you nuzzink! From
you I only learn." It is as if a Mozart symphony had been somehow translated
into sport: an expression of unapologetic genius, unreachable virtuosity,
talent of an order that it is as far beyond reach as it is beyond analysis.
Yet it is not skill for its own sake. You feel that the skill feels so
natural and so inevitable to the person behind it that he sets very little
store by it. I have just read that Mozart comparison back. It is, I think,
at the same time utterly apposite and ludicrously inappropriate. Because
sport is not art. Federer is not attempting to beguile our senses and make
us sigh with pleasure. He is not an artist. He is a businessman, and his
business is the winning of tennis matches by any means that come to hand. It
just so happens that the Federer method is stunningly beautiful.
Federer just looks like an artist and his victories look like works of art.
His victory in the previous round over Lleyton Hewitt was a minor
masterpiece, his first game against Grosjean was a perfect fragment. A
sprawling canvas, a miniature. A four-act blank-verse drama, a haiku.
Somehow, Federer demands such high-falutin' comparisons.
It is an illusion, that Federer is seeking to create art, but it is a very
appealing one. All sporting encounters have some element of drama, some
narrative line, and when these are accompanied by skill of such a beguiling
kind, it is almost impossible not to start thinking of them as art.
A dancer seeks to create beauty; Federer seeks to create game points and set
points and match points. But the way he goes about it is unquestionably
beautiful and seems to involve the illusion that he is creating for us a
spontaneous work of art. No one says that of Andy Roddick, or even for that
creator of the most twisted and tormented narrative lines in sport, Tim
Tennis is not art. It is a duel, the opposing of one will against another.
How can that even look like art? The answer is in the illusion that Federer
creates. It is something you see at the highest levels of all forms of sport
and especially of the combat sports.
Federer somehow makes his opponent look not as if he were opposing him but
co-operating with him. Not opponents but collaborators. It is the most
extraordinary illusion. You can see it perhaps most clearly in judo, when
the person thrown seems somehow to assist his thrower, to be thrown by long
prior agreement, a matter of hard-practised teamwork. That same illusion is
sometimes to be seen in Muhammad Ali at his fastest and finest; in George
Best, in David Campese, in the Brazil football team of 1970. And if that
seems to be paying Federer a high and rare compliment, it is because that is
There is an illusion within the illusion. It is as if Federer's opponent
were moving fast, flat out, full speed while Federer himself is in slow
motion. That is because Federer's huge level of skill and touch and
deception hurry an opponent, while Federer himself always seems to have more
time than is strictly justifiable. It is an element of his easy timing of a
ball and the way his extreme level of ability so often forces his opponent
to play shots into his hitting zone.
Federer doesn't look aggressive. He seems to be playing the ball in sheer
delight at the things he can do with it, playing with a racket whose strings
are one moment cobweb, the next piano-wire. And if it is all illusion, it is
an illusion that can only be created by genius.
But beauty or no beauty, it comes down to one thing: winning tennis matches
or not winning tennis matches. Federer might have the finest hands in the
history of tennis, but tennis matches are not won by hands alone. No one
praised the art of Pete Sampras. Sampras won Wimbledon seven times, Federer
just once. So far.
We know all about his hands already - we have, I hope, years ahead to learn
about the rest of him. Starting with his mind. For at the end, it is not art
or beauty or hands that make serial champions. Such things are just merely a
method. A tool of the competitive mind.
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post #288 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 01:48 PM
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Awesome Federer into final
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Reigning champion Roger Federer took 31 minutes on Saturday to reach his second final, completing a 6-2 6-3 7-6 (8-6) win over Sebastien Grosjean.

The top seed was leading 6-2 6-3 4-3 when play was abandoned on Friday.

The players returned to a sunny Centre Court at 1200 BST, and after saving two match points Grosjean went on to serve for the set as Federer lost focus.

But the Frenchman could not complete an unlikely comeback, and Federer came through an edgy tie-break to advance.

"I'm very relieved," Federer told BBC1.

"It was difficult to stop with the match at such a point.

"Things were looking good but you never know what can happen. On a new day, he might have turned it around."

Federer equalled Pete Sampras' record of 23 straight wins on grass with victory over Grosjean, but he insisted he did not feel invincible on the surface.

"I always feel like my opponent has a chance," said Federer, who can surpass Sampras' record in Sunday's final.

"This year has been fantastic and it's difficult to understand why I'm so dominant this year.

"But I always have the same attitude - if I don't play well I could lose," added the world number one.

The semi-final began at 1300 BST on Friday, and Federer took advantage of a shaky start from Grosjean to break serve immediately before the rain came after only 23 minutes.

It was almost five hours until play resumed, when Federer once again clicked into gear straight away, wrapping up the first set only eight minutes after the restart.

Grosjean attempted to mix up his tactics by approaching the net, but he was passed time and again and serving to stay in the second set, he netted a volley.

It took until 2-2 in the third set for Grosjean to earn his first break point of the match, but the 10th seed wasted it by netting a routine forehand.

Play was abandoned with Federer leading 4-3, and the overnight break appeared to upset the world number one's focus.

Grosjean produced two winning serves to stave off two match points at 4-5, and went on to serve for the set.

But Federer found his form when it mattered, breaking back with a majestic forehand pass before coming from 4-0 down in the tie-break to hand Grosjean a fourth Grand Slam semi-final defeat.
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post #289 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 04:03 PM
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Thanks for the article guys
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post #290 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 04:41 PM
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R. Federer Interview
Saturday, July 3, 2004

THE MODERATOR: First question for Roger.

Q. How important was it to get your temper under control, as a kid, to your successes now? When you were younger, you had a bad temper. Now you've cooled down. I'm wondering how important that was?

ROGER FEDERER: It was very important for me to realise, you know, that I have to focus more on the game instead of, you know, losing energy, throwing the rackets, screaming, getting angry at mistakes, you know.

Took me a while, but finally I figured it out, and now I feel very good on the court. I feel very relaxed. Makes me play better tennis.

Q. There's a lot of interesting points in the short finish of this match. One of them was at 6‑6 in the tiebreak where you had to hit a reflex volley. Had you missed that, he would have been serving for the set. Was that a difficult shot for you to make or not?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, after not really. But if you miss it, yes (smiling). It is always one of those points where you don't have much time. You just hope, you know, you put the racket in the right angle, so it just drops over to the other net.

Really, that's the way I felt. After I hit it, I said, "That wasn't too difficult," even though I was hoping he would miss the passing shot. After I made it, it was not that difficult.

Q. Do you consider yourself sometimes unbeatable on the court?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I always feel like, you know, my opponent has a chance. Of course, this year has been fantastic for me. You know, it's still very difficult for me to understand, you know, why and how come that I'm so dominant this year. But, you know, every match I go with the same attitude out on the court. I know my opponent will try everything to beat me. If there are days where I'm not going to play well, you know, I might lose. I know that this can happen any day.

Q. Second Wimbledon finals. How does that hit you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's very nice. You know, I don't know if everybody realizes actually that this is only my third, you know, Grand Slam final. And I'm very thrilled. You know, I have to say I'm very happy, even though my matches have been rather easy, so I couldn't make summersaults because of, you know, the matches. But, you know, I'm very happy to be again in the finals and to actually do have the chance now, finally, to defend my title. I'm really looking forward to this, this next match.

Q. Can you size up a match against Mario or Andy?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, finally Mario's doing well, because he beat me here two years ago. He lost in the next round in straight sets against Vacek. Yeah, and I was very surprised. And it took him, a while to maybe get his game together a little bit. But I'm happy to see he's doing well.

Against Andy I've played many more times. It will be as difficult. They have different games. Mario follows his serve; Andy doesn't. But I don't have a favorite player I would like to play in the finals.

Q. Does Centre Court feel like your home now?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm still very young and I still need some time to call it "home." But I feel welcome, very welcome in this place ‑ as a member now. The chairman always says hello, we always speak a little bit. We always like to chat.

You know, I feel very warm here.

Q. Does everybody consider you so much better than every other player in the world. Don't you think you're in a risky situation, that if you win, you're just doing your job, and you have just something to lose?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, this is maybe ‑‑ I felt this way before. But now that I'm always in contention of winning big tournaments, it changes because once you won the tournament, then you're such a happy person. The people realise actually what a great job you did.

I know also for sometimes the second and third round, it's not made to become famous. I am already famous enough in tennis. These matches, I look at them like, these are the matches I have to win and this is also where I push myself almost the hardest. Because once the tournament gets under way, everything comes very natural for me.

Now that I'm again, you know, have this opportunity to win this tournament or any big tournament, is a very special feeling. And I also get very nervous before finals. And these are the moments I work hard and live for. This is going to be a great match, I hope.

Q. There was some speculation on the television the other night that you might be doing some damage to your wrist with that amazing action you have on your forehand. Is that a problem at all?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I haven't had too many wrist problems so far. But I don't know. Who said that?

Q. I think they had a viewer contacting them saying you might need an operation (laughter).

ROGER FEDERER: It's not flexible enough (smiling)?

Q. I thought it was very weird, but that's what they said.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I feel also I can give the ball an unbelievable amount of racquet speed. That saves me a lot of points. When the ball comes very fast to me, I still have enough time, you know, to get the racket around the ball, to actually be able to control it and play back with spin. I don't know where that comes from.

I love hitting half volleys. Maybe it was because I was lazy before, I had to hit too many, but now I enjoy playing them.

Q. You spoke about your calm on court, how that helps you. Could you detail that? Does it just give you less pressure at big moments? Does it let you focus on execution? How does that calm inter‑play with your success?

FEDERER: Oh, to me it just feels, also in between matches and on the court, I feel like I'm not losing too much energy. Before maybe there also was more of an unsecure (sic) feeling I had on the court, which made me become maybe more nervous, not sure of what I'm actually going to do. You know, if I would panic a few years ago, I would just start to serve and volley because I would feel like, well, my backhand's not working, so how does it work that I don't have to a backhand? Well, I come to net, so I have to hit volleys. So then I would get upset. This also wouldn't work.

So I had to just ‑‑ it's got a lot also to do with self‑confidence for me, just be able to understand the game itself.

Q. Did that happen during your Ancic loss?

ROGER FEDERER: What happened there? I lost first round French, Wimbledon back to back. I think that was in the year 2002. It made me wonder, yeah, what's going on. But I have to say the big step, I did it actually in 2001. Before the French Open, I played quarter-finals of French Open, quarter-finals Wimbledon. These were the tournaments where I realised actually I'm playing better when I'm more calm.

But then I had the problems where I was too calm for about a year or so. And that was a problem, too. So I had to get the fire, you know, back in my game, and I could work it out step by step. But, you know, it took a while.

Q. Your improvement on backhand, are you still working on something technically or do you consider yourself almost perfect technically?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I still feel, you know, room for improvement on my backhand side. I would like to hit the backhand, you know, which comes higher to my backhand better. But I think a lot had to do with my backhand was my footwork. Now I'm in better position. Before I would be really lazy. I would be happy just to play a slice. But now if I can hit a drive backhand, it's better for my game. This has been the big improvement for me.

Q. How do you consider your open‑mindedness to change? You split with Peter after winning Wimbledon. Early in your career you had a psychologist. How important is that to your success?

ROGER FEDERER: What is important, excuse me?

Q. The fact that you're open‑minded.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's important to listen to people you trust. But, I mean, listen to everybody is not the right thing either, because a lot of people have different opinions. For me at the moment, it's definitely the situation where a lot of people would like to tell me, "Well, shouldn't you do this or that," because they don't think I have a coach.

But I have to say people start to understand. Because in the beginning of the year, a lot of people came up to me and said, "You know, you need help. Can I do this for you?" A lot of people were writing me e‑mails that they think I'm doing this wrong and that wrong. I don't listen to everybody; I just listen to the people, you know, I really trust and believe in.

This is why also I'm taking my time with a coach, because I just don't want to take a coach to travel with me. If I want to start working again with a coach, it's to improve my game. Anything else would be wrong, I think.

Q. What do you like about Ancic's game? Do you think he's got the makeup to be a Top 5, Top 10 type player?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, difficult to say. But, I mean, he's beaten Henman here which is a very good effort. I think he needs a little bit more to prove to the top guys at the big events that he belongs in the Top 10. Top 5 is a big step.

Again, I know how hard it was for me to actually get there. I don't know what his ranking is now. But I still think he won't jump from right away into the Top 5, unless of course he wins this tournament, then he's not too far away.

The way he's playing now, for grass it's very suited. I've always thought he's a great player. Finally he's making his moves.

But we'll see how long it will take him to really go to the top.

Q. How do you feel about this incredible winning streak on grass? I think you're level with Sampras now, 23 successive victories.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't even think about it sometimes. People told me that he had 23. I knew I was at 22. But I don't know, it's funny. Now I have a chance actually to win my second Wimbledon, and that would also pass that winning streak from Sampras.

I mean, last year's grass season was just incredible. I thought, "Well, I've got so many points to defend, I hope I can just at least play well at Wimbledon. Hopefully Halle will work okay for me." I started. Hardly lost a serve, hardly lost a set. For me it's very difficult to explain why and how it comes.

Because, like I've said before, I just try to focus for every match. And it seems like it's really working out for me. The grass suits my game. So these are the reasons.

Q. Do you have specific targets? Obviously you want to win Wimbledon. Do you have long‑term goals?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, the goals for this year are clearly to stay at the No. 1 position, to defend this title, and to play well at the Olympics. These are for me the three main goals. You know, after tomorrow, one goal is gone, either positive or negative.

But long‑term, I don't say I have a big plan or so to win I don't know how many Grand Slams or win so many tournaments. I will rethink my goals for the next year at the end of the year.

Q. Are you a better player this year than you were going into last year's final?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't hear the beginning.

Q. Are you a better player going into this final than you were a year ago?

ROGER FEDERER: Am I a better player?

Q. This year than you were last year.

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, difficult to say because last year's semifinal was so incredible. You know, I thought it was one of the most exciting matches for me last year to play. This year's semis was different ‑ a lot of rain delays, a lot of very hard conditions to play in, with the wind.

But what counts I think is to be, again, in the same position, to be able to win the tournament. I think I'm a more complete player, you know, more, like I said, secure. I know what I have to do that maybe last year wasn't quite there because I never won a Grand Slam. So these are the main changes.

Q. What will you do this evening to pass the time?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, not much. I will just have treatment again and relax really because, I mean, luckily for me the match went very quickly today. Luckily I didn't have to play four or five sets. That is an advantage. I have a little bit more time than the other guys. I don't know how long they will keep waiting if it rains. But I hope we can play tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to that match. But tonight will be similar night to all the other nights.
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post #291 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 04:56 PM
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lol, I seriously can't imagine the lazy bad tempered kid Rogi used to be. Thanks for the interview moonlight
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post #292 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-04-2004, 08:07 AM
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hey, thanx moonlight!
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post #293 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-04-2004, 08:37 PM
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R Federer interview
Sunday, July 4, 2004

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen. Could we have the first question for the Wimbledon Champion.

Q. You were waiting for the sun to play your best tennis or what?

ROGER FEDERER: It looked like it, yes. You know, I'm just very happy. You know, I came out of that rain break, you know, where I was down 4‑2 as a better player because up until then I thought Andy was playing good tennis. He was putting me under pressure. I couldn't really play, you know, the way I wanted to. So I had to change some things. I came to the net more.

You know, this is when the sunshine came at the same time. I'm happy I had such a great reaction.

Q. What are your thoughts when Andy goes to the net more, when he serves and volleys more?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I played him once, I think he was injured a little bit in Basel, he was serving and volleying first and second serve. I mean, I've played him when he was serving and volleying. I think obviously he should do it occasionally. With that great serve he has, he gets a lot of easy volleys.

I wasn't too surprised to see it because I knew that he will maybe change some things up to play me.

Q. How did it affect you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't have a problem because I was actually ready for Andy to do so. You know, when he did it, you know, he was just actually serving too big. He was serving 10 miles an hour quicker in the beginning of the match than he actually was in the rest of the match. I think that was the key to success in the first set, because he was just serving too big. You know, I missed that one chance I had at Love‑40, and that was it.

Q. It seemed like it was a completely different match after you found your backhand. You had so much trouble with your backhand early in the match. Where did it go and how did you refind it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know if the backhand was really my problem, you know. I just thought it was the combination of Andy really playing well and him not allowing me actually to play the way I wanted to.

You know, he was hitting off both sides, backhand and forehand, very hard, and deep into the baseline. All I could do was actually block the ball back. I couldn't even slice. So that is a credit to him.

Definitely, you know, my backhand got better. Luckily for me, that backhand went in at 30‑All. That was important.

Q. Was there any adjustment you made in the way you hit the backhand?

ROGER FEDERER: I thought, if you look at the match also, he was serving second serves also at 120s in the beginning. In the end, he was hitting them at 100 to get more kick on them, which maybe I prefer a little bit.

But, you know, he's playing it safer, but it's also better for me obviously. I think this is why also the match turned.

Q. Can you pinpoint the moment where you decided to serve and volley more?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, after the rain break. You know, at 4‑2 I thought about what was going on. I thought maybe that will allow me to get some more free points and not to have to go every time in a rally, because that was actually the thing that was killing me. Because from the baseline, you know, on my serve he was taking a lot of risk. That was very dangerous for me. I decided to do so.

This makes me extremely, you know, happy and proud that I actually did take the right choice in such a moment.

Q. You've become such a great big‑match player. What has been the key of the development of your fighting spirit? What do you say when you're down and need to come through?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I've always told myself, and it's always been like this since I've played Juniors, that if I get to finals, you know, I just don't want to lose them. I do not accept. This is why for me in the beginning of my career on the ATP Tour, it was very difficult to actually get to know defeat in the finals because I had a bad record in the beginning of my career in finals. And really since now quite a long period of time, I've been winning a lot of the finals.

You know, maybe I lost one or the others here and there. But I have a very good wining percentage in finals. It seems like I can get my act together at the right time and even stay calm in finals where it's all about.

I've said this, you know, I think after the Australian Open, or after this win last year, that, you know, for me winners stay and losers go. I don't want to be one of them who goes.

Q. Do you think not having a coach in some way helps you and toughens you, gives you more resolve, knowing you have to do it yourself?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I wouldn't say so, no. Coach or no coach, you know, for me, I've learned so much through the last few years. I've been with Peter, obviously he helped me also in the way so I could actually travel alone. I mean, that's also to his credit.

For me, I felt already like I've been a grown‑up man already last year on the court. I was feeling ready actually to handle it on my own.

Q. How different does it feel this year than last? You were outwardly less emotional. Does it feel a lot different to your first win here?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I have to say very similar, you know. Both matches were down to the wire, until the end, until the last point. Of course, I was up 6‑1 in the tiebreaker last year. But still, you know, I have felt the pressure on my serve at 6‑3. This year I had to serve for the match, which is also not the most fun thing to do in a Grand Slam final, you know. I was very nervous at 30‑All.

But somehow the reactions after the match were very similar. You know, I fell to my knees and started to cry again because, you know, I couldn't believe it. I didn't cry this time in interview, because I kind of learned from what happened last year.

But it's very similar. Somehow I feel even more joy this year because I had so much pressure going into this tournament. Now to see my name on the board twice in a row, I kind of, you know, get more joy out of this. It's strange.

Q. Are you looking forward to dancing with Maria Sharapova at the ball?

ROGER FEDERER: You should know there's no more dancing going on at the Champion's Ball.

Q. A year ago if you had been sitting here having won the tournament serving and volleying on 80% of your first serves, would you have imagined that a year later you would play so dramatically different on your first serve? What's the explanation for it?

ROGER FEDERER: I think the explanation to this is what happened to me a few years ago here in Wimbledon. Remember I came here in '99. I've only played from the baseline against Novak. 2000, I came here, I was on serving and volleying against Kafelnikov. Against Ancic, you know, I was also almost only serving and volleying in the beginning, then I couldn't because he was playing too well. Also in 2001, I was serving and volleying all the time. I always felt I put myself in such difficult situations all the time, and I had to be so confident to serve and volley on second serves, on first serves all the time. And this was for me very difficult.

So I started actually last year also to play much more from the baseline on grass. Of course, I was serving and volleying more at that time. But, you know, this tournament started me playing from the baseline. So I thought, "Why change something now because I'm playing Andy?" But, you know, I had to because he's a better player than all the other others I've played. Luckily for me I actually had a rain break to realize I had to.

Q. You came very close to being broken in the fourth set at 2‑3. Two breakpoints. On the second one, Andy hit an inside‑in down the line. You made a spectacular get on the first ball. You may remember he hit wide on the second ball. Could you go over the importance of that shot in getting the first one back and saving that breakpoint?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, he had two huge chances in the fourth set really. Twice he missed a forehand which, you know, maybe normally he doesn't miss. But, I mean, I had to really, really fight hard to actually stay in the rally. Already I thought I hit a couple backhands which I was really under pressure. Forehand the same, you know, because he hit one unbelievable inside‑in forehand. These are the moments where I think I got a little lucky today, because who knows what happens again. You know it's similar to the Grosjean match. It was very close. This final has been played on a couple of points and I was lucky enough to make those.

Q. Last year you were given Juliet from your government. Would you like to expand the herd this year?

ROGER FEDERER: It wasn't from the government. It was the tournament of next week, of Gstaad.

Q. Would you like to expand the herd?

ROGER FEDERER: She got a baby. I already have two. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm getting there. Then we'll see what happens. I'm fine with two for the moment.

Q. You are going to the Olympics. How important is this tournament for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Very, very important. Yeah, I've had such a great time in Sydney already four years ago. It's always been a dream for me to represent my country, you know, to win a medal there once. I came so close four years ago. I'm really going over there to maybe do one step better.

Q. During the rain delay when you figured out you wanted to change your approach, are you pretty much by yourself or are you talking to somebody about this?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, the people who were in my box, you know, Pavel and Reitan (phonetic), one is a physio, one is my friend who also to used to play tennis a bit. I just asked them what they think. I told them, "I think I have to serve and volley," because I remember playing serve and volley the year before, and I thought Andy was just getting too many returns back. I thought he improved on the return, so this is also why I prefer to stay at the baseline in the beginning.

But I just thought, you know, I will get more free points. He will maybe feel the pressure a little bit more and cannot take as many chances from me at the baseline when I'm serving. This is exactly what happened. I had to take chances today because otherwise it wouldn't have worked.

Q. Do you feel like you're reaching your peak or do you feel you're already there?

ROGER FEDERER: If I feel like?

Q. As though you're reaching your peak.

ROGER FEDERER: I feel like I can, you know, serve and volley more. Definitely, you know, I think this is something I can improve. I've always ‑‑ it's always been my dream actually to play better at the net. I'm definitely not bad, but I still feel there is room for improvement at the net.

But it's just so hard for me to do so because I feel the opponents are so incredible tough on returns and second passing shots. This makes it hard for me.

But, you know, I think if there's really room for improvement, it's in this area.

Q. Can you update us on what the situation is with the Swiss Defence Ministry, what ‑‑ any commitment you would have to serve?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't understand.

Q. Military service.

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, military service. Well, as long as I'm in the Masters at the end of the year, you know, I have no time. They know that. So we'll see what happens when I'm not in the Masters.

Q. How much was nerves a factor at the beginning of the match? How nervous were you? You didn't seem to be playing quite as sharply as you were.

ROGER FEDERER: Cold hands walking out on the court once more. You know, excited actually to be in the finals. You know, more of that. I felt from the start it's going to be a very dangerous and difficult match for me. Like I've said, he didn't allow me to play the way I wanted to. You know, I couldn't run around my backhand because he was hitting them too hard and too deep all the time. And I was very surprised how consistent his backhand was. That put me under pressure in the beginning.

I thought also he was making a lot of returns and also playing good returns, and this is why he totally deserved that first set.

Q. Do you think you had a mental advantage today? He showed quite a bit of frustration during key points. Did that help you? Do you think in all honesty you were the stronger mental player today?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, he always shows a lot of emotions, if it's positive or negative. I mean, I think this was very similar, his emotions, to last year. Last year I thought maybe he was a little bit more frustrated because it was straight sets and I was more dominant in that match.

But it's normal he gets frustrated. Because like in the fourth set, he had so many chances, he didn't make it. I get one chance and I do so. This is very difficult mentally. I just knew that my only chance actually to win today is if I stay very calm, and if I get a little luck, I could turn it around. I knew I wasn't far away from winning.

Q. Ultimately do you think that was an advantage for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Today it was, yes.
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post #294 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 02:26 AM
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Federer: A champion and his own man
- STEVE WILSTEIN, AP Sports Columnist
Sunday, July 4, 2004

(07-04) 15:21 PDT WIMBLEDON, England (AP) --

Without a coach, agent, business manager, publicist, personal assistant, bodyguard, cook or chauffeur, Roger Federer still manages to win championships.

He carries his own rackets, packs his own suitcases, makes his own travel plans.

Nobody plans his strategy or fiddles with his strokes.

Some players need help tying their own shoes and tucking in their shirts. Federer, a 22-year-old from Switzerland, is his own man. He has a dozen ways to hit backhands, nearly as much variety on forehands, and several disguises on serves, but Team Federer is basically a mom-and-pop affair with help from his longtime girlfriend.

That self-reliance toughened Federer and got him out of trouble Sunday when he came from a set back against Andy Roddick to win a second straight Wimbledon and third Grand Slam title, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

While Roddick kept glancing up toward his coach, Brad Gilbert, for nods of encouragement, Federer searched within himself to find a way to win. Racket artistry wasn't enough. Federer needed a change of tactics and he came up with one: abandon the baseline and attack at the net.

Federer hasn't had a coach since splitting with Peter Lundgren last December. All Federer has done since then is win the Australian Open, four tour titles, and now Wimbledon again to reaffirm his status as No. 1. His 2004 record is 46-4.

"Roger has learned self-discipline," his mother, Lynette, said on the lawn of the players' lounge, where she shared victory champagne with her son, family and friends. "This is a very important phase in his career, that he could step back, not rely on somebody, get to know himself, get to know his own tennis and technique.

"I've got a feeling that a period without a coach -- I don't say it's ideal -- has made him take a lot of initiative. He's become a little more creative, he's worked on himself. I think he's never worked as hard since he hasn't had a coach."

She and her husband, Robert, who stayed home in Switzerland because he was too nervous to watch in person, help keep their son's business affairs humming. His longtime girlfriend, former player Mirka Vavrinec, doubles as his publicist.

"I'm very in-house," Federer says.

He may work with a coach again, but is in no rush to find one. His parents consider a coach to be important but are content to watch their son continue to make the big decisions in his career, no matter how they turn out.

Federer figured out for himself what he had to do to beat Roddick, whose imposing serves of up to 145 mph, aggressive net attacks, and strong forehands carried him to a first-set win.

"I threw the kitchen sink at him, but he went to the bathroom and got a tub," Roddick said.

After Federer evened the match in the second set, he fell behind a break at 4-2 in the third when a light rain brought the covers out for a second time. Roddick conferred with Gilbert and stayed with the strategy they had laid out before the match. Federer did his own analysis and figured it was time to switch to a serve-and-volley style.

"I thought about what was going on," Federer said. "I thought maybe that will allow me to get some more free points and not to have to go every time in a rally, because that was actually the thing that was killing me. Because from the baseline, on my serve he was taking a lot of risk. That was very dangerous for me. This makes me extremely happy and proud that I actually did take the right choice in such a moment."

Federer and his family also took pride in how coolly he handled that small crisis, the six break points he brushed away in the fourth set, and the other challenges he's faced on court the past couple of years. For a player who had a reputation as a tennis brat growing up, throwing tantrums and rackets like John McEnroe, Federer has turned into Bjorn Borg-like master of impassive play.

"When he was younger, he was very ambitious," Lynette Federer said. "When he didn't achieve what he wanted he could get a little erratic on the court. He realized he was just wasting energy. Today he proved it in the fourth set (when he was) down on his serve. Years ago, he would have thrown the racket or shouted and wasted energy. Today he's learned to get his emotions under control."

Federer's parents are happy about that, since they always cringed when they watched him act up on court as a youngster. But they're most proud of the way he's grown into a confident and independent man.

"We really respect the way he left home very young and he's taken his career into his own hands," his mother said. "He's gotten used to fighting and keeping up his level. He needed to mature."

Asked if she thought a few years ago, when he was still struggling, that the maturity might never come, she nodded.

"Yeah, I did," she said. "He just needed his time. Roger always needed to go over certain hurdles to give him a little push in his career. It happened as a child at school, it happened in sports. Every time he bumped his head he improved, he always made a big jump. Everything happened step by step. Now he's there where he wants to be."
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post #295 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 02:32 AM
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Federer slugs it out among the greats
By Simon Barnes, Chief Sports Writer
Times online

THE past fortnight at Wimbledon has been dominated by the sound of the wise men and women of Wimbledon trying to work out just how good Roger Federer is. The most excitable have said that he is the best. The best ever. The most brilliant tennis player that ever held a racket in his hand.
Me, I measure great athletes by the number of big championships they have collected, using such things as Steve Redgrave’s five gold medals as a kind of gold standard. We won’t know how good Federer is until he has passed some kind of test of time. Yesterday, he won his second Wimbledon and his third grand-slam title, beating Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4.

Brilliance is not the measure of a champion. What people mean is that Federer can play the best tennis shots they have seen. He can bring off shots that simply wouldn’t occur to anyone else. He can play points and games and matches of such pure and perfect beauty that it makes you gasp and smile and wag your head in delight.

But that doesn’t make him the greatest player of all time. If we say that great shots are the marks of greatness, then we must say that Jimmy White, serial losing finalist, is the greatest snooker player of all time. It was the less sumptuous virtues of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry that made them great champions.

And we must say that Glenn Hoddle is the finest footballer that ever drew breath, David Gower the finest cricketer. They are nothing of the kind: gloriously gifted individuals who won some things and lost some things and gave huge pleasure whenever they played. They were, both of them, among the greatest ball-players I have seen. Neither was a great champion.

How do you examine the championship credentials, then, of a supremely gifted individual? Well, the interesting experiment would be to deprive them of their gifts and then see what they have left. And that is exactly what happened to Federer in the men’s singles finals at Wimbledon yesterday.

Blame Roddick. He came on to Centre Court in a state of such whipped-up intensity that it was uncomfortable to watch. He played in an absolute frenzy of hurry. I have never seen a server so anxious to get rid of his tennis balls. He was producing the second-serve ball from his pocket as it had turned red-hot and was threatening his privates.

He roared through the first set, blasting the defending champion out of his composure, hammering him out of his A-game. Federer found some form and touch in the second set, took a 4-0 lead — and then proceeded to play as badly as someone with his colossal gifts possibly can. He lost the next four games, mostly by means of uncertain serving and unforced errors.

Was it nerve? Was it the hurry-up Roddick had imposed on him? Was it eagerness for the title? Whatever it was, it was horrible to watch. In the space of half a dozen games, Federer had made atheists — or at least agnostics — of his new and true believers. So this was the test. Could Federer win a big championship without the protection of his incomprehensibly lofty gifts?

Federer had to go slumming into the abysmal depths of personality in order to pull out this win. He had to win not on beauty but on bloody-mindedness. He had to rise above his own poor play and win by the quality of his competitive nature. Roddick put more and more pressure on Federer’s game: and it buckled and crumpled but never quite fell apart.

A point or two would be pure Federer, a couple more would be be head-holdingly awful. Federer has never got too made up about his brilliance: we were now to see that he is not the sort to get too cast down by his lack of it. This was a plan B victory, plan B being hang in there and keep slugging.

Federer was never close to dominating the match. Roddick was too much in his face. And Federer was never close to his serene, unruffled self. He lost an awful lot of points he should have won. But he lost hardly any of the points he needed to win. That was the difference. For example, he had six break points against him in the final set and was not broken.

The margin was small and it was not to be measured in superlatives about his ball-playing skills. Yesterday, these came and went, a point of perfection, an error, a blasting effort from Roddick, another small touch of perfection from that magic racket. But magic was not the thing he relied on: magic was not what won him the title.

And you know what? Seeing him win Wimbledon in these rather sordid circumstances makes me think rather more of him than I did when dazzled by his mere brilliance. We have a great player, for sure. Yesterday, we saw genuine signs that we might have a great champion as well
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post #296 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 02:36 AM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Great articles! Thanks moonlight, and also for the interview
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post #297 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 05:02 AM
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Funny article, NYT

Federer's 2nd Title Just as Sweet

Agence France-Presse-Getty Images
Roger Federer took Andy Roddick's pace in stride. "I threw the kitchen sink at him," Roddick said, "but he went to the bathroom and got his tub."


Published: July 5, 2004.

WIMBLEDON, England, July 4 - By letting his patchy beard grow throughout his triumphant grass-court season, Andy Roddick harked back to a less explosive tennis era, when Bjorn Borg let his whiskers fill in until he lost.

Unfortunately for Roddick, it is time for a shave. Despite all the hustle and high velocity he brought to his first Wimbledon final Sunday, he simply could not make enough big shots at the right moments against Roger Federer.

In the end, after two rain delays and a surplus of his big forehands and surprisingly precise returns, it was the smooth-faced, smooth-stroking Federer who did the best Borg imitation. He dropped to his knees with delight and relief after defending his title with an ace.

Federer, a 22-year-old from Switzerland, has many more aces to hit before he can catch Borg, who won five titles in a row here, or before he catches Pete Sampras, who won seven times at the All England Club.

But on grass, this is unquestionably his time, his era, and it was telling that on an afternoon when he was tighter and more error-prone than usual under Roddick's intense pressure, Federer still managed to lose only one set.

"Roger just played too good today,'' the second-seeded Roddick said in his remarks to the Center Court crowd after Federer's 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory. "I threw the kitchen sink at him, but he went to the bathroom and got his tub.''

Roddick won the battle of one-liners, but winning the battle on grass has proved too much for any man since Federer lost in the first round here to Mario Ancic in 2002. "To have won my favorite tournament already twice is just incredible,'' Federer said.

A year ago, when he won here by defeating another big-serving opponent, Mark Philippoussis, in the final, Federer shed tears on court. This year, he did the same, very briefly, as he sat in his chair after closing out the match.

But in general, he was much more composed, just as he has become much more established. A year ago, he was celebrating his first Grand Slam singles title. Since then, he has won the Australian Open and another Wimbledon. His record in Grand Slam singles finals is 3-0.

Roddick, who won his only Grand Slam title at last year's United States Open, came out swinging, making Federer work hard for his opening service game, then breaking him in his next to take a 2-1 lead.

Although former champions make a habit of bemoaning the lack of variety in contemporary tennis, Roddick and Federer are a fine contrast in style and personality.

Federer, who was seeded No. 1, makes the difficult shot look easy, but it is impossible not to sense the tremendous effort at work in Roddick's game as he explodes into his serve and forehand.

In the opening phases of the match Sunday, he produced plenty of fine passing shots and returns.

The Center Court crowd uttered a collective groan of disappointment after light rain drove the players off the court with Roddick up, 3-2. This was fine theater, and when they returned, the leading man remained the same, with Roddick closing out the first set.

Federer jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second, breaking Roddick's serve twice. But Roddick returned the favor, evening the set at 4-4, only to lose it after Federer broke him again in the 12th game with a forehand down the line.

When the rain came again, Roddick was leading, 4-2, in the third. But when this 40-minute break ended (the last break of this very rainy Wimbledon), they walked back on court in the sunshine, with Federer determined to attack the net more.

Federer has had no official coach since splitting with Peter Lundgren last season, but he does have advisers, including Reto Staubli, a former player and a friend. They discussed the possibility of serving and volleying. "I thought maybe that will allow me to get some more free points and not to have to go every time in a rally, because that was actually the thing that was killing me,'' Federer said. "From the baseline, on my serve, he was taking a lot of risks.''

Roddick took plenty more in what remained of the match, but the dynamic had changed, and Federer rallied to win the third set in a tie breaker, then salvaged six break points on his serve in the final set on his way to 3-3. Roddick was running out of patience, and he shook the net with both hands in mock frustration in the sixth game after Federer won a point that included a let cord.

It was amusing but also seemed telling, and Roddick lost his serve at love in the next game.

Federer has a 6-1 record against Roddick, who is still only 21.

"You know, losses like this just inspire me more,'' Roddick said. "I just want to keep getting better and better. I feel like I'm on the right track.

"I proved that Roger's not quite invincible. You know, he's pretty close."

The crowd gave Roddick a long ovation as he accepted his finalist's trophy. It is rare today for a high-profile American to hear a ringing public endorsement abroad. "I see it as an opportunity when I wake up every morning to prove stereotypes wrong,'' he said. "You know, I take a lot of pride in that. But I don't really see it as American, British. They're tennis fans, and I'm a tennis player.''

A tennis player who is about to lose a beard. "You won't have to worry about it anymore,'' he said.

Record for Woodbridge

Todd Woodbridge of Australia earned a record ninth Wimbledon men's doubles title Sunday, teaming with Jonas Bjorkman for a 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Julian Knowle and Nenad Zimonjic. Woodbridge had a chance for another title, but he and Alicia Molik lost to Cara and Wayne Black in the mixed doubles final, 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4. (AP)

ROGER - world #1!

Pete Sampras: 5 Favorite Players to Watch- Bjorn Borg. “He was a great athlete.”
Roger Federer. “For his smoothness.”
Rod Laver. “Had the complete package.”
John McEnroe. “A unique game.”
Ken Rosewall. “I loved the backhand.”

"For me, winners stay and losers go. I don't want to be one of those who loses" - Roger Federer, Wimbledon Champ 2003, 2004, 2005
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post #298 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 07:16 AM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Thanks for the great article!

Maybe Sampras took over from me and now Federer will take over from Sampras - Edberg

ROGI BOLEH!!!!!!!!!
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post #299 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 09:06 AM
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thanx again moonlihgt and vene!
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post #300 of 5000 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 09:53 AM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Federer shows grit in his genius to retain the crown

Swiss who has taken grass-court tennis to new heights sees off withering early onslaught by Andy Roddick to defend title in style

Stephen Bierley at Wimbledon
Monday July 5, 2004
The Guardian

This was not the very best of Roger Federer but great players, among whom the Swiss most certainly is, find their own ways of winning in times of difficulty and indifferent form. And so it was yesterday that although his multi-faceted talents lacked their usual sparkle and gloss, the world No1 player defeated the American Andy Roddick, the world No2, to retain his Wimbledon title 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4.

Federer is normally such a delight to watch that his opponents can almost be forgotten. The sheer joyous artistry of the man is the equivalent of a Bach cello suite, with player and instrument fused into one glorious line of meditation and rapture. Enter Roddick with his Walkman turned on full blast, determined to drown out all elements of artistry with the heavy thumping beat of a pulverising serve and coruscating forehand.

Wimbledon can surely never have witnessed the sort of raw and unremitting power that Roddick, the US Open champion, produced in the opening set. He had promised he would "hit the crap out of the ball" and hit the crap out of it he did, though ultimately to no avail. "I threw the kitchen sink at him, but he went into the bathroom and got the tub," he said.

It was not that Federer was unprepared, more that the sheer early intensity rocked him, combined with a change of tactic that saw Roddick rush the net at every opportunity. Brad Gilbert, the American's coach, has talked long about the 21-year-old backing up his huge serve with the telling volley, and it was obvious that they had decided to break up Federer's limpid rhythms with brute force.

Roddick, who holds the serve world record at 153mph, was regularly hitting the 140mph mark and beyond, and his forehand brought up not so much chalk dust as sparks. His most notable weakness remains his double-fisted backhand but it has improved considerably under Gilbert's tutelage, to the point where Federer was frequently stung by its quality.

The touchstone of Federer's game, for all his multiplicity of shots, some of which he invents on the run, is his own serve. It is his comforter, allowing him to expand his improvisational skills. Roddick broke it at the second time of asking, which was enough for him to take a rain-interrupted first set in just over half an hour.

It seemed the leaden skies had also clouded Federer's mind; a hammer may be unable to smash a diamond but Roddick was having a damn good try.

The Centre Court crowd was both thrilled and concerned. The enormous force of Roddick's game was wondrous for its controlled fury, but few wished to see Federer's genius crushed into a soulless oblivion - or, at least, not until he had had the chance to cast a little magic on the proceedings.

They did not have to wait long. Having failed to break Federer's serve at the start of the second set, Roddick suddenly imploded to go 4-0 down. The champion's fans eased themselves back in their seats a touch, and waited for genius to establish itself.

Perversely, then, Federer completely lost the advantage and found himself back at 4-4, the security of a double break counting for nothing.

It was not easy to explain, save for the fact that Federer could discover little or nothing in the way of continuity. His forehand crackled, flared and then fizzled out. Similarly his backhand. Neither ever seemed to function properly at the same time, while Roddick plundered on, his eyes narrowed for the kill.

But as the American closed in for a two-set lead the champion, as if by some trick of the light (of which there was hardly any) levelled the match, striking a forehand down the line of the sort that had become routinely brilliant in his earlier matches.

Roddick had every right to feel peeved but to his credit his sense of purpose never faltered, and when play was suspended for a second time, midway through the third set, he led 4-2. The players returned to a pool of bright sunshine for the final's third take, and if the real Roger Federer did not return in his full peacock colours, there was enough iridescence glinting off his racket to down Roddick.

Serving and volleying much more, Federer levelled at 4-4, then a sumptuously chipped backhand winner extended his advantage at a critical moment in the tie-break. Suddenly the final was slipping between Roddick's fingers, despite a Herculean effort to tip the balance back in his favour in the fourth set. Four times Federer might have gone 3-1 down on his own serve, and he faltered again in the sixth game when Roddick twice and unusually missed crucial forehands for a 4-2 advantage.

Once, having seen what looked like a winner pop up in Federer's favour off the net cord, Roddick strode forward to the net and shook it vigorously. He might have wished he could get hold of Federer's neck as well. But as so often happens in tennis, having seen his opponent squeak out of the tightest of holes Roddick promptly dropped his own serve, to love, his forehand continuing to malfunction.

Federer's demeanour did not change. The walk between baseline and chair remained just as languorous, his return to the action equally calm. But it was possible, for the first time, to sense that the Swiss knew he was going to win.

Roddick, a competitor to the last, forced Federer to serve it out, holding him to 30-30. Then a final backhand down the line, followed by an ace, and the deed was done. Not with the sustained brilliance that many had hoped for, but even genius must be made to work.

Roddick has improved hugely in the past year, and will surely win this title one day. Federer may go on to win many more. Already he has lifted grass-court tennis to new heights.
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