06-30-2009, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Re: Roger news and articles
Bad news for the rest of the men in the draw – Roger Federer feels, in his own words, "perfect". Having endured a comparatively lean period from mid-2008 to early this year, when he "only" won the US Open and Olympic doubles gold, lost to Rafael Nadal at the French and then here at Wimbledon, the Swiss is back to his serene best.
"It's just a case of being relaxed out on court," said the de facto top seed in the absence of Nadal after his straight sets win over Robin Soderling. "No signs of panic - what I maybe had six months ago when I played. I would just feel uneasy, I wouldn't be exactly sure what the right plays were. Now I feel perfect. I think I'm moving well, serving well, my rhythm from the baseline is good."
Roger is therefore human after all – or at least he was for a while in 2008. Now he is back to being the machine who swept all before him for nigh on five years. "When you play a player like Soderling, for instance, whom you've beaten already 10 times in the past or you just play them very often, it shoots through your mind. All the information is right there, stored somewhere," said Federer of his photographic memory.
A talent for on-the-spot analysis was also revealed when it comes to tiebreaks. "You play them based on how you played the set," he revealed. "Where to serve, where he'll serve. You have a meeting with yourself in your head. I had to take chances more and guess sides, but when it got to 4-4, I knew he'd start risking on returns."
Soderling's strategy was to bombard Federer on the first serve and if the ball was a fault, bombard him just as hard on the second. "He was risking his second serves at 180, 190 kph, and it was obviously easier for him to try that at 15-0, 30-0 or 30-15. It doesn’t matter if you serve the odd double fault at that stage. It's different when you get to 3-3 in a tie-break – all of a sudden, it’s not so easy to fire down a second serve at 190 kph," Federer explained. "It was always going to be hard for him to keep serving those big second serves when they really mattered, that's why I wasn't particularly surprised he hit a double fault at five all in the [third set] tiebreaker."
Not only has he the finest array of strokes at his disposal, Federer even knows when his opponents are going to double fault. No wonder he has 14 Grand Slam titles – and counting – to his name.
06-30-2009, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: HONG KONG
Re: Roger news and articles
11-0: Roger Federer beats Soderling again
By STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer
Jun 29, 2:58 pm EDT
Buzz up! PrintWIMBLEDON, England (AP)—The last time they met, a Grand Slam title was on the line, the surface was clay and the weather was chilly and wet.
This time, they played in the fourth round, the surface was grass and the conditions were sweltering.
The result was no different, though, as Roger Federer swept Robin Soderling in straight sets.
Federer outserved the Swede 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) on Monday to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals—three weeks after downing Soderling in three sets in Paris for his first French Open title.
Winning the big points and never losing serve, Federer extended his career record against the 13th-ranked Soderling to 11-0. He’s dropped only one set to the Swede in 26 sets played.
“When you play a player like Soderling, who you’ve beaten already 10 times in the past, it just shoots through your mind,” Federer said. “All the information is right there, you know, stored somewhere.”
The five-time Wimbledon champion reached his 25th Grand Slam quarterfinal and matched Ivan Lendl with 48 match wins at Wimbledon for a share of eighth place on the all-time list. He’s just three wins away from a record 15th Grand Slam championship and will regain the No. 1 ranking from injured Rafael Nadal if he takes the title.
Federer looks back at home—and back at his best—after a rough period early in the year when he lost to Nadal in the Australian Open final and struggled to find his dominant form.
Now he feels like a new player again.
“Just being relaxed on court,” Federer said. “No signs of panics, what I maybe had six months ago when I played. I would just feel uneasy. I wouldn’t be exactly sure what the right plays were. Now I feel perfect.”
Up next is Ivo Karlovic, the 6-foot-10 Croatian who served 35 aces and beat No. 7 Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (9). Karlovic has yet to lose his serve in four matches, but Federer is 8-1 against him.
“I mean maybe it’s not the most fun match to go through,” Federer said. “But I like to beat this guy because he makes it hard on us. He’s become an excellent player. Not only just his serve, he’s got to have something more or otherwise he wouldn’t be ranked where he is and he wouldn’t be beating all those good players. He’s not to be underestimated.”
Against Soderling, the match was dominated by big serves and came down to a few big points. Federer served 23 aces, to 16 for Soderling.
“It was sort of a serving contest out there today,” Federer said. “Not many rallies, so maybe not as much fan for the people.”
There was only one break of serve in the match, and it came in the ninth game of the first set when Soderling committed five unforced errors. The Swede saved two break points with backhand volleys, but on the third he wound up for his big swinging forehand and slapped the ball into the net.
After winning three straight service games and 13 straight points on serve, Federer faced his only two break points of the match in the third set at 4-4. He saved the first with a high-bouncing second serve that forced a backhand return error and the second with a 118 mph service winner. He then finished the game with an ace.
The final tiebreaker summed up the difference between the two players.
After Soderling went up a minibreak at 5-4, Federer reached a shot deep in the corner and ripped back a crosscourt forehand winner that the Swede could only watch in admiration. Soderling then double faulted, missing with a risky 121 mph second serve. The match ended on the next point with Soderling sending a backhand return wide off Federer’s 119 mph delivery.
“I stayed calm, waited for my chance, and thank God I came up with a good forehand when I had to in the breaker,” Federer said.
After 11 straight losses to Federer, Soderling was asked if there was any game outside of tennis in which he could beat the man.
“I think I will beat him in marathon easy,” he said. “I’m pretty good at marathon. I’m a strong guy. I think I’m stronger than him.”
Federer wasn’t ready to concede.
“`I never ran a marathon and I don’t like to run too long,” he said. “I’ll stay behind him and pass him at the end.”
07-01-2009, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Re: Roger news and articles
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Q. Are you sick of look at that guy's serves?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't play him every week, so it's okay. Otherwise, if all the guys would be serving like that, that would be tough.
Q. Is he the most boring player to play against? It's serving and walking from right to left, left to right.
ROGER FEDERER: Look, everybody plays different, you know. Like I said before the match, I enjoy the match playing Ivo. It's not fair to call him boring. He's got a phenomenal serve. The way he backs it up with his volleys, it's quite something. I think it's exciting actually to go see him play.
Sure it's not easy to return it, but it's thrilling because at some stage it's gonna get close, you know, and that's why I was very happy the way I was able to play against him today. I thought it was an excellent match. I'm relieved I'm through.
Q. Before the tournament started, you said you wouldn't start thinking, it wouldn't creep into your mind, about Pete's record until maybe the semifinals. Now you're here. What are your thoughts about Pete's slam record and your opportunity here at Wimbledon this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, first of all, I'm happy the way I'm playing, which is always most important, is to focus on my own game.
So from that standpoint, obviously everything is good. I just won, you know, my quarters, so obviously my mind has not started wondering yet. I think tomorrow, you know, I'll prepare for a tough weekend ahead of me, you know, heavily.
Against Tommy I have to play, you know, a good match from the start. And as we saw in Paris, it was brutal. Yeah, it's gonna be tough. But, you know, I'm happy to be back into another semifinals. 21st in a row. It's amazing. Means the world to me. Let's see what happens now.
Q. And your thoughts on the significance of that slam record or major record?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I mean, we all know it. It would be writing in the history books of tennis, so...
It's not there yet. Still far away. Many points, many serves, many forehands. We'll see.
Q. Ivo said that as much as you're better than the rest on all surfaces, on grass you become impossible. What adds the difference on the grass?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I don't know. Maybe I like to play short points, you know. I don't mind playing one‑, two‑shot rallies. I also don't mind longer rallies. I think especially on grass, all my strength, you know, becomes even better. I become so much more dangerous.
Maybe I move better than many players on grass, as well. Obviously, I have a lot of experience, as well. I think grass is a surface you can't maybe learn to play on so much and you don't get an opportunity that often, and that's why I think it's maybe one of the reasons why it's so hard to beat me.
Q. No one touched Karlovic's serve during the grass court season. Today he hit some big bombs at you and you're just reflexing back winners. Do you see the ball better than most other players do?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't know. I mean, I still got 23 aces, you know. Many of them, you know, which he missed probably would have been an ace, too, if he wouldn't have missed. I don't know if I have anything special from that standpoint.
But where I'm definitely good is like when it really matters, and you get maybe only a couple chances a match, you know. During a match, I'm there, and I know I will believe in it. The opponent knows it, too. I'm trying to create, to make it as difficult as possible for my opponent, especially if he's a big server like Karlovic today.
Then you got to pick the right side sometimes as well. But I think this is where I might have the edge over some other players.
Q. You're understandably a private man, but you're approaching this wonderful week in tennis history. At the same time, you're going through an experience of becoming a parent. Can you share a little bit of how you're juggling those and dealing with those.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I kind of went through it in Paris already. You know, going through semifinals, finals days, Mirka being pregnant, you know, it feels good, you know, because she's completely relaxed. That helps me in a big way, to not be distracted a whole lot.
But she's been very supportive, you know. I expected her to be a bit more nervous maybe or, you know, not feeling maybe so well. But she's been really terrific, you know, and that's made it easy for me anyway to concentrate on tennis.
We're just gonna try to, you know, push through this weekend, you know, and then after that she can completely relax, even though she is already. There's still obviously the pressure with all the big matches, and especially towards the final weekend.
But, yeah, I'm very happy the way things are right now. It's gonna be exciting, I'm sure, the rest now.
Q. You played Haas on clay, and maybe clay is not your favorite surface.
ROGER FEDERER: I'm a clay court specialist, if you haven't realized yet (smiling).
Q. May is not the favorite surface of Haas either. Do you think on grass he's even more dangerous than on clay? What do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I guess talking about him, I mean, he's definitely played much more tennis on hard courts than on any other surface just because he kind of grew up a lot in the States. He played a lot of tournaments over there. It's definitely been his best surface, you know, for most of his career.
But then again, you know, I think you see more and more guys who can play well on grass can also play well on clay. They're dangerous on all surfaces. If you're a good player, you're good everywhere normally.
And he's talented. He's always been one of the best ball strikers in the game. I think he's really gotten his game together again after some tough injuries. I actually played him before he got his surgery in Paris, and then I went on to play the Shanghai Masters, I think 2002 it was.
So he's had a rough few years, you know, behind him. But it's so nice to see him back. We're very friendly. We're good friends. You know, I hope we can live up to the expectations and repeat a good match like we had in Paris.
Q. 21 semifinals is certainly a testament to your excellence, but it also means you show up at every major. Can you talk about your durability a little bit. Why do you think you're so durable when other players seem to break down at some point?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think it's obviously not easy to, you know, play so consistent in all those four majors. But then again, you know, I have many goals outside of the majors: trying to win tournaments, staying healthy, you know, picking up confidence, winning matches and everything.
So it's not only the majors, you know, that count for me in my life. But it's nice, of course, to win on sort of the biggest stages. I can play my best tennis and stay in the tournament for a long time. Same as when it comes to the Masters Cup, as well. I've been very consistent there, as well.
It's fun, you know, playing the biggest matches. Especially I like playing best‑of‑five‑set matches. And maybe this is where, you know, I'm best at, you know, because everything comes out. Not only your mental strengths, but physical, tactical skills. Tactical skills, you know there needs a lot happening, you know, that I lose a match over best‑of‑five sets, you know.
There's many good guys out there I know it can break down in a second against. That's why I'm always very happy when I'm moving forward in the draw.
Q. Is there any chance in the world that you'll be involved in coaching after your career?
ROGER FEDERER: It's not the plan right now.
Q. Can it be taught?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think I would have some good advice, but I'm not really thinking about it right now.
Q. Looking at the list of the final eight players, you, Roddick, Hewitt, Ferrero, all from your generation. Are you happy or surprised that your generation is playing great in this tournament? Do you feel a bit of not lonely anymore with all the young guns around?
ROGER FEDERER: To be quite honest, I'm very happy that so many guys have made it through, you know, to the second week, to the quarterfinal stages. Obviously we'll have Andy or Lleyton going through, you know.
Then also Ferrero. I'm very happy he's come a long way again, because sometimes he gets forgotten next to all the hype in Spain with Rafa, you know.
But it's fun, you know, to see also Tommy around after injury. You know, I like a good mix, 'cause it's not always just the young guys and me. You know, I mean, sure it's cool once in a while, but I still like to play the guys also who I used to play when I came up and who were my main rivals for many years.
So it's good to see. It seems like it's really exciting. I mean, we are also seeing some good matches right now.
Q. What is your sense of appreciation for the Williams sisters' dominance on the other side of the draw?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's been quite incredible what Venus has been able to do here at Wimbledon also, winning five times, just being so consistent for so many years.
Serena obviously having won, you know, the career Grand Slam already since a long time has always been one of the biggest contenders for any major, you know, in the last few years. I like to watch them because they're very powerful.
Q. What do you appreciate most when you do watch them?
ROGER FEDERER: Just that it seems when they're playing well that there's not much of a chance for the other guys ‑‑ girls.
Q. When you've been playing a guy like Haas for as long as you have, do you find yourself having to change strategies, and do you find the other veteran players changing strategies against you?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't get the beginning.
Q. When you're playing a guy like Haas or Juan Carlos or Hewitt or any of the guys who you've been playing for a long time, do you find that the strategies they use against you or you against them have changed over the years?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we all evolve as players, so obviously there's always a little bit of a change from both sides, you know. I mean, if you look at how I played Lleyton when I was younger, I used to come into the net, you know, a lot, chip and charge him, try to serve and volley him, you know, not make the rallies last.
But once I got better I wasn't scared to enter into the rallies. And then all of a sudden you have many and different opportunities, you know, in your own game, playing offense, playing defense, which before you only played offense and no defense really.
It was exciting to play like that. I think it's helped me a lot over the years, if I look back, that I played serve and volley here, almost first and second serve against Pete in 2001, and today I hardly ever play it anymore.
But it's definitely helped me to learn an offensive game. Then, I mean, but I think after a certain amount of years you have a very solid base, and then you start working on the little details, and the details come out in key moments of the match. I think this is where every player tries to make, you know, a big push in their own game.
Q. Of all your accomplishments, how important is it to you, the 21 straight semifinals?
ROGER FEDERER: It means a lot to me. Just being so consistent for so long and reaching it again, it's amazing. It's hard to believe I achieved it, because looking back it's not just I'm looking back on a few weeks or a month or a year or so, it's really way back now.
And even before that, I was in finals, I won a major before that as well. I just had it interrupted by Guga there, I guess. But it's been quite a streak I'm on, and I'm happy it's still alive.
Q. Against Tommy at the French, what do you think it was that carried you through that match most of all?
ROGER FEDERER: Belief, I guess. Very simple. Because I was playing well, you know, the first two sets, but he was ahead. So it was maybe hard to accept, you know, for some. For me, especially.
But I stayed calm and I knew that if the match was going to swing around that it was going to be really difficult for him. It's exactly what happened.
But new match, new tournament. We'll see what happens.
07-02-2009, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Cylon Base Ship
Re: Roger news and articles
The poster boy for grace under pressure By Ed Siegel July 2, 2009
THE NATURAL inclination is to root for the underdog - Susan Boyle, the American soccer team, anybody who plays against the Yankees. So why is Roger Federer someone whom tennis fans root for with such ardor? He’s not only the player of the decade, but if he wins this week’s Wimbledon title he’ll be all but unanimously declared the player of all time. Hasn’t he won enough?
Not for me. There’s nothing I’d like to see more than his passing the record he shares with quintessential nice guy Pete Sampras for most major titles in history Sunday.
Skill is only part of it. Rod Laver had the most complete game modern tennis had seen, but Federer is even better. He serves harder and runs faster, even if Laver’s ground strokes were equal. And no one is more beautiful to watch than Federer.
It isn’t just that Federer is the Joe DiMaggio of tennis; it’s that he’s the Miles Davis of tennis. Watching Federer in action is like watching Davis in concert - you feel as if you’re being given a lesson in how to live a life as well as how to swing a racket or play a trumpet. If Miles was responsible for the birth of the cool in jazz, Roger’s responsible for the rebirth of the cool in tennis.
Not that other players are likely to follow suit. The tennis world belongs to the grunters and groaners, pouters like Andy Murray who look like they’ve just come from the proctologist’s office, or clowns with backward caps like former number one Lleyton Hewitt. The only player who can come close to Federer on style points is the guy who’s as hot as Federer is cool - Rafael Nadal, who looks as if he’s spent his whole life in a gym and whose absence from Wimbledon may be the result of pushing his body too hard. (I could do without Federer’s gold-leaf warm-up suit, but if that’s what it takes to make him so comfortable in his body, then “Go, Ro-jerrr’’ as they chanted in Paris.)
Federer seems like the complete person as well as the complete player, urging himself on bilingually (“Allez!’’) or weeping openly in times of joy or sorrow. Even his wife, to judge from watching her in the stands, seems like a real person instead of a supermodel from another planet.
The waterworks, though, aren’t typical of the way he conducts himself on the court, where he rarely resorts to the fist-pumping, boorish histrionics of other athletes. Frankly, I’ve always preferred the cool guys and gals over the hot bloods - Arthur Ashe over Jimmy Connors, the Australian men and women of the ’60s and ’70s over anybody except Ashe.
But no athlete has been as fun to watch as Federer, running the baseline and hitting a ball seemingly out of reach for a perfect cross-court winner, serving with pin-point accuracy, disguising his shot till the last possible moment, and saving the best for clutch moments.
That last quality seemed to desert him the last year or so when it was Nadal, Novak Djokovic, or Murray who would play the big points better.
Federer, though, seems to have returned to peak form after beating Nadal in Madrid, winning the French Open for the first time, and playing masterfully at Wimbledon this week. He reached the semifinals yesterday with a straight-set win over Ivo Karlovic, and will next play Tommy Haas, who upset fourth-seeded Djokovic.
And with that play he’s again not only a poster boy for how to play tennis, but how to carry oneself in life. It’s not only a matter of grace under pressure, but brains over brawn, agility over ferocity, elegance and sophistication over coarseness and churlishness.
With apologies to Sinatra, it’s the way he wears his headband. All in all, one pretty cool package.
07-03-2009, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Re: Roger news and articles
Federer flies into seventh straight final
Friday, 3 July 2009
Written by Ronald Atkin
Roger Federer's inexorable stride swallowed up another Wimbledon milestone as he hammered his way into a record seventh consecutive men's singles final by sweeping aside Tommy Haas of Germany 7-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and two minutes.
Federer, the five-time champion, can never have served better than he did today. He never permitted Haas even a peek at a break point, landed 75% of his first serves on target and won 89% of his first serve points. Even his second serve was lethal, gathering him an astonishing 81%. Gallantly though he fought, there was nothing Haas could do to halt the inevitable flow of this match in Federer's direction.
After being turfed out of the quarter-finals by Haas, Novak Djokovic forecast that the 31-year-old was capable of surprising Federer. It did not happen, well though Haas himself served throughout. But he was embarking on mission impossible against a genius who permitted him a mere 10 points in three sets of perfection.
Having arrived at Wimbledon with the Halle grass title under his belt, Haas was clearly in form and he extended Federer without ever worrying him. The opening set reached a tiebreak without even the sniff of a break point for either player, but the German faltered at this stage, gifting Federer two mini-breaks and finding himself a set down after 46 minutes.
It seemed for 11 games that the second set would also needed to be resolved by a tiebreak. Federer had conjured a set point at 5-4 when Haas netted a low backhand volley, but Tommy scrambled clear of danger, only to be pitched back into trouble when he served again at 5-6. One of the Swiss's elegant cross-court forehands took him to his third set point and this time the answer was faulty, with Haas driving a forehand over the baseline.
The immensity of the Haas task was evident as Federer upped the power in the third set, looking absolutely invincible on serve. If a break was to come, there was only one place for it to happen - at the Haas end - though the nature of the break was far from satisfactory.
Trailing 4-3, Haas was foot-faulted on his first serve at 15-all. Clearly disturbed by this, the first such call of the match, his concentration wavered. Four break points were saved but a fifth chance for Federer proved too much as Haas followed a double fault by netting a backhand approach. It was a tame way to drop serve after all that had gone before.
So Federer stepped up to serve out for the match. He did it to love, the 10th time this had happened on a day that was just about perfect for him.
the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer
roger is the best
07-03-2009, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Re: Roger news and articles
Federer beats Haas to reach seventh straight final
WIMBLEDON, England (AP)—Five-time champion Roger Federer delivered a masterful grass-court performance Friday to beat Tommy Haas in straight sets and reach his seventh straight Wimbledon final, putting him within one win of a record 15th Grand Slam title.
Seeming to get stronger with every match, Federer put on a serving clinic and took advantage of his break-point chances to subdue the 31-year-old German 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-3 in just over two hours.
Federer, who will meet the winner of the second semifinal between Andy Murray and Andy Roddick, has won 18 straight matches as he closes in on surpassing the mark he shares with Pete Sampras of 14 major titles.
Federer finished with a flourish, leaping high in the air for a smash reminiscent of Sampras in his heyday at Wimbledon. The Swiss star is the first man to make it to seven consecutive Wimbledon finals in the history of a tournament that began in 1877.
Federer never faced a break point as he beat Haas for the ninth straight time to reach his record 20th Grand Slam final, pulling out of a tie with Ivan Lendl.
“I’m very happy with my performance and it’s unbelievable to back into another Wimbledon final,” Federer said. “I’ve had a lot of pressure over all the years, so this is just another great match, great opportunity for me to get into the history books.”
If Federer wins Sunday, he will be the third player to win six or more Wimbledon titles. William Renshaw and Sampras both won seven.
“It’s not the only reason why I’m playing tennis because mostly because I love it and I enjoy playing tennis, but sure going for something that big this coming Sunday, it’s quite extraordinary,” Federer said.
Federer said he would be happy if Sampras came to Wimbledon to watch him try to break his record. Sampras is home in California looking after his two young sons.
“He might come around, he might not,” Federer said. “It’s his choice. I’d love to see him because he’s a good friend of mine. Very honored of course that I share the record of 14 with him.”
The 34th-ranked Haas, winner of a Wimbledon grass-court tuneup in Halle, Germany, served superbly and held his own against Federer but couldn’t break through. Federer, as cool and calm as ever, made it look effortless. He seemed to bide his time, winning all his service games easily and just waiting for the moment to break.
Federer, who had 11 aces, was never even taken to deuce on serve and won 22 out of 24 points on serve in one stretch. He won 89 percent of the points on his first serve and 81 percent on second. Federer had 49 winners to only 15 unforced errors, while Haas had more errors than winners—31 to 28.
With no breaks in the first set, the tide turned in the tiebreaker when Federer hit a reflex backhand service return winner to go up 5-3. Haas then made a forehand error and Federer won the next point on serve to take the set.
Haas saved two set points on serve at 4-5 in the second set, but sent a forehand long on another break point two games later to hand Federer a two-sets-to-love lead.
The third set was decided when Haas double-faulted to set up a third break point of the eighth game, then sliced a backhand approach into the net. Federer served out the match at love
the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer
roger is the best
07-05-2009, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Cape Town
Re: Roger news and articles
from thw wimbledon website
R Laver - 05 July 2009
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Q. How do you see the match going today?
ROD LAVER: Today? I'd have to say that Roger is certainly favored to win the tournament. You know, there's always a few thoughts that go, you know, through your mind about a Roddick serve. If he serves well, he could give Roger all he wants. And he's been serving well, so there's no reason he won't come out there. Once his serve's working well, the rest of his game is working well.
But Roger plays a lot of individual shots and can break down a player when you're in a final like that 'cause there's a lot of pressure out there.
But it should be a good match.
Q. What goes through your mind when you watch Roger Federer play?
ROD LAVER: I just see it's amazing what sort of shots he can come with from impossible positions. It's a great feeling of being able to watch the talent that he has and the opponents that he beats comfortably, where other players have such a tough time to beat a player like a Karlovic, any of the players that can't get his serve back, but how come Roger can do it?
You know, he's just naturally talented and can change where he has to change.
Q. In your mind, how significant is what Roger might achieve this afternoon with the 15th title?
ROD LAVER: Well, you know, it's an unbelievable effort to have 15 Grand Slam titles. And, of course, Pete Sampras has got 14, which was an unbelievable effort right there. And, you know, you've got to be in the game and enjoy the sport to be able to do something like this. You're not going to make, you know, the 12 or 13 events if you don't respect the game and enjoy it. It's a thrill for yourself to get out there and play. That's the one thing that Roger has that I think is admirable for tennis.
It's great that tennis has someone like Roger. We always look at Roger, he and Tiger Woods are good friends, fighting to see who can have the best number of Grand Slams in golf and tennis. So that rivalry ‑ different sport ‑ but they're good friends. That all helps the game of tennis.
Q. What is your sense of the value of conversations about the greatest ever in men's tennis in particular? Do you give that much thought? If so, where do you come down on that?
ROD LAVER: Yeah, no, I've always thought that you're the best in your era. That to me is a pretty good compliment to your game, to your tennis, over your career. You know, if Roger gets to 16, 17 Grand Slams, you know, people in the press are the ones that are wanting to say it: Who's the best over.
My thought is that if you're the best in your era, you know, and you probably don't even know who Bill Tilden is, but was he the best ever? I know that Bud Collins has seen the likes of Tilden play.
So, you know, it's hard for anyone I think to come out and say who's the best ever. It's like boxing. Who's the best ever in boxing? I don't know anybody's come up there. To me it's an era.
Q. Would you like to play Roger Federer? If you were playing against Roger, what would your strategy be?
ROD LAVER: No, I don't think I can answer that one. It's a different world, a wooden racquet against a composite racquet. The whole structure of the game has changed. You've seen old film clips of myself, various matches that we played. It's a different speed. You know, you've got to maneuver the ball around with a wooden racquet.
Today's game, when kids start off at age eight with this composite racquet, you know, they've got spin and control within a couple of years. My coach, Charlie Hollis, said it's going to take you two years to perfect a forehand, two years for a backhand, two years for a serve, you know. So when you get through all this, you've played enough tennis out there, you know, that was the attitude when I came along.
But today the players can perfect all this in like six months, and then it's a matter of how do you come along and beat that. You've got players now that are just coming out of the woodwork and winning and getting to semifinals and finals. You think, you know, how is this? But that's the way the game is being played today.
Q. If today's player had to play with a wooden racquet, do you see any of them playing without problems, comfortable, and others playing with difficulty?
ROD LAVER: I think they'd be shocked when they moved away from the other racquets. I think someone like Pete Sampras, because I played with him one day, and he broke a string in his racquet and didn't have another one. Someone said, I've got one for you. They gave him a wooden racquet. He started playing with it and was playing okay. He said he wasn't getting the speed off it, but he certainly had the timing. That tells you certain players can pull off.
I think anyone that has loops and flicks would have a trouble with it. Yeah, they certainly can learn from it. But it would take a while to get started.
Q. You practically invented the topspin lob. You're known for your versatility. Do you feel kind of a kinship as a tennis‑playing athlete with Roger in that regard?
ROD LAVER: No, I don't think so. You know, I certainly didn't know how to hit the ball flat. I had to put spin on the ball to control the ball. I wouldn't be able to play. Some of the players in my era, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Leu Hoad, they had nice stroke production, but you had to learn that type of stroke. I couldn't play that way. I put spin on my ball, my arm developed, I was able to control the ball.
Q. Pete versus Roger on grass here, how would you see that matchup?
ROD LAVER: Oh, boy. In some ways I think I might take Sampras, only because of his serve. He's got a big serve, volleying ability. He's a little more versatile when it comes to the power game.
You know, Roger, he certainly could get the ball at his feet. But to return a big serve like that, not many players are used to a person serving that hard and getting in close to the net and volleying with success. So I think it would be tough. That's a hypothetical thing, I think, of being able to say who's gonna do it. Depends who's in form that day.
Q. Do you think we've gone too far down the line now ever to having more grass court tennis? Is grass court tennis a thing of the past, apart from this month?
ROD LAVER: No, I'd agree that it's difficult to keep grass courts in good shape. Wimbledon is Wimbledon. I mean, that's a different game. This has been here forever and it's not gonna go anywhere. You know, Queen's Club, England certainly has some grass court tournaments. And the only one we have is at Newport, Rhode Island, in the Hall of Champions. There's a grass court event in the U.S. but there's nothing in Australia at all. I would say this is going to be the last event that will have grass.
Q. In terms of versatility that's needed to keep tennis alive in a sense, variety being the spice of life, if grass court tennis disappears, serve and volley disappears, it's going to be a sad day for the sport, isn't it?
ROD LAVER: I totally agree with you. And I hope that Wimbledon never loses the grass. I remember when we were coming up, certain players, they didn't play well on grass, so they hated it. So they would say, Get rid of this grass. Then some of you press people would write a big article, Why don't we get rid of the grass?
That's the thing, sometimes people get something in their heads. But, no, I can't see Wimbledon certainly leaving grass. I think variety in the game of tennis is slow courts, European clay courts. That game is totally different, and you have to cope with different speeds on court.
U.S. is on cement. Most times it's fairly quick cement. Well, the reason why some of the speeds come up is that the ball, when it hits the ground all the time, it's getting smaller and smaller.
Q. When did you receive your invite from the All England Club? Did you come first class?
ROD LAVER: I came over I guess it was business.
Q. Did you come with family or friends? The invite, was it just for you?
ROD LAVER: I have a friend that came with me.
Q. When did you receive the invite?
ROD LAVER: Oh, I've had invites from Tim Phillips for probably the last three years. But unfortunately I haven't been able to make it for a couple of years. But he wanted me to come in '68 for the first Open Wimbledon that I'd won, then '69. So it did turn out that I was able to be here for this year's.
Q. If you were describing Roger Federer to somebody who had never seen him play, how would you describe him?
ROD LAVER: I don't know. That's a tough one. You almost think about table tennis when you start thinking about the way Roger plays with the racquet, you know.
But I think watching Roger, I think the public should just watch his feet, just watch Roger and not the ball, and you'd see how great a player he is to pull off some of the shots. When he's half volleying winners off the baseline, you know, you just marvel at his ability to do that.
And I think that's the one thing a lot of players, a lot of the public don't do, is watch the player, they watch the ball. Keep your eyes on one player and you'll notice how much work they're doing and how they get to a Roddick serve. You'll see it's impossible. It's 136 miles an hour. How am I returning this?
To analyze his game is hard to. But he's got so many spins. He's coordinated and anticipates so well.
Q. Given what Roger has achieved over the last five or six years, are you somewhat surprised he hasn't achieved the Grand Slam of major titles?
ROD LAVER: Well, I certainly thought that Roger would be the odds on to repeat a Grand Slam in the same year. But it hasn't happened. You know, the Australian, the U.S. and Wimbledon was pretty easy for him when you look back at his career, winning three of each one. But Nadal came along and pushed him back.
So, you know, I think he would have won a Grand Slam if Rafa wasn't there.
Q. Is it still achievable now for him?
ROD LAVER: Yeah, I would have thought so. When I look back at the likes of a Rafa Nadal winning the Australian this year, he's already won four French, last year he won Wimbledon. So, you know, it's just one of those things. It all has to line up in a way that you have to be fortunate to play your best tennis at the right time. That's the way it is.
Q. There was a point when Roger sort of hit a rut and he was losing to players he normally had dominated, Nadal aside. As you watched him go through those struggles, did you feel at any point that he was sliding backward or did you chalk it up to the peaks and valleys ‑ having been through a long career yourself ‑ that players will invariably go through?
ROD LAVER: I think you go through those periods. I think a lot of people knew that he was ill down in Australia when he played, and you could see that he wasn't well. You see him with his head down, he's not up there ready with spirit to fight. You know he's down and he's out. Then through the U.S. circuit he was having trouble with his back. He mentioned when he was having trouble with a back, that affects your whole way you play, the way you're thinking about playing. And how do you practice very much when you're not easily going out there and enjoying the practice?
So it becomes a chore, and I think it was at that stage. But he's over that. Having won the French, he's so confident at this moment, for me I think he's certainly favored to win this particular tournament here.
Depends on how much he plays in the U.S. prior to the US Open.
Q. I was wondering how you view the advancements in the equipment in the game since you've retired, the racquets, the strings? Has this been to the detriment of the game or made it more exciting?
ROD LAVER: I guess exciting. It's tough when you look at people serving 20 and 30 aces in a match. I think the one I saw, Lleyton Hewitt playing I think Karlovic down at the French, and he served 52 aces and lost. It can't have been too much fun for the public to watch that, unless that's all you want to see, is aces.
Certainly the size of the racquet has made it easier to play. Now the guys have perfected how they use this particular racquet. That's one of the things, I think it's easy for the public to go out there and pick up a racquet and enjoy it.
But, you know, I think it's good. You see a lot more rallies. When we played, there was serve, volley, and go pick some more balls up and start again, 'cause in those years we didn't have ball‑boys very often. You had to get your own.
But that's the way changes happen. I think it's good that you've got a lot of rallies. When you're looking at Andy Murray playing, he's working a player out in his head how to slice, he's putting some topspin, he's slowing it up, he's speeding it up. And you can do that with a composite racquet, where you can't really do it so well with a wooden racquet.
~~~Roger Federer (17 GS): Wimbledon 2003, AO 2004, Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2004, Wimbledon 2005, US Open 2005, AO 2006, Wimbledon 2006, US Open 2006, AO 2007, Wimbledon 2007, US Open 2007, US Open 2008, Roland Garros 2009, Wimbledon 2009, AO 2010, Wimbledon 2012 ~~~
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