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Old 11-24-2005, 02:49 AM   #1
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Default Federer on Federer

Interview done right before start of TMC. I cut out all the bs before the interview...

Federer On Federer

Steve Flink: How aggravating was it for you, though you lost only three times on your way to Shanghai, to have two of those defeats come at the majors, in the semifinals of the Australian and French Opens, against Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal?

Roger Federer: If I can keep winning two or three [Grand Slam tournaments] a year, that would be fantastic. It did get me worried after the first two Slams this year when I hadn't won one because everybody was talking about me and saying that nobody could stop me at the Australian Open, but I knew that was not the case. Anybody can beat me at certain times and I have to make sure I am aware of that. With the Safin match, it was just unfortunate. I had match point and who knows what would have happened if my foot had not hurt. Nadal was better on the day at the French Open. I didn't deserve to win that match, but I made it to the semifinals there. That gave me confidence to get so close to winning the tournament after the past few years when I had no clue how to win matches in Paris. Then I felt the pressure coming into Wimbledon, but from there I am happy with how the year turned out.

SF: There were different reports about your injury in October that kept you out for a month. Was it the ankle or the foot?

RF: Sort of in between, I guess. I tore a ligament and the ligament goes from the ankle into the foot. I have played many times with pain; so this will be nothing new. I did it exactly four weeks ago [October 11] running for a forehand in practice. I rolled over the ankle. I fell down and couldn't get back up. The foot got swollen within five seconds.

SF: Did this injury make you think that maybe the toughest opponent any great player has is the body? How much did it scare you?

RF: You are right that maybe injuries are the biggest rival of all. Every step we take on court is really brutal and anything can happen at any moment. It makes you think and wonder. Did this torn ligament scare me? Absolutely. You are so vulnerable and we are so close to injuries all the time. But the harder you practice, the fitter you are going to get and hopefully the less injuries you are going to have. So far I have been very lucky, which has helped me to keep up playing so well. This injury did not come at a bad time, and hopefully I can defend my Masters Cup title and be fit for next year. It is so difficult to win Grand Slam [tournament] titles because for two-and-a-half weeks you are not allowed to get injured or sick or whatever. You have to be on top of your game or, otherwise, you are not going to make it.

SF: Do you allow yourself to think about trying to break Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam tournament titles? Does that enter your mind at this stage of your career?

RF: I am getting asked many times about that, but to be honest the thought doesn't cross my mind even once when I practice or play or think. This is not what I am looking for [as if], every time I win a Slam, I go, "Wow, it's already five" or "Wow, it's six." I look more at the moment, but I never set for myself in my life a career goal [that] I want to achieve because everything I set for myself happened much earlier. So all I do now is set myself goals for one year to come, and now I have to look at my goals for next year: to stay No. 1 in the world, try to defend Wimbledon again and have the same focus on all the Grand Slams. Now that I have come so close in Paris that is obviously a big goal for me now. Maybe I feel more importance with Paris now, but the preparation for me is probably going to be the same.

SF: You have won six of the last 10 Grand Slam events going back to Wimbledon in 2003. Is winning a Grand Slam, that is, sweeping the four in a single year a possibility for you?

RF: The Grand Slam is sort of a talking point once you go to Australia. But once you fail there it is gone. If you win it, then obviously it gets very interesting because I have won Wimbledons and U.S. Opens. With the French Open the second one of the season, that would really show if I could go further. So I have definitely thought about it, but it is not worthwhile talking about it because the Australian Open decides everything.

SF: How do you explain not only your extraordinary ability to win every Grand Slam final you play but also your incredible record of winning 24 straight finals altogether? How do you constantly rise to the occasion?

RF: It is hard to say. I remember in the juniors I was already very good in finals. So when I came on tour, I actually had a mediocre sort of start in ATP finals, and I was really disappointed. That was a very uncomfortable situation for me to be in, and I think I just learned after that how to prepare for big occasions. Now when I move into a big occasion it is basically with the same preparation as for any match, whether it is the first round or the final. I have just gotten used to pressure situations. So maybe I don't get as tense as I used to, and of course it helps to have No. 1 on my back. That helps with my confidence and maybe the opponent feels that and falters, while I also play well when it really counts. But I am amazed, too, because 24 is a lot, and not just for tennis [but also for any other sport].

SF: You seem so comfortable being No. 1 in the world. John McEnroe appeared uneasy in that position, while Sampras and Lendl felt they belonged there. Does dominating the game as you have over the last two years just make you that much sure of yourself?

RF: You do become sure of yourself because becoming No. 1 is not just a fluke. It doesn't happen overnight. Winning a Grand Slam [tournament] title can be a little bit that way, but becoming No. 1 is really hard work. And once that pays off, you are very satisfied. And then there are two options: You can either lie back and enjoy it, which means that the moment is going to be short, or you can decide you want to stay there at the top and enjoy it a long time. That (the latter) is what I have chosen to do. For me it is a very comfortable situation to be in because there is nobody better than me, and every time I walk on the court I am the favorite. I would rather be the favorite than the challenger, and I think that is why I have handled the situation of being No. 1 so well.

SF: You parted ways with Peter Lundgren at the end of 2003 and played without a coach all through the 2004 season. Then you brought in Tony Roche at the end of that year, but Tony is not there all the time. How are you able to do something that none of the other top players have tried to do these days, namely, figure out so much by yourself?

RF: This is not a regular thing to do, to play as No. 1 in the world without a coach. When I split with Peter at the end of 2003, I started 2004 in Australia expecting the media to really kill me because it was my feeling that they could not understand why I split with Peter. Then I made it to No. 1 in the world. I won that Australian Open and the confidence I got from that tournament carried me through the whole season. I think I was looking at the time to be a little more independent, to get to know more about life and myself and how everything is done. But I knew that I didn't want to continue for that long without a coach. I was looking around and thinking about it, but there are not 100,000 coaches out there that I would be a good match with. I think traveling on my own all the time and believing in my own strengths and capabilities and my own advice, basically I knew that eventually I would get to a dead end with that, where I have no more information for myself. With Tony, I got new information and that has been fantastic.

SF: Will you have the same routine with Tony for 2006?

RF: To be honest, I haven't spoken with him about next year yet. I will see what he is intending to do, but I don't want to force anything. If he wants to do it one more year, that would be fantastic, but if he doesn't that is no problem. He doesn't need it.

SF: Over the last two years, you have played a serve-and-volley game less and less. Overall you are more selective about using that tactic. But you do it so well and you are such a complete player. And the fans would surely like to see you do it more. Is it impossible in the modern game to play serve- and-volley regularly?

RF: You have to have a very, very good serve to do that. I believe I have a good serve, but is it that incredibly good for playing serve-and-volley? This I don't know. At this time, my volleys are not good enough to serve and volley on a consistent basis. It is a combination of maybe me not volleying good enough and the guys running down too many shots and passing and returning too good in this modern game, which makes it really hard. I think players these days don't work on their volleys anymore. Eighty [percent] to 90 percent of the practice sessions are played from the back. So where guys before would stand at the net all the time, as Tony has told me, it has changed. Of course, I do try to spend more time at the net in practice and try to improve that area of the game because all of a sudden that could make a big difference in the long run for me. I would like to be able to shorten up the points and have that solution. We will see what happens. I wish I could play a little more serve- and-volley because I enjoy doing it, but in the end I am playing the matches to win and not just to please myself.

SF: Do you believe you were a better player technically in 2005 than you were the year before?

RF: Not technically, but more mentally. I am more match tough, a little more fit, a little bit more experienced. And those things sometimes make a difference. But I have to say that I played an equal number of great matches in 2004 like I played in 2005.

SF: Do Nadal and Richard Gasquet stand out in your mind as your biggest threats in the coming year?

RF: I do think so, yeah. There really is a new generation of players coming along right now. The guys I am playing now - Safin, (Lleyton) Hewitt, (Andy) Roddick - I know them all, but I definitely am going to start to focus on the young players coming along because these are the guys I don't know so much about. And look what has happened: I lost to a couple of young players the last two years, like Nadal, Gasquet and Tomas Berdych (2004 Olympic Games). So you have to watch out. It is hard for a rookie to keep it up, but he can be very dangerous in one match. That is exactly the danger for the top players. We have to make sure we are on top of our games against these guys. Definitely I think that Nadal has proven himself. He doesn't belong anymore in the younger group because he has already proven himself so much. Gasquet still has much to prove, but he has huge potential.

SF: Are you sorry that you and Sampras did not play each other more than the one time at 2001 Wimbledon? Have you thought about that?

RF: Maybe it is better this way. Keep it to one match. Let it stay very unique because it was my first Centre Court appearance and it sort of closed his career at Wimbledon. It was my start and a very special moment, first time on that court, first time against him. And the same for him against me. Who knew how good I was going to get? I never thought I would rival anybody like him, but suddenly now I am. So maybe it is actually good that we played only that one time, on grass, on Centre Court at Wimbledon. That is quite special.

SF: You seem to enjoy hearing about all the statistics, the 24 straight final round wins, breaking other records. How much attention do you pay to that?

RF: That is the fun side next to all of the success and the hard work, to sort of see where you stand, what else there is to achieve, what else can be done. And somehow if you play so great like I did the last couple of years, eventually you are going to start breaking records or equaling records or equaling idols like (Boris) Becker and (Stefan) Edberg with six Grand Slams. That is a lot of fun and it gives you a motivation boost. That is how I see it.

SF: You seem to take your losses harder now and you have so much pride. Is part of dominating the game accepting losses, but not taking them easily and always finding reasons why you could have won?

RF: What is it, 10 losses in the last two years? [It was nine at the time of this interview.] Of course I remember every one of the losses very clearly because I have lost so little, but to be honest, I get over the losses very quickly these days, not like the way it used to be. When I used to play, I wasn't always 100 percent sure if I gave my best effort or if I just started to really lose hope in winning, and that would make me play very differently. Today I play from start to finish at a hundred percent, and when I walk off the court, I can only say [if I've lost] that the other guy played too good today or it was just not my day. And then I can move on. But I think you have to analyze your losses because sometimes you can learn more from them than from matches you have won. So maybe it will be an hour or two after a loss where I felt like, "What a pity," but then I move on and I have more time for myself, more time for vacation. I always try to see the positive side.

SF: Like Martina Hingis, Swiss is your native language. Isn't it difficult to be as precise with using the English language as you are with your strokes on the court? Can you be misconstrued?

RF: I am very lucky to have a South African mom, and I grew up with English also. So I have a feeling I feel very comfortable speaking the language. But to be honest, when I do interviews or I go on shows and it is in English, I am much more relaxed than if it was my native language because in my native language I am not allowed to make mistakes, while in English or French, I feel like this is not my perfect language, so everybody will understand if I make mistakes. So I am more relaxed. It is funny.

SF: So where do you go from here? Looking at next year and beyond, how do you maintain your success and make the most of yourself?

RF: When I go on the court, I have to be at 100 percent; so I will try to keep that up. After that, all the other Grand Slam tournaments are very high in the priority list, but right after that are all the other tournaments and trying to win them. Whenever I play I want to win the tournament, and I know I can do that. I think I have done some good scheduling and I definitely want to keep that up, be smart, and look at the big picture and the long term.
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirkaland
You have to have a very, very good serve to do that. I believe I have a good serve, but is it that incredibly good for playing serve-and-volley? This I don't know.
Rafter managed to win two grand-slams playing a serve-volley game with an average serve. I'd love to see Federer use that tactic more, especially on the quicker courts.

Thanks for posting this.
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

There's a guy who is honest with himself and who does think on court.
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Old 11-24-2005, 03:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

rochey will make sure he comes to the net more next year, personally i think he is a better player doing so
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Old 11-24-2005, 04:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Federerthebest
Rafter managed to win two grand-slams playing a serve-volley game with an average serve. I'd love to see Federer use that tactic more, especially on the quicker courts.

Thanks for posting this.
I'd like to see him come to net more, and I'm sure his feet would too.
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Old 11-24-2005, 04:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

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Old 11-24-2005, 04:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by bad gambler
rochey will make sure he comes to the net more next year, personally i think he is a better player doing so
I think Federer's at his best when he mixes it up. He should serve and volley more, especially on the 1st serve. The big 1st serve out wide followed by a forehand approach shot to the opposite court can be a deadly weapon, and Roger should use it more. He is learning how to chip and charge better too, and is not afraid to do so on the big points. That's what makes Federer so good: playing the big points aggressively(serve and volley on the 2nd serve, chip and charge).
When Federer won Wimbledon for the 1st time in 2003, he did it by primarily serving and volleying. The last 2 years he has played much more from the baseline.
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirkaland
SF: Like Martina Hingis, Swiss is your native language. Isn't it difficult to be as precise with using the English language as you are with your strokes on the court? Can you be misconstrued?

RF: I am very lucky to have a South African mom, and I grew up with English also. So I have a feeling I feel very comfortable speaking the language. But to be honest, when I do interviews or I go on shows and it is in English, I am much more relaxed than if it was my native language because in my native language I am not allowed to make mistakes, while in English or French, I feel like this is not my perfect language, so everybody will understand if I make mistakes. So I am more relaxed. It is funny.
The journalist ... , since when Swiss is a language ??
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Old 11-24-2005, 10:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

rafter didnt have an average serve, he had a great variety at his disposel & the ability to mix up pace & placement & that with time as most players grow old becomes even more important than pace. He had a great net game with smart tactics that allowed him to win two US opens.
as for federer with the depth in the field today he can risk playing more serve-volley every now & then . its a shame none ofthe upcoming players play that style of the game anymore. most players can pratice & hit hard & accurate but few can find the tuch & finess needed.
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Old 11-24-2005, 10:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fedex
I think Federer's at his best when he mixes it up. He should serve and volley more, especially on the 1st serve. The big 1st serve out wide followed by a forehand approach shot to the opposite court can be a deadly weapon, and Roger should use it more. He is learning how to chip and charge better too, and is not afraid to do so on the big points. That's what makes Federer so good: playing the big points aggressively(serve and volley on the 2nd serve, chip and charge).
When Federer won Wimbledon for the 1st time in 2003, he did it by primarily serving and volleying. The last 2 years he has played much more from the baseline.
Serve and volley at Wimbledon is much easier; the grass surface will always provide some variability in the bounce and the ball bounces lower. This was the characteristic which enabled Bjorn Borg to serve and volley at Wimbledon. In many matches in Shanghai the visits to the net resulted in a large number of bad volley errors from Rodger. In the top 10 David Nalbandian, Rafael Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt seem to volley better.

Last edited by DrJules : 11-24-2005 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJules
Serve and volley at Wimbledon is much easier; the grass surface will always provide some variability in the bounce and the ball bounces lower. This was the characteristic which enabled Bjorn Borg to serve and volley at Wimbledon. In many matches in Shanghai the visits to the net resulted in a large number of bad volley errors from Rodger. In the top 10 David Nalbandian, Rafael Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt seem to volley better.
Are you serious when you say Nadal volleys better than Federer ??

And Lleyton better volleyer than Roger ?? Not at all
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galaxystorm
Are you serious when you say Nadal volleys better than Federer ??

And Lleyton better volleyer than Roger ?? Not at all

Rafael and Lleyton do not seem to make many easy volley errors. It is hard to count how many easy errors Roger made on the volley in Shanghai - it seemed a lot.

Last edited by DrJules : 11-24-2005 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Federer is one of the most competent volleyers in the game - all the more reason for him to get to the net more
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJules
Rafael and Lleyton do not seem to make many easy volley errors. It is hard to count how many easy errors Roger made on the volley in Shanghai - it seemed a lot.
I don't disagree there are better vollyers out there than Fed, but I don't think you can use his play in Shanghai as an example. All around he was not playing his best tennis that week....not surprising coming off injury and 6 week layoff.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: Federer on Federer

Quote:
Originally Posted by almouchie
rafter didnt have an average serve, he had a great variety at his disposel & the ability to mix up pace & placement & that with time as most players grow old becomes even more important than pace.
For a serve-volleyer Rafter did have an average serve. It was certainly inferior to other modern serve-volleyers like Sampras, Ivanesavic, Kraijeck etc., though you're right in that he did use it very cleverly. Federer's serve is better, if not at least the equal to, Rafter's.
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