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Nice interview. :)

For Federer, No Fading Away
December 2, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY

BOSTON — After working and winning indoors in Europe for most of November, Roger Federer is now in the sunshine at a distant, undisclosed resort with his wife, Mirka, and twin daughters. But even with sand between the toes and the rackets in very temporary storage, tennis remains part of the lounge-chair conversation.

“The vacation has only just started, and I had quite a trip trying to get down here,” Federer said by telephone. “But once down at the beach with the nice weather and the alone time with Mirka, I definitely look back and go, ‘I can’t believe I was just in my 100th final, and it’s already my 70th title.’ That’s what I told her. I got together with her when I had zero titles, and we kind of went through all this together, and now we have a family. It’s been pretty incredible.”

Until the home stretch, Federer’s 2011 season was better defined by frustration than fulfillment, but after a timely six-week break, his mental and physical freshness helped him produce tennis reminiscent of grander years as he won his last three tournaments: his home city event in Basel, the Paris indoors and the elite year-end championships, known as the Masters Cup, in London.

Novak Djokovic was the man of the year, winning three of the four Grand Slam singles titles. Rafael Nadal won his sixth French Open. But though Federer lost four of five matches to Djokovic and failed to win a major singles title for the first time since 2002, he is the only one of the game’s lead pack who will be carrying major momentum and a long winning streak into the new year.

“By Roger’s incredibly lofty standards, 2011 was a down year in that he didn’t win a major,” Jim Courier, the U.S. Davis Cup captain, said in an e-mail. “I think his fall win streak is testament to his intact talent, the effortless aspect of his game compared to his peers and intelligent scheduling. I suspect he will continue to be a strong contender at the majors until his speed of foot starts to fall off, which seems to occur in top-level athletes around the age of 32 or 33.”

If so, Federer, who won’t turn 31 until August, still has time to keep covering the corners, even if he is now the oldest man in the top 25 of the rankings .

“Am I surprised I’m still so hungry at this age?” Federer said. “Not really, because I always expected myself to be this way. I never saw myself sort of just all of the sudden fading, fading away and at the end having no love left for the game. I just really think it’s a thing that maybe the body decides or something else decides when it’s over, but it’s not just all of the sudden not going to be there anymore.”

It has been a bustling phase on and off the court for Federer, and 2012 could be even busier, as he is expected to chase the only two significant prizes he lacks: the Olympic singles title and the Davis Cup. The Olympic event will be on grass at the All England Club in late July, shortly after Wimbledon.

“It’s not as complicated as other Olympic years,” he said, chuckling. “We couldn’t be better prepared this time around, whereas the last times have been brutal.”

Federer said he was close to committing to the first round of Davis Cup in February, in which Switzerland will play host to Courier and the United States. This would be a major shift considering that Federer has not played a nonrelegation round in Davis Cup’s World Group since 2004.

“I think it looks good that I will play, but I still just have to finalize my schedule,” he said.

Federer also said that he had extended his relationship with Paul Annacone, his co-coach along with Severin Luthi, after the U.S. Open semifinal loss to Djokovic in which he squandered two match points on his serve.

“I know when someone is doing a good job and when someone is not,” said Federer, who said he told Annacone, “Just because Novak smashed a forehand past me, and I missed match point, has no effect on my decision in working with you.”

Federer also revealed that he and Nadal had met in London before Nadal left for Spain in an attempt to talk through their differences about the direction the men’s game will take off the court.

Federer is president of the player council, Nadal is vice president, and there is much to resolve.

The men’s tour is searching for a new chief executive, and while Nadal has backed Richard Krajicek, the former Wimbledon champion from the Netherlands, Federer has been focused on finding someone with a stronger business background. Nadal has been pushing for a new two-year ranking system, while Federer feels strongly that the current one-year system is worth preserving.

“We did have a meeting together in London before he left for Davis Cup, so we’re on the same page in terms of we spoke about everything,” Federer said. “It was just a matter of just hearing it from him and him hearing it from my side what we all think, and we’ll now have probably a chat either before Davis Cup or after Davis Cup, just letting time go by a little bit after our conversation and see where we want to go from here and just be helpful to the tour so that we can take the right decisions. Because in the end, it’s not us that take the decisions but the board. But we would like to maybe give the board some direction, so we’ll see how it goes in the next week or so.”

The A.T.P. board of directors, composed of tournament representatives and player representatives, has also been divided on Krajicek, but there are other issues, including the cyclical complaints about the length and grueling nature of the season.

Nadal has been vocal in calling for further change, saying this week in a radio interview in Seville that he wanted to be healthy enough when his career finished to live a normal life and be able to play soccer with his friends.

Federer prefers to focus on the golden age that men’s tennis is currently experiencing on court and see what comes of the changes already in place, including a two-week cut in the length of the season in 2012.

“I just think it’s unfortunate that maybe we hurt the tour ourselves sometimes,” Federer said. “I’m not addressing any players in particular. It’s just an overall feeling. I think it’s a rare thing that athletes of a certain sport are negative toward their sport.”

Federer said he wished players would reserve their complaints about the schedule for more private, constructive forums, but then Federer is that rare veteran star who has never had a major injury.

He has now played in 48 consecutive Grand Slam events — last missing one in 1999 — and winning a record 16. He has also played in 10 straight tour championships, winning a record six, which is all the more remarkable considering how much Djokovic’s Federesque run through mid-September took out of him down the stretch, when he looked emotionally and physically spent.

Federer has won three Grand Slam titles and the tour championships in the same season on three occasions.

“You don’t want to see something happen like it happened to Novak at the end of the year,” Federer said. “But in the end, we’re all just human, and it does happen that we can’t win everything, and you know how it is at the top. The margins are so small, but still Novak is by far the player of the season.”

That does not mean Federer has given up on being the player of next season. Currently No. 3, he would relish a return to No. 1, which would help him take care of some unfinished business in that he is remains just one week short of tying Pete Sampras’s men’s record of 286 weeks atop the rankings.

“Exactly,” Federer said with a laugh. “Well, that’s a long way to go, but who knows? One day maybe I’ll get there. We’ll see. I had to just kind of ignore it at the moment because I know that Novak with his unbelievable year has kind of put that very far from me, but then again, all of the sudden you play well and you win 17 matches in a row and you’re back where you at least feel if you win a Slam or something, you’re right in the conversation again, so that’s interesting and that excites me.”

For now, however, it’s back to the beach.
 

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Roger and Mirka :hearts:
 

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Nadal backing that rosy-cheeked moron Krajicek, WHAT a surprise :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

And Rafa, before you moan about schedule again, cut down on your exhos, clown.
 

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"I got together with her when I had zero titles, and we kind of went through all this together, and now we have a family. It’s been pretty incredible.”
:hearts:
 

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Well he might actually have a point there :shrug:


Hard courts are not that great of a surface to play on, especially for your lower body.
hard court tennis is a part of tennis, like getting tackled is a part of NFL football (also not great for your body ;)) Nadal needs to just accept it or switch to golf.
 

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hard court tennis is a part of tennis, like getting tackled is a part of NFL football (also not great for your body ;)) Nadal needs to just accept it or switch to golf.
Yes this is also true. I think what really needs to be done, is to have the hard courts speed up a little bit. They're too slow and encourages more grinding out tennis, than fast courts and hence leads to a bigger risk of injuries.
 

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^^Agreed. But if the hard courts are sped up, Nadal might not be winning any more HC titles. (not like he won any this season; just saying.) I would love to see more HC sped up though; the surfaces are too homogenous for my liking.
 

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^^Agreed. But if the hard courts are sped up, Nadal might not be winning any more HC titles. (not like he won any this season; just saying.) I would love to see more HC sped up though; the surfaces are too homogenous for my liking.
That's the main problem, indeed.
Speed up HC, slow down the clay courts (it was quite a pleasure for me to watch REAL clay court tennis at the DC final again, to be honest ;)), and bring back carpet. At least we'd be able to watch different styles of tennis again and not the same kind of defensive baseline tennis we're now seeing happening at about 90% of the tournaments...

The fact that we might well see yet another player get the Career GS next year, whereas it used to be a really fantastic achievement in the past, appears to rather downgrade this achievement imho, and it can only be due to the homogenization (?) of the courts.
 

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^^Agreed. But if the hard courts are sped up, Nadal might not be winning any more HC titles. (not like he won any this season; just saying.) I would love to see more HC sped up though; the surfaces are too homogenous for my liking.
Yes I agree, but thinking deeper into it, it might actually be worse for the game. The game of the 90s was getting too boring for fans as rallies were lasting 1-2 shots, with the serve and volleying style, hence why they toned down the speed of the surfaces, but I think they've overdone it. They need to find the perfect surface speed for hardcourts which means both S/V and baseliners can thrive. At the moment it's primarily the baseliners that thrive, in the past it was mainly the S/v who thrived.

They need to find the speed to suit all gaming styles, and that would then encourage S/V.
 

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I think the game would benefit from a combination of fast and slower courts. I'm not saying speed up all hard courts - that would be boring too and I'm not sure I want to watch pure S&V anyway. It would be good, I think, to have fast hard courts and slower hard courts, sort of like the AO and the USO (pre-2011 USO anyway), and fast grass courts at Wimbledon and slow clay courts at RG. Otherwise, the tournaments become a bit too similar and there's hardly any variety in the game. It's just weird to me that RG is faster nowadays than most hard courts. I was quite disappointed that Bercy slowed down its courts - I really enjoyed last year's tournament. It was something different at least.

I've never watched tennis played on carpet. :sad: I've only started watching in 2008. But wow, the speed of the court at the USO has changed significantly enough for me to notice over the past 3 years. That's kinda sad.

Also, Sunset, I agree with you re. the career grand slam.
 

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I think the game would benefit from a combination of fast and slower courts. I'm not saying speed up all hard courts - that would be boring too and I'm not sure I want to watch pure S&V anyway. It would be good, I think, to have fast hard courts and slower hard courts, sort of like the AO and the USO (pre-2011 USO anyway), and fast grass courts at Wimbledon and slow clay courts at RG. Otherwise, the tournaments become a bit too similar and there's hardly any variety in the game. It's just weird to me that RG is faster nowadays than most hard courts. I was quite disappointed that Bercy slowed down its courts - I really enjoyed last year's tournament. It was something different at least.

I've never watched tennis played on carpet. :sad: I've only started watching in 2008. But wow, the speed of the court at the USO has changed significantly enough for me to notice over the past 3 years. That's kinda sad.

Also, Sunset, I agree with you re. the career grand slam.
OMG I too only started watching tennis in 2008 :)o)

My first ever match was Nadal/Federer at Wimby 2007 and then my first ever full match was Gasquet/Murray at Wimby 2008 (Clearly I started off as a wimbledon n00b :eek:).

But yeah, I agree with your points. I think the pace should go like this in terms of the masters/Grand Slams:

AO- medium/slow- It's always been a medium/slow surface traditionally, so may as well keep it like it is.

Miami/Indian- Although the events have received a lot of negativity as of late because of the slowing down of the surface, I actually agree that they should be kept slow, because clay is slow and as this event is squashed between hard courts and clay, it should be kept how it is, perhaps made a teeny weeny bit more faster.

Rolland Garros -Needs to slow down. 'nuff said.

Wimbledon - Needs to become much, much faster. 'Nuff said.

Canada/Montreal- These both are fast and they should be kept exactly like that- a fast, traditional hard court.

US Open- Needs to get much faster than this year :)o) and faster than the past 3 or so years. It needs to go back to how it was in the 90s.

Shanghai/Paris- Again both need to be faster. Paris was much faster last year and I like the tournament. It was very nice watching a fast court.

WTF- Needs to kept how it is.
 

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OMG I too only started watching tennis in 2008 :)o)

My first ever match was Nadal/Federer at Wimby 2007 and then my first ever full match was Gasquet/Murray at Wimby 2008 (Clearly I started off as a wimbledon n00b :eek:).

But yeah, I agree with your points. I think the pace should go like this in terms of the masters/Grand Slams:

AO- medium/slow- It's always been a medium/slow surface traditionally, so may as well keep it like it is.

Miami/Indian- Although the events have received a lot of negativity as of late because of the slowing down of the surface, I actually agree that they should be kept slow, because clay is slow and as this event is squashed between hard courts and clay, it should be kept how it is, perhaps made a teeny weeny bit more faster.

Rolland Garros -Needs to slow down. 'nuff said.

Wimbledon - Needs to become much, much faster. 'Nuff said.

Canada/Montreal- These both are fast and they should be kept exactly like that- a fast, traditional hard court.

US Open- Needs to get much faster than this year :)o) and faster than the past 3 or so years. It needs to go back to how it was in the 90s.

Shanghai/Paris- Again both need to be faster. Paris was much faster last year and I like the tournament. It was very nice watching a fast court.

WTF- Needs to kept how it is.

Miami
OMG, you too only started watching tennis in 2008? Sometimes I feel slightly embarrassed to admit this as my tennis knowledge is still rather n00bish, so I'm glad I'm in good company. :p

I stumbled upon random matches while channel surfing way back, in the years of Hewitt and Ferrero (I used to think they were hot. And Safin too), but I never seriously watched tennis until I randomly chanced upon Fed/Safin at Wimbledon 2008. I thought Roger was exceedingly good-looking :)lol:) so I started following him in the Olympics. The first match that I watched in full was probably the gold medal doubles match. :lol: First full tourney was the US Open.

I pretty much agree with your take on the surfaces. It's quite sad when RG becomes one of the faster grand slams. :lol: I remember what Jimmy Connors said about Fed once, about how in the modern era you're either a clay court specialist, grass court specialist, hard court specialist...or you're Roger Federer. What made (and still does) him so great is that he's able to compete on all surfaces. Now that the courts are so similar, you can't tell the real masters of the game from those that only look like it anymore. Also makes you wonder what's the point of having different surfaces if they're just going to be similar anyway. Might as well just have 1 tournament a year and be done with it.
 
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