Roger Federer beat American Kevin Kim 6-3, 6-2 at Miami’s Sony Ericsson Open on Friday, and had a few interesting things to say afterward about the stresses of life on tour and his attitudes towards fans and players. The gist: he doesn’t mind signing autographs, but don’t expect him to break a sweat during practice sessions (click here for proof.)
Here’s Roger on the daily grind (all together now, “Poooooooor Roger!”):
Q. You’ve just won the Stefan Edberg award for the fifth consecutive time, which is a wonderful achievement. Does it get any harder with all the stress that life places upon you and everybody to keep up such high standards of deportment as time goes by? Does it get harder to behave so well?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, sometimes the patience level is not there, or, you know, like it used to be. But I feel it just hanging around the courts. I just don’t do it as much anymore. Now I understand why Agassi and Sampras and all those guys came in, did what they had to do at the site, and then go somewhere else.
You know, if it’s their hotel or go shopping or go hang out at the beach, you just want to get away from the tennis scene. Because maybe after playing a 1,000 matches you get, you know, sick and tired of seeing another 100,000 matches you’ve seen already.
You kind of just don’t hang around as much anymore, but still I try to give back to the fans by signing autographs, taking pictures while I’m at the site. Especially after practice I like to take my time.
And even though I only hit for an hour, you know, I’ll be showering only one hour later after all the people I meet and all the people who want to talk to me and all the pictures and autographs and signings, there’s more than just the practice.
I think that’s where I have to, not motivate myself, but it’s just sometimes there is days where it’s harder for me, you know. I almost like to practice off-site, you know, where it’s nice and calm and I can really concentrate on the practice and not just come out and put on a show and sign autographs.
Because at the end of the day, I also have to work to get better. (Yes! Bring on the backhand drills! – ed.) This is sometimes where it’s a fine line for me.
Roger Federer on his lockerroom clique:
Q. (And how’s your attitude) on court?
ROGER FEDERER: On court, no problem. You know, I always think respect towards the opponent is something that’s really important to me. Without the other players, you know, I’d been nothing, too, otherwise I’d been No. One in the world playing against nobody. (HA! – ed.)
They make me work hard and they challenge me and I challenge them, and I think that’s what you learn I think with age, even more so. If I look back, you know, and I see how my relationship is today with, you know, with Roddick and, you know, Safin and Hewitt, whereas in the beginning it was, you know, we were friendly and we hung out a little bit.
But I think today there is a bit of a deeper connection because we’ve gone through so many things and we can relate. It’s actually becoming more fun, because I know more and more players now on tour. I feel more welcome, you know, in the locker rooms, whereas in the beginning I was maybe fighting for acceptance, you know. You know, you don’t want to talk to Pete and Andre too much. You don’t want to bother them.
And you feel like a little bit, All right, I’ll just go in the corner and do my thing, whereas now it’s easier. I speak to everyone. It’s actually a bit more fun today.
See Marat, you really shouldn’t retire just yet! Don’t you want to chew the fat with Roger for a few more years in the lockerroom – help him stuff Nole into a few more lockers?
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)