I hope we’ve all recovered from the five set match Roger Federer eventually won today over Tommy Haas in the Rd. of 16 at Roland Garros. Roger spoke afterward about his comeback from two sets down, his pick for the top half finalist (hint: NOT Murray), and how Mirka is not giving him any French Open ultimatums. Here he is on video:
Later, he was asked about Andy Murray’s chances to make it to the finals. Guess Roger is a Kolya fan:
Q. On the other side of the draw now, Andy Murray is now seeded to get through to the final. Do you see him getting there, and do you see him as your biggest individual threat now?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, sure, he has a good chance to make the finals, you know. But then at the same time, I think Davydenko has it, you know. I mean, he’s been written off a little bit. I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t heard much about him, you know, because he’s a great player.
He was in the top 4 for a long time. He was unfortunate with some injuries. So he couldn’t keep his ranking because of that, not because he was losing first rounds all the time. I think that’s why he’s actually got a great chance of going forward.
Then we have other players, too. But I think the draws are wide open on the other side right now.
Glad to know Mirka understands the jinx-factor. Love the question, though:
Q. I’d like to know about Mirka or Séverin Luethi. How did they react to the fact that Nadal wasousted? What did they say? Did they say this was your year?
ROGER FEDERER: No, they didn’t really say something like this. You see, I watched the match withmy physiotherapist. Like any other match, he was down two sets to zero, and I watched the end of the match.
That’s all, because I’m a fan of tennis. We were impressed by Soderling’s game. But Séverin, Mirka,and the others never came to me saying, “Now you have to win this match, otherwise you will never do it, ever.”
No. By the way, this is not what I wanted to hear, and this is not their reaction. I’m really happy, because we stayed calm. It’s normal, because I have a very harmonious team, which is what we need.
Roger explains how Mirka became Queen of the Player’s Box (and Roger’s heart):
Q. I have another question that has nothing to do with this match. Mirka is very important in the life of Federer. How important is it to have such a wife as a player?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, Mirka, you know, the first two years we were together she didn’t really travel that much with me because she had her own career. We met in Miami and the Grand Slam tournaments or matches, and then unfortunately she was seriously injured. She had to wait.
You know, there was a period of rehabilitation. Then when she had to go through the surgery or operation, it was not easy for her. But frankly, she decided very quickly to dedicate or to give up her career to focus on mine, even though today she still hurts.
I mean, her foot operation didn’t go on really nicely, so it was easy for her to give up and say, Okay, I’ll stop my career and I’ll have my husband.
Now I think she is supporting me at the right moment, because, you know, I won Wimbledon in 2003, and that’s when she didn’t really know what to do with her career. She didn’t know if she would try it or not.
That’s when she started helping me with the hotels, the plane tickets. I had no managers at the time. That’s when she started dealing with the press, as well. It was a lot for her, I know, but she would protect me from many things.
And now, afterwards, it was better. It was easier and she was with me day in and day out, throughout the world, and she helped me considerably, as a person, you know. I developed faster, grew faster with her. Thanks to her I was very calm in the important moments in my career. She was always here, always supportive. I owe her a lot. It’s normal.
Roger Federer ended the presser with these words (in French), which should make Fed Fans smile and nod:
“I was in a very tricky position (today), I must say this. But that’s when I thought I have all the assets in my hands to change this match, and that was the case.”
I’m not really sure what to think about this match, except I’m glad Roger is through to the quarters. He mentioned in the press conference (at a journalist’s prodding) that he had a very slight runny nose, but obviously it was Haas’s play that was the ultimate test. Just how much the thought of a Rafa-less final weighed on the three-time finalist, well, we’ll just have to speculate endlessly about that!