Roger Federer gave an interview with reporters today at Wimbledon, with many of the questions focusing on his rivals. Here’s some of what Federer had to say on Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from Wimbledon, Andy Murray’s chances and fellow G.O.A.T. contender Tiger Woods (who is having an “historically bad” time right now at golf’s US Open.)
On Rafael Nadal’s “disappointing” withdrawal from Wimbledon:
(It’s) disappointing for me, of course, because I’d love to play him. He’s my main rival. We’ve had some wonderful matches over the years, and especially the one here last year was the one that obviously stands out.
So that we can’t potentially maybe repeat that is obviously sad. But it gives me it just shows me how lucky I’ve been, you know, that I haven’t been injured over all those years, you know, that I’ve been able to keep it up.
Even though I was No. 1, the one people were going after, I was there, I was not injured very often, and I was able to keep it up. It just shows it goes so quick.
So it’s unfortunate. I’m sad for him, because it must have been a very difficult decision to make.
On seeing Rafa at Wimbledon this week:
He congratulated me for Paris. It was good to see him. I asked him how his knee was. He was like, it’s okay. So I kind of knew it wasn’t great, because he’s very honest to me. So I knew that something could be coming up.
On what he has in common with Tiger Woods, who also has 14 major titles:
Success, I guess. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. I mean, like we’ve been at the top for a very long time. We’ve been when you talk about golf, you talk about Tiger; when you talk about tennis, you talk about me.
So it’s something we have, you know, something similar there. Our mindset, our approach. You know, we’re very driven. We try to not only just play well, but we try to dominate, you know, if we can. There is obviously many similarities in this regard.
Here are the reporters trying really, really hard to get some Federer vs. Murray smack talk going:
Q. Do you consider Andy Murray to be your principal threat now that Rafa is out?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I always said Andy I think is a wonderful grass court player, and he showed a little bit last year even though he was not very close with Gasquet in that one match where he fought very brave.
But, no, you know, I think with the success he’s had on hard courts, you know, the last let’s say especially last year where he’s been very, very solid and very, very good. I always knew that Andy was going to be, you know, one of the toughest ones to beat on grass next to Rafa and Djokovic, and I think even like Del Potros, Tsongas, Gonzálezs, and now even Soderling.
There are so many guys around who are dangerous and up and coming still. Maybe it’s hard for them to win the tournament, but on any given day they can create a huge upset. Then you have the usual suspects: Roddick I think is going to be so difficult to beat again because he’s playing better. And other players, so it’s being to be an interesting championship, I think.
Q. You’re known as a very sporting role model. In the matches you’ve lost to Andy Murray, it seems you’ve been a little bit irritated, I don’t know, by his style, or maybe it was just to lose the matches. Is there anything about his game or his style that irritates you?
ROGER FEDERER: Just that he’s very good, otherwise not a whole lot.
Q. Nothing particular about the way he plays? (Like you know, how he “waits for mistakes” – FF)
ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, he’s a very gifted player, you know. He has wonderful feel. He’s a great tactician. I always said that, you know. And he’s finally proved it because it took him some time, you know. That was the disappointing part, I thought, that it took him longer than I expected, you know. So I was wrong with my prediction, because I expected him to do better a few years ago.
But, you know, everything is coming together for him now and he’s been rock solid for, you know, over a year now, almost two years now. So, uhm, he’s there where he belongs, absolutely.
Q. Do you think, if you and Andy did reach the final, a big if…
ROGER FEDERER: Big if, yes.
Q. Do you think the head to head advantage he’s got over you will be a factor?
ROGER FEDERER: Speculation. I don’t really want to answer that. Really there’s no point to talk about it. Sorry. Love to talk about it, but not there yet.
I don’t mean to add to the smack talkers, but I do think it’s funny how Roger refuses to say that Murray is the favorite to make it to the final. You know he’s reaching when he compliments Djokovic over Murray. But Murray will have the chance to prove himself soon enough.
If you’re not quite ready to move on from Roger’s Roland Garros bliss, click here for a play-by-play of Roger’s emotions during that final. Thanks to GTT reader, RC, for passing this along!
Click here for the Wimbledon TV schedule.
Federer interview via Wimbledon.com.
Roger swinging pretty in practice photo by REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN SPORT TENNIS) via Daylife.com