Sorry for the cut and paste job, but Roger Federer’s Australian Open championship press conference is fascinating from start to finish. Some highlights:
1. Roger was worried that he lost the match after that failed drop shot in the third set tie-breaker. Great minds think alike, Rog.
2. Fed admits to being “honest” in his comments re: the pressure Murray faces
3. Roger’s taking all comers, including the new breed of youngsters who “don’t have any weaknesses.”
Hilarious Roger quote: “Whatever happens, happens.”
An interview with ROGER FEDERER: Sunday, January 31, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Would you say maybe your ability to retrieve is just as important as shot‑making, the balls you ran down?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think footwork is something of the most important things in tennis, especially at the level that we’re playing at. At the moment, I think it’s become extremely physical, you know, the game of tennis, especially at the baseline. It’s not as much back and forth. It’s more side to side.
I feel like, you know, my movement’s back. I think that’s a great thing. I definitely had to play some of my best tennis tonight to come through. That was clearly the case.
Q. Did you think it was a great strategy tonight, more than usual?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he’s obviously a very patient man from the baseline, you know. I mean, I think this is how he made it to the top really. You know, not missing much, being dangerous, mixing up his pace very well, some loopier, some flatter. He can obviously go angle, hard down the line, as well as his backhand. I think that makes him particularly tough to play against.
I think the first set was very interesting on a mental and on a physical level. I thought he played at a very high intensity. I think the first set could have gone either way. So for me to get the first break and play well the way I did, and I think him as well, was obviously crucial for the match, you know, that we were both playing so well.
Somebody had to win the set. Thankfully it was me. I think I was hitting the ball well. I felt that from the start. So I always knew it was going to be a very intense match, you know. I’m happy I was able to play so aggressive and patient at the same time because that’s what you got to be against Murray.
Q. We saw you engage in psychological warfare, talking about the pressure on him, how long it’s been, using 150,000 years out on court. Was it so much sweeter beating Andy because he has a very good record against you and has got under your skin in the past?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it got exaggerated. The on‑court interview, I don’t take those serious anyway. If you think it was a mental thing, it was not the case, you know.
But you ask me a question, I’ll give you a straight answer. That’s how the press conference was after the Tsonga match. It’s not an easy thing to do to win your first Grand Slam. That’s not mental, you know, trying to screw with his head, you know. It’s just a tough thing, you know.
The next one is not gonna get any easier. But his game is so good that I’m convinced he will win one, you know. And I thought he did really well tonight because conditions were tough. I mean, I think I played a great match. So someone’s got to win, and I’m happy it was me.
Q. After the emotions of wins 14 and 15, how do you rate a 16th title?
ROGER FEDERER: I think you also got to see the way a match ends. Is it 40‑Love point where serving and you’re up 5‑Love, or in a breaker. I don’t even know the score, 13‑11. Sometimes it’s over before you know it.
This felt similar to the Wimbledon victory in a way, because all of a sudden it was over and it hit me, you know. Whereas before I made the dropshot and I think I won, and might have been much more emotional, you know.
But then after losing that point, I’m thinking, My God, he just grabbed the trophy out of my hands. I might end up losing this thing. Two or three points later, I’m the winner after all.
It was very much a rollercoaster with the emotions. You know, you just try to stay focused. I guess the match point was over, and I was like, Oh, my God, this is it. That’s kind of how I felt. It was great.
Q. How do you keep doing it year after year, Grand Slam after Grand Slam? You make it look so easy, and obviously it isn’t.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, look, there’s no secret behind it. You know, I mean, definitely a very talented player (laughter). I always knew I had something special, but I didn’t know it was like, you know, that crazy.
I definitely had to work extremely hard so I would pick the right shot at the right time. For instance, on the match point I decided to hit a dropshot. You got to be crazy to do that.
But I just ‑‑ you know, I always knew I had it in my hand. The question is do I have it in my mind and in my legs, you know. That’s something I had to work extremely hard at. Now I feel like obviously I’m being pushed a great deal by the new generation coming up. I always feel sort of tennis changes sort of every five years.
Because when I came on tour, matches were played very differently. It was more of a bluff game, guys serving well, but there was always a weakness you could go to. Today that doesn’t exist anymore. I think that’s also thanks to guys like Murray. They’ve made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances, you know, in a long time, or maybe forever.
Q. Would you have been confident even if you lost the third set? How were you feeling at that point?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think it would have been very interesting obviously to see how he would have handled it, you know, coming off such a high of winning the third set. Then still I think it was very physical, so it would have been very taxing on his body and my body, you know, just to see how we would have both sort of pulled up after that third set.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for him. But it was played at a very high intensity, I think, from start to finish. Rallies were long. They were physical. I would have been okay. I still had the lead, so wouldn’t have been a problem.
Q. Andy said he can cry like you, but he can’t play like you. You were very gracious about what you said about him afterwards. What makes you think he will win one of the trophies?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I just think he’s ‑‑ I mean, he’s a wonderful mover, tactician, great backhand. He has got everything you need to beat the best and to win big tournaments. You know, sometimes it just doesn’t happen when you want. Sometimes it all of a sudden happens without you knowing that it did.
He’s going through, I mean, you know, a tough generation at the moment. There’s many guys. You know, I’ve dominated hard court and grass for a long time; Rafa did clay. Rafa also became very strong on the other surfaces and so forth.
So I think it’s just not an easy thing to do, Grand Slams, and I proved it again tonight. But I think he’s extremely strong in his mind, and I just feel like he’s got the game to do it. The question is just when.
Q. This is your first Australian Open for a couple of years. Can we now start talking about a Grand Slam? Is that on your mind with Nadal having some issues and you looking very good?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I mean, it’s not something I’ve ever put in my mind that this is something I want to achieve. I’ll still go and play the smaller tournaments, you know, the Masters 1000s, the ones we’re supposed to play. I try to give my best everywhere I go to, because I think there’s not only the Grand Slams.
Of course, they are important, but I try to respect every tournament that invites me to go play there. There’s the fans who pay tickets. I want to live up to my expectations, too.
I won’t just put the entire calendar just around trying to win the calendar Grand Slam. I mean, it’s something if it happens, it does, it’s great; but it’s not something that’s like my number one goal. Not at all. It’s the same as I haven’t put a number on how many Grand Slams I want to try to win. Whatever happens happens.
You know, I really want to try to enjoy, you know, my end to my career, because I’ve reached already so many goals I thought were never possible. I really want to just enjoy the tour, and that’s what I’m doing at the moment. Obviously as a dad as well even more so.
Q. Do you let yourself sort of think about what sort of legacy you’d like to leave on the game when it is done?
ROGER FEDERER: No, neither. I just think it’s something that’s going to be once I hang up my racquet, that’s when people should judge me and talk about what great things I did, maybe less great things I did, you know.
But I try to be good for the game, leave it better off than when I arrived, even though that’s hard. I’m very thankful to the legends of the game who created this great platform for us. We did have another record crowd attendance at the Australian Open.
For me to be part of something like this is something also very special, of course.
Q. The way you feel and the way you’re playing, is there any suggestion that you couldn’t go on for another four, five years? Doesn’t seem to take that much out of you. You have a new physio working with you.
ROGER FEDERER: Sure, but there is never a guarantee. Tennis has always been that way. For the last 10 years I go week in, week out. Every practice I play, I hope I’m going to be healthy on the other side.
But I feel, like you said, my game is not as taxing as other players’ games. I also think I have a very relaxed mind when it comes to the game of tennis. I’ll definitely try my best on the court. I’m professional the way I’m supposed to be.
But off the court, it’s a matter of relaxing and enjoying it, you know, seeing friends and families. There’s more important things than tennis after all. I think that’s something I’ve always had a clear vision of how my life is, you know. I think that’s also helped me to go through better and tougher phases, you know, because I know this is an incredible trip I’m on.
We’ll see where it ends, you know. I hope not anytime soon.
Q. You mentioned a couple times it’s your first major win as a dad. Did you ever doubt you’d be able to keep winning as a father?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, it was more put out there, you know, that apparently it’s hard to do. Not as hard as it seems (laughter).
I mean, I think the special win for me was winning in Cincinnati, I think. I think the girls were barely two, three weeks old. That was terrific. That was very special. Sure, this is the first Grand Slam, but it doesn’t feel as much as the Cincinnati victory felt like, just because there it was right off the bat; it was fresh.
It was all in my mind, you know. So to get through that tournament by beating Andy and Novak in the semis and finals was very special. Then, of course, being a dad, just coming off the whole thing was amazing.
This is obviously terrific, as well. Maybe not as much as the dad part, but just more that I can still do it, you know, after losing the US Open final.
Q. How will you celebrate tonight? Any different?
ROGER FEDERER: Friends and family, you know. See if the babies are up. Hope not (smiling). Otherwise I’ll wake them up tomorrow or I’ll just grab them because I’m so happy.
No, we’ll just have a good time tonight with drinks and food. That’s what I usually do, regardless if I win or lose. It’s something I’ve got the habit, you know, because I got a lot of support. I just like to let the tournament unwind a bit, you know, see where it ends. At 12:00 apparently we have a photo shoot.
Q. Can you understand why Andy got emotional at the end? You’ve been through that yourself. You say it’s hard to win the first one. Can you appreciate why he felt as deflated as he did at the end?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, yeah, I mean, of course I do. I mean, it happened to me, too, you know. I think the US Open everything happened a bit quick for him there. I think he played back‑to‑back Saturday, Sunday matches, a match with Rafa.
Before he knew it, he was in the US Open final and he didn’t know what hit him. He lost. You know, I think he was still happy with the outcome, you know, because to Rafa the victory for him was a huge one. But maybe he didn’t have time to really get emotional about it.
I don’t know if you ever heard me say, but the US Open is very loud, so you don’t maybe start thinking too much of, how did I play, am I disappointed. Here in Australia or Wimbledon, it’s very different. It’s very quiet. It’s very respectful. Standing ovation. It builds up in you as the trophy ceremony goes by.
I thought he was actually doing fine until he told me, I think there will be some tears. I’m like, Don’t worry, it will be all right. And he actually did.
You know, in a way it was hard to watch, but at the same time I like seeing players who care for the game. I don’t know. It’s nice to see, you know. So you wish, you know, only the best for him.