An In Depth Look at Federer’s Post Match Presser After Losing to Berdych

I thought it would be worth it looking more closely at Federer’s post match presser after the Berdych loss. I went quickly over it in my post after the match, but there is more to learn here. This presser may also give us a clue of what lies ahead for Roger in the coming months. I thought it wasn’t a bad presser given the circumstances, and the haters have of course fully exploited it to make the GOAT look bad. None more so than Mark “Treason” Reason, who wrote this shocking article for the Telegraph. Having said that, there are some things about the presser that bothered me as well. So let me take a closer look then at some excerpts from the presser.

Q. You beat him almost every time you played him. Was he any different?

ROGER FEDERER: Like I said, I think he was a bit more consistent than in the past. I lost to him in Miami this year, where it was a really tight match as well.

But from my end, obviously, you know, I’m unhappy with the way I’m playing. I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play. You know, I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue. That just doesn’t quite allow me to play the way I would like to play.

So it’s frustrating, to say the least. Looking forward to some rest anyway.

Roger mentions the injury, and then he adds that it is ‘frustrating, to say the least’.  I will give him some more credit than I did before. I think the fact that he said it’s frustrating to say the least does add some authenticity to that statement. I’m not willing to ascribe this loss to injury completely, but I’m willing to admit that it played a role.

Q. How do those physical things affect you the most?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, when you’re hurting, it’s just a combination of many things. You know, you just don’t feel as comfortable. You can’t concentrate on each and every point because you do feel the pain sometimes. And, uhm, yeah, then you tend to play differently than the way you want to play.

Under the circumstances I think I played a decent match, you know. But I’ve been feeling bad for the last two, three matches now. It’s just not good and healthy to play under these kind of conditions, you know.

So if there’s anything good about this it’s I’m gonna get some rest, that’s for sure.

First of all, Roger has said before that he plays with pain 80% of the time, and that it is part of professional tennis. So it’s hard to know what to make of these statements. Is he using excuses or is the injury really that bad? He also says that he could not play the way he wanted to play. Hmmm. Does that mean he was also injured against Del Potro at the US Open and the Masters Cup, as well as against Soderling in the French Open? He has also had very close matches with Del Potro at the 2009 French Open, and against Berdych at the 2009 Australian Open. It should be obvious now that he is having trouble with these kind if players. So this loss could not have been only because of injury.

Q. Some of these big, flat hitters seem to be having an effect on you. Do you need to alter your game to adjust to that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I’m healthy I can handle those guys, you know. Obviously it’s a pity that Del Potro is not around, because I think he would have a run at world No. 1 or a run at another Grand Slam. It’s unfortunate for him.

But, you know, he’s been playing well, and these guys do play very well. I played these guys 10 times. They’re not going to reinvent themselves in a year, you know.

But I’m definitely struggling at the moment. That’s a bit disappointing.

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/interviews/2010-06-30/201006301277912137533.html

This was a good question at the right time by the journalist. Again he says that if he is healthy he can handle these guys, so it just brings us back to the question of whether he was always injured when he had trouble with these guys. Surely not, because of late he has had an awful lot of trouble with these guys. He says that these guys are not going to reinvent themselves in one year, but if you look at his results against these guys you would think that is exactly the case. He didn’t have this much trouble with them in the past. It only began the last year or so. So maybe if they didn’t reinvent themselves, then Roger has been declining? I think it’s both, because Soderling, Berdych and Del Potro have all stepped it up in the last year or so, while Roger’s game has declined somewhat. He may not have the speed to handle these guys anymore, but then he must adjust.

roger Pictures, Images and Photos

And according to his answer he does not think he needs to adjust. I think that is Roger’s ego talking. He is still trying to live up to that image of perfection, while he clearly needs to start adjusting to beat this kind of player. They will only become harder and harder to cope with in the future. And denying that he has a problem against them is not going to help. This is something about Roger that has always bothered me a bit. He is very kind of old school and don’t like new ideas and things. Take for instance the hawk eye technology. It is clearly a good addition to the game, but he made up his mind that he doesn’t like it, and because of it he is really bad at using hawk eye. He hardly ever gets a call right when he challenges, and he challenges half-heartedly. Nadal on the other hand has completely embraced it, and he is probably the best at using hawk eye.

I mean I can understand the need for traditions, but when something happens that is clearly good for the game, it needs to be embraced. It is just how the game evolves. This is the same kind of attitude that makes him not want to adjust his game. He feels like he does not need to change the game that has served him so well over the years, ignoring the fact that he is not as good at that game as he used to be and that certain players are now taking advantage of that. He played pretty darn close to his best level at the Australian Open this year, but did he face Berdych, Del Potro, or Soderling? No. If he can just let go of this idea that everything always has to stay the same, and adjust his game to accommodate for the big hitters, then I’m certain things would improve for him again. Just like tennis evolves, Roger needs to keep evolving as a tennis player.

If he refuses to do so, the current decline that you are seeing will continue, and he may never win a slam again. There almost wouldn’t be a point in continuing. This is because a crucial part of longevity in tennis is to keep evolving as a player along with the game. I honestly believe this is something Roger must come to terms with if he wants to continue with success. He is simply not as fast as he was when he was younger, and he needs to make up for that in some way. If I was him I would get a serious coach first of all. I don’t think Luthi is the man for the job anymore, and any change would be good at this point. Just to shake things up a bit and make a fresh start. None of this is criticism by the way. It’s understandable that Roger would have a hard time changing after all these years of dominance, but whenever you stop evolving you are in dangerous territory.

I think Roger should have a more embracing attitude towards change and not treat it like an enemy. I think what could happen is that he will keep resisting change and see if he can put all the recent disappointments behind him with a good showing at the US Open. If he does that I’m pretty sure he will fail. That’s why I said we may have to wait until the end of the year before he makes any changes. He will come to a crossroads eventually where he will have two choices: Either retire because of continuing steep decline, or adapt and win more slams. You don’t really want to see it come to that point, but that is what may have to happen. Or maybe this is just the cycles of tennis. Nadal went through the same things last year and now he is back. Roger may have to struggle like Nadal did until the beginning of the clay court season next year.

And then he may suddenly find form again. There is no definitive answer to all of this. It’s always a combination of things.

Well it seems I got a little carried away. I am going to stop here, and tomorrow I may continue this post.

Roger Federer


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19 Comments

  1. I believe that Roger is at a crossroads. He will not have long to “figure it out” with the hardcourt season approaching and people like McEnroe declaring Nadal will win the US Open and Simon Reed considering it the Nadal era. I wouldn’t want Roger’s career to end on this note. It will be too sad. I don’t know if he will win another major if he is going at this pace. Is it injury? fatherhood? father time? The young guys? The big hitters? Ego and stubbornness? No coach? I guess we will be psychics and try to read the tea leaves.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol, i guess so…

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    k Reply:

    It’s funny how press declares an “era” once in every 4 months. 4 months ago it was all about Federer, now is is Nadal. I don’t think that much can change in a few months, and what Federer faces now is a temporary situation.

    And about him having problems with big servers & hitters, i think there is a possibilty that he does not have a problem with those players but it is easier to struggle against them when he is not feeling fine. I mean it’s hard to break those guys, so even getting broken once in a set is enough to lose a set. Against other guys, this is not the case, even if he can’t play 100%, he can still cruise. This has been always the case with big servers. What i’m trying to say is i still expect Federer to beat them when he is feeling ok.

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  2. This time last year was a low point for Nadal too,and eventually found his way back up to the top.Roger must win the USO.for keeping some mouths shut.Some articles are slight variations of those from 2008.Who knows what will be Delpo´s form? The wrong man got the credit of the real GOAT.
    Sorry but lately this is “´RuanNadal´s blog”.
    Roger has given me a passion for the sport and I´m his fan for the good times and for the bad times no matter whatever happens in the future.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Dont be ridiculous Ines.. I am praying every day that Nadal does not win the USO, and you must get over your hate of Nadal. Its not healthy.

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    Dragos Reply:

    I don’t know if is hate or rejection. Anyway both of them are not good to be nourished by your soul Ines. After all we were told to hate the sin and to love the sinner.
    It doesn’t matter that Nadal has committed the ultimate sin, in our opinion, the intention to be the GOAT :-) . He will always be for me “poor little Rafa” ;-) . In this way I am fulfilling the suggestion to hate the sin and to love the sinner…

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    ines Reply:

    I will be me and screw the consequences.I will live my life to my conscience.I don´t hate Nadal(any feeling for him), simply I don´t like comparisons.roger has achieved all records in few years,noyhing to say Roger may not dominate the tour but he wil win more,this is what I dislike because it´s not necessary to speak about, everybody who knows Roger knows
    his incredible records.
    Writers are inventing false comparisons
    in order to encourage visits to their sites.If the current N 1 is all they made him out to be ,why does he need to be linked with Roger who they are writing off?
    No ofense but the media and all writers has been very hard on him hope he isn´t
    reading all the drivel writen.This is not healthy for fans.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well i will be writing some more positives posts soon so hopefully that will please you.

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    Denise Reply:

    This has become the RuanNadal blog lately. I guess nobody misses “what’s his name” (Roger)

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    Dragos Reply:

    Come on Denise, do you really think so?

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    Dragos Reply:

    In order to be respected is a rule that you have to beat the most dominant in the period. It’s a law of nature after Adam’s fall from heaven. And in order to beat the most dominant you have to know him very well. I am not sure if someone from Roger’s team is reading this blog but if is doing he will definitely have an original point of view about the one that is dominant right now. But again Latins said “sic transit gloria mundi” more or less that “Thus passes the glory of the world”. Today you have it tomorrow is gone. Nadal will also feel this soon enough…
    Then you will say that is RuansJohnDoe blog? :-)

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  3. i do believe some truth to fed’s injury but i feel that the diff now with the big hitters is that they have gained new found confidence after beating top players.berdych use to have close matches with fed in which he loses even with 2 sets up…its all down to not believing n nerves..now i think they have all sorted that out.now he has progress to murray stage whereby he can casue problems but not yet have the extra to win the grand slam.i said before, actually who will win the US open largely depends on Nadal..if he is healthy i dun see him losing to anyone. lastly…i think every player has injuries of their own and dun like the talk abt how fed is injury free becos of his style of play .now we know its not true becos he himself said so tht he plays with injury 80% of the time.

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  4. I am not a tennis player. I am playing football and mostly table tennis.
    I used to play against Nadal in computer games :-) . I like a game made by a french guy, I am not going to say his name or the game name because I don’t want to be considered advertisement :-) . In this game I keep killing Roger and all the other players but I am not winning against Nadal. “He” (the game character) has an astonishing head to head of “too much” to 2. For getting those 2 victories I was cheating by reducing his game level to the lowest possible but still I had to struggle a lot to win.
    Why I am telling you this? First because I enjoy writing, second because I have a point :-) .
    My point is that even in computer games, even in Jane’s mind, my mind, Ru-an’s, all the people’s minds Nadal is so dominant that “actually who will win the US open largely depends on Nadal..if he is healthy i dun see him losing to anyone”.
    This is the result of the domination plan engineered by Nadal’s team. We are told what to think and as I told you doubt is the shortcut to failure.
    Only a Fedfanatic with a high grade of madness is still convinced that Roger can come back again as he was doing in 2008.
    We, the moderate fans, are “only hopping” that he is going to be the reigning king again. I am not going to make a theory about how the thoughts can influence the reality in the world. I am convinced that Ru-an knows better than me this kind of things. Still I am quite sure that our “hope” is rather pale and is going to dissipate if Roger is going to lose again. And then Roger will be alone, maybe together only with his ego and his family, against the whole world.
    This is happening because of the pain that we suffered lately and because really is the end of an era. The era in which we believed with all our harts that Roger will be in top for ever and if he losses sometimes is just an accident. Now is the start of an era in which we want to protect ourselves from pain and start to become somehow indifferent.
    “Roger has to solve his ego problem” can be considered as a proof of emotional intelligence or a proof of “I had enough pain I don’t need more”.
    My question is can we really help him? And, if we can, how?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol it cant be advertisement unless you leave a link and make money if someone use it. Even if you did that i wouldnt mind. You are not here to spam that is obvious :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    To answer your post, i guess it could be both emotional intelligence and the fact that i had enough. I have said before that i dont believe what im saying is absolute fact. Because we dont know Roger personally we can only really speculate. So its an educated guess, because i know about tennis as well as human nature. And like i also said, it is more than just one thing. If we really wanted to help him i think we should all send him positive energy and visualize how he sorts out his problems and get back to dominance. The more people that do this the more effective it would be. This could work because thoughts and emotion is energy that has a real effect on things. If you have feelings of hate towards someone it hurts them in an indirect way. Same thing if you loving feelings towards someone. It heals them in an indirect way. I see i have some more writing to do :-)

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  5. I think you are too pessimistic.Last year Nadal was N4,
    he couldn´t beat a top ten player for much of last year,
    he didn´t win not even a set in the YEC.Is this an inexplicable renaissance?
    Why couldn´t Roger be back? He is more resilient than you give him credit for.Sampras won a slam at 31, Agassi too, what makes you think Fed can´t…

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    jane Reply:

    nadal couldnt win becos of his knees..n it very clear cut.i have faith in him bcos he has the motivation to improve everyday and thats the most important. for roger…i dun knw what his problem is…its not at all straight forward.sometimes mental issues are far worse than physcial issues. look at djokovic and murray.

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    Dragos Reply:

    Still in love with Tarzan, Jane?

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  6. What is going on? Writing Roger off already? Has someone remembered that Nadal did NOT beat a top 10 player in 11 months. He did NOT win a title. Now suddenly he’s the best ever?
    Surely we have learnt from the past that a day is a long time in sport?
    Write Roger Federer off at your peril.
    I believe it is not possible to like Roger and Nadal.
    I love Roger. I dislike Nadal. There is nothing about him that I like. He makes tennis look hard and cumbersome and his gamesmanship is despicable.
    Knee injuries? For how long will we be fed that story?
    Does anyone know what pain is? Pain does NOT allow you to perform. It is physically impossible. We’ve been fed with his injuries this last year and they are still flogging it down our throats.
    Roger on the other hand admits to ‘back and leg’ issues and he is being branded a bad loser. COME ON world! When will Federer ever get credit for the person he is? Why is it that the world hates the truth and lap up lies. Knee injury indeed!
    I have said before that Roger models his career on Tiger Woods and not on any tennis player – not one of them can touch him. Perhaps he can do with a coach (to teach him what I don’t know). What I say is when Tiger starts winning golf tournaments, Roger will start winning in tennis. Tiger is his inspiration.
    If Roger is healthy, these so-called big-hitters don’t bother him. How often do we watch matches where Roger is constantly straining to hold his serve? When he has problems with his back!
    Roger is away on holidays now. I’m sure he and Mirka will discuss the situation and come up with a solution. He’s been through this path before and survived. He will come up trumps again. Of that I have no doubt.

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