Q. Your focus is obviously on your first round opponent. A lot of people have been talking about the potential matchup with Bernard Tomic. How have you seen his progression, his hopes for this year?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, obviously you would think he’s definitely going to go up in the rankings than down after last year’s season, which was a bit of a rollercoaster for him.
I didn’t see anything at the Hopman Cup. I saw, yeah, 30 minutes maybe in Sydney. I don’t know what I can tell you, but I’m sure he plays similar to when he was playing well last year.
He’s a good player. We know how talented he is, what he can do. It’s obviously tricky playing him in Australia. He usually plays his best over here. Even the pressure you might think it’s a problem. That’s what people usually say. But I always say it’s best to be playing at home. You have confidence that you believe you can upset top guys. I’m sure he believes in that, as well. He’s also got his work cut out, you know, in the first few rounds. He will be making a mistake about thinking about me in the third round because he also has to get there.
Q. Is he a player you can see jumping into the top 10 in the next 12 months?
ROGER FEDERER: I think we should go step by step, see how it goes. Let’s speak in a year’s time. Everybody wants to jump from what’s his ranking 60 to 10 in a year. It’s hard to do. 10 is a big ask. Don’t forget how tough the top 10 players are right now.
Yeah, let’s go step by step.
This whole interview was interesting so go ahead and check it out. I quoted the part about Tomic because that is a potential match that has everyone talking. Roger says he feels well rested after not playing any events before the first major like he usually does, and that sometimes it’s good to mix things up. Remember it’s not the first time he doesn’t play an event before a slam. He has done this at Wimbledon and the US Open as well. After the exhos in America I was glad to hear that he is not gonna play any warm up events. Sometimes spending time on the practice court and just working on a few things can be very productive as well. Like Roger says, it’s not the same as the pressure of competition, but he has done it before and knows how to handle it. He just needs one match to get back into it, and although his first round opponent in Melbourne can obviously play a bit, I think it won’t be too tough.
His first round will be good preparation for his second round with Davydenko, which in turn will be good preparation for his match with Tomic, etc. Hopefully he can keep raising his game with each round. But obviously it’s never that straight forward. You gotta love the last line from Roger in the first question I quoted. At first glance he is just stating the obvious, but knowing Roger there is probably a little dig in there. He has obviously seen how cocky Tomic has been of late, and he is not gonna let the opportunity to remind Tomic what he is up against pass him by. He is already piling up the pressure on Tomic. Tomic has already been talking about his possible match with Roger in the third round, as if he has already made the third round. So it’s a good ploy to remind him that he is not there yet. Tomic is confident and cocky, but even he will feel the heat from the GOAT.
Tomic won his first title in Sydney today, beating Anderson 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 in the final. He also beat Djokovic in the Hopman Cup. So yes he is probably as confident as he has ever been. Roger won’t beatas easily as he did last year if they play. I think that is obvious. Roger has always been very good at piling on the pressure on his opponent in the media, whether intentionally or not. And now he is at it again. It is important because he has all the experience in the world, while Tomic has a lot to learn. He needs use that, and he is. He is just reminding Tomic of that fact. It doesn’t mean it will have an effect on Tomic, but he has to put it out there. Even if Tomic does make it to the third round, he may just feel a little more pressure early on, and pressure always take a toll. Tomic has Mayer in the first round, and then the #27 seed Klizan.
He is not seeded himself, so on paper he is actually expected to lose. It is therefor not a given that he will win. Tomic is expected to win on his current form and his record in Australia, but it’s not gonna be a walkover. And of course Roger himself has a little player called Davydenko to deal with in the second round, so it doesn’t help to look past the first and second round much. Draws are just a framework as I always say. Nothing about it is a given. So actually for Roger it is just about that first round with Paire, and making sure he passes that in confident fashion. I just like how he handles the questions about Tomic, kinda downplaying all the hype that is surrounding him right now. No, I love it. Tomic is becoming way too cocky and he needs to be put in his place, both in the media and on the tennis court.
Hopefully they meet in the third round and Roger gives him a good schooling like he did last year. Ok maybe that won’t be possible, but beating him in four sets under the current conditions would be just as pleasing.