Unbelievable, now you’ve won one more
René Stauffer, Melbourne. 02.02.2010
Roger Federer wasn’t in a hurry to leave Melbourne after his 4th AO victory. He celebrated until dawn with his friends, around 30 people, he ate well and later he read the newspapers. After a short nap he had a photo session at the Yarra River at noon. Then he went back to Melbourne Park. In the garden in front of the players lounge he spoke once again to media representatives – first with a dozen of Englishmen, then with French speaking reporters and at the end with three German speaking Swiss journalists. He looked so satisfied and happy that a Frenchman asked him: “Is this the happiest day in your life?”
The next day
It feels great on the day after such victory. Satisfied, relaxed. Anyway in Australia everything is so relaxed. The family makes the nice feeling even stronger. I am there where I wished to be a couple of weeks ago. I don’t want to look far ahead. I play well, have fun playing tennis. However it is already very difficult to achieve such results again and again. The matches are tough and very taxing on the body. This was a big win and that’s why I want to enjoy the moment. Paris and Wimbledon are far away. But it’s already crazy: a year ago I lost against Nadal on the final here. Since then two girls and three GS titles have come to me.
I am indeed tired but I am also surprised how good I feel. I’ve come to know my body very well because I’ve been often in such situations. I’m less exhausted than I’ve been before. I remember that there were days when I could barely get up from my bed. On such days I pushed the off button and said: I’m not going to do anything for two weeks. First I have to have a rest. Now I still feel fresh and it wouldn’t be a problem to go skiing tomorrow.
It’s different and it’s fantastic to have my family with me and I want it to stay that way. Sometimes I think to myself that I had to have a family earlier, it’s such fun. The babies are so good at the moment but I also know that harder times will come. We enjoy it. I have always been able to separate tennis from the rest of my life. Now it’s more intensive. I am happy that we can manage it, that we enjoy it and that it’s not tough for Mirka to travel with me and the kids. This helps me to find my inner peace on the court.
The form trajectory
I’ve become stronger as the years go by. I played incredibly from 2004 till 2007 and maybe the best during practice in the end of 2007 before I got sick. But sometimes there are days when you play as well as you always do but you don’t win the most important points and miss the chance to win a trophy. In 2008/2009 I didn’t move optimally but this is already in the past. My backhand is where I wanted it to be, my forehand is back again too. My forehand was suffering also because I didn’t move well. Moreover I had to risk a lot because I wasn’t that good on the defensive. Now it’s again much easier for me to play, my confidence is back again as well.
It was a big life lesson for me not to have had any management and a coach back in 2004 and 2005. Looking back what I did was crazy, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But I learned a lot. We did everything on our own with Mirka and my parents. I was challenged a lot both on and off the court. Now my life is much simpler, everything is in its place. Seve (Luthi, the coach) also helps me so much. We were often discussing how I should practice so that I improve. We have the same points of view and developed plans to come out from the deep. The fact that we were successful was nice particularly for Seve. I believed in him also in the difficult times when many people said that I had to change something. I said: believe me, I know that I am doing the right thing. And I was right. I won Paris, Wimbledon, I was on the USO final and now I won here. Always with Seve in my corner. Besides he is my friend and the DC captain.
The majority have already realized that it’s not so easy to win always. Earlier each set that I lost was an occasion. Now this is accepted in a more relaxed manner. However a week ago many people said that this wasn’t the old Federer and he wouldn’t win Melbourne. It’s not so important for me how I play at the beginning of a tournament. The truth doesn’t come to light in the first round but rather during the important matches against the strongest players. From time to time the fans on my homepage were skeptical and asked: What else has left for him? (Was hat er noch übrig? I’m not sure about the translation of this sentence.. ) That’s already in the past thanks to Paris, Wimbledon and Melbourne. For my friends and for me the feeling is rather: unbelievable, now you’ve won one more. Of course Paris and Wimbledon will always have a special place – first the French Open and then the GS record. There was so much history made there. Here in Melbourne I showed again that I am the #1 and can beat anyone. Many people are happy about that. I’ve always had a great response in Switzerland when I show in public. It’s so impressive how happy people are for me in Switzerland and how much sympathy I receive there.
Now I go back to Switzerland and then to Dubai to practice. I’ll play my next tournament there on 22.02. There isn’t any time for a full practice block because I should also have some rest. However 7-9 practice days are enough because I practiced well at the end of 2009; I am fit and feel well. In the meantime I’ll go also to Ethiopia. I really want to do again something for my foundation. The last thing of this kind was my trip to India for the Unicef. But the last years were so intensive and there wasn’t any time. So I said: now it’s over, now I should go again to Africa even if it is just for a day. I have the feeling that I could do something similar much more often in the future. I should just plan it early and organize it well. I am already looking forward to it; it is very dear to my heart.
Murray and the Brits
I have never intended to influence Murray before the match. It’s a pity if the English press would drive a wedge between him and me. I felt such danger also at Wimbledon when they said: look what Federer wears. Or in Dubai (2008 ) when I said that Murray could play more offensively, that all he did was awaiting. That was a critic at the highest level, it was almost a compliment. But they used it in a different way. However I understand that the 25 journalists who come to Australia should write something and then the whole world quotes it. That’s the extreme about the English press. Today I read again how great I managed with everything.
This article was translated from German to English by vrazkar at rogerfederer.com, so thanks to him/her. It says a lot, doesn’t it? The first thing that stood out for me was what he said about his body. It’s good to know that he’s body is dealing better with the stresses of professional tennis these days. Personally, when I turned 28 I felt my body had matured as a tennis player. I wasn’t as fast on the court as before, but I felt fitter and had better endurance. This seems to be the case with Roger now as well, which is good to know going forward. The fact that he says he can going skiing the next day is indeed a good sign.
When it comes to the family, this is of course the first time Roger has won a slam with children, and it didn’t take long did it? When Roger had children there was always a bit of a worry about his future in tennis, because most players’ tennis suffered after having children. But this is Roger Federer, and the rules does not apply to him. Roger even mentions that he could have had a family earlier because it’s so much fun. I wasn’t too worried about Roger having children, but you just never know what the effect would be, especially with people constantly saying that he would lose motivation. The problem with people is that they don’t understand normal rules don’t apply to the GOAT.
The part about his form trajectory is particularly interesting to me. I’ve made a post about this before as well. There seems to be two different Rogers. The one before 2008/2009, and the current one. We know by now that Roger had some back problems which meant he couldn’t move optimally. So we come back to the same old question. Is the current Roger as good as the Roger of 2004-07? Most people would say the 2004-07 Roger is better than the current one, and though I don’t disagree, I just have a couple of things to say about the matter. I think there is no doubt that after a while the competition catches up with a dominant player. We’ve seen it happening with Rafa now, who loses to players he didn’t lose to before. And don’t believe his ignorant fans who says it’s just because of injury.
Fact is, some of the bigger hitters like Del Potro and Soderling have figured out that hitting hard and wide to Rafa’s forehand side, takes him out of his comfort zone. After a while all dominant players’ weaknesses gets exposed. But I don’t think Roger has weaknesses when he is on, as we have seen at the Oz Open. When his backhand is as solid as it was at the Oz Open and 2004-07, he is unstoppable. That is the side that can be exposed when Roger is not at his best. Now that his footwork is back, the forehand at it’s lethal best, and the defensive play the way it was, I don’t think there is much difference between the 2004-07 and the current Roger. I think the Oz Open performance from Roger was as good as any we’ve seen. Maybe we won’t see that kind of performance as often these days, but it showed he can still play at that level.
Judging by what has happened so far this year, it doesn’t look like Roger will bring his best form to the smaller tournaments, but rather to the slams. Having said that, Roger stated recently that he wants to win more of the smaller events than he did last year, so it seems he still believes he can do what he did in 2004-07. Whatever the case may be, things are looking bright for Roger, way brighter than it did last year this time.
Even the coach issue is now completely sorted out, with Severine Luthi clearly an important part of Roger’s entourage now. Remember the whole coaching issue last year? Thanks God that’s over…
It’s interesting to see that Roger reads comments on his website and papers. I must confess, I wasn’t too optimistic about Roger’s chances at the Oz Open this year, which was a first for me. I just thought he left off where he ended last year, losing for a second time to Davydenko in Doha. So when I saw Davydenko in Roger’s quarter of the draw, I thought that his semi-final streak could finally come to an end. And in that classic match with Davydenko he started out exactly as if that was going to happen. It was kind of a strange match, because it seemed like the women who played before him had saved him. They played long enough so that Roger only had to play in the sunshine for the first set and a bit. As soon as the shadows won over the sunshine, Roger started winning over his opponent.
From that point on Roger played some incredible tennis, especially in the fourth set when Davydenko threatened to come back. I always thought that was going to be a key match for him, and after he won it I was so certain that he was going to win the tournament, that I put money on him to do so.
As you can see Roger is planning a trip to my continent. Not to my country this time, but to Ethiopia. Also he gives us a better idea than usual of what he will be up to in the coming days. I suppose he is now in Switzerland taking some time off. After that he will go to his usual training spot in Dubai, and then take part in the tournament there. Last year of course he withdrew from Dubai to all of our disappointment, so I’m really happy it won’t be such a long time since before we get to see him play again, and already I can’t wait to see what happens in Dubai.
Finally, Roger talks about the words he had about Murray before the Oz Open final. What he says is new to me, because I thought he was doing it to put pressure on Murray. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with that had he done it, and I think it makes the game kinda interesting. But I suppose Roger is such a good guy that he doesn’t do stuff like that, and for that you have to admire him. So it looks like he was just being honest as always, and didn’t have any intentions behind what he said. Of course the haters wants to believe that Roger said this to intimidate Murray, because it gives them an angle to criticize Roger from. Well, as always the haters are out of luck when it comes to Roger. I almost feel sorry for the haters, because they always get disappointed and their noses rubbed in the dirt. Isn’t it awesome to be a Fedfanatic these days?