THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously quite frustrated. It was 2-3 in the second seat set, about five breakpoints. You held at 4-2, and then after that it seemed like the wheels came off. Couldn’t keep the forehand on the court? Any explanation? Wind? Focus?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I definitely struggled with my timing after that, so it was a tough finish for me, you know. I thought I was playing okay in the first set, but it was always going to be tough in the wind.
I already felt it in the warm up. It was coming across the court. Yeah, I struggled heavily today. It was tough.
Q. When fired your racquet into the court, did that feel good?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. Not really.
Q. Do you remember the last time you broke a racquet, Roger?
ROGER FEDERER: Could have been here against Rafa.
Q. It was here?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe. I don’t know.
Q. It’s obviously very tough for you to come in so soon after a defeat like that. The emotions are obviously very strained. Is it getting tough to just appreciate the matches like this sort of drifting away? We watch them and we can’t believe sometimes. I suppose it’s even more difficult for you.
ROGER FEDERER: You kind of try hard and then it’s just not working. Today it is different just because there’s so much wind, as well. Once you start feeling bad, it’s kind of tough to regroup, you know.
On top of that, it made it more difficult as well from the one end because you had the sun in your eyes. It was really tough on the ball toss, you know. Between 1:30 and 2:30 it’s really tough.
But, I mean, it’s the same thing for both players. Once one guy gets the upper hand, the other guy is a bit uncertain. It’s tough, but he struggled bigtime in the first set.
So, you know, I finished worse than him. He played so bad in the first set, I had a great effort by finishing even worse than him. It was good.
Q. Do you feel like he managed the win better than you did?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I guess so. The result shows it, yeah.
Q. Did you find yourself sort of pressing because of that and going for shots that you might have waited a little bit longer on?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. Just trying to keep the ball in the court. So it’s not like I was chasing the lines too much.
Q. How much pressure are you feeling out there?
ROGER FEDERER: Not a whole a lot. I haven’t been winning twenty tournaments in a row, so nobody expects me to win really.
No, look, it’s been a tough last year or so, especially in the hardcourts. My game never really clicked, you know, except for the Open where I thought I played great.
I think when I was finding my form again, you know, it hit me with the back problem. It was unfortunate, you know, but thank God the hardcourt season is over.
Q. How do you evaluate your play in the first part of the hardcourt season?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s the end. It’s the end of the hard court season. I don’t care anymore. I’m moving over to clay, a new chapter.
Q. On the clay, you are only entered into two events prior to Roland Garros?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, it’s going to stay that way.
ROGER FEDERER: What’s the question?
Q. Is that set in stone, or might you change that?
ROGER FEDERER: Nothing is set in stone. You never know. I don’t know.
Q. Did you feel like he almost let you back in at 4-Love where he double faulted twice? Did you feel there was a little opening there?
ROGER FEDERER: It was tough to hold serve, and, you know, the wind was swirling. From the one end when you didn’t have the sun in your eye, you were playing against the wind, so you always actually had sort of a chance to break.
So I knew I wasn’t out of it, but I should have held to go 3-1, I think. Maybe. In the third set, I had a game point there. I think I could have actually almost smashed it, but didn’t read it quick enough and ended up losing the point there.
I think that was my biggest opportunity I had.
Q. You’ve had other matches where things aren’t going as well and you don’t get as upset about that particular moment. What was different about today that you just lost it there for that moment?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t lose it. I was just frustrated. Just because I smashed the racquet doesn’t mean I lose it. Didn’t feel great. Didn’t feel — it’s just a natural thing I did.
Q. Do you feel you can overcome the problems you have at the moment, or you feel that you may need some help from a coach or from somebody else?
ROGER FEDERER: I’ve had like five coaches in the last two years.
Q. Did you feel like the crowd got behind you after you smashed the racquet?
ROGER FEDERER: That was great. Great, they got behind me after smashing the racquet.
Currently there are two 250 series clay court tournaments going on in Houston and Casablanca and non of the top four are in action. So I thought this would be a good time to look back at Roger’s press interview after the loss against the Djoker at Miami. First of all after losing to Murray again at Indian Wells I wondered what impact that would have on Roger’s psyche and confidence level. In the earlier rounds there didn’t seem to be any problems but when he came up against Roddick in the quarter finals the cracks started to appear. Roger should never have lost the second set in that match and he made a narrow escape in the end. So when he came up against the Djoker the same think happened as it did against Roddick only this time he couldn’t make the great escape.
In the end the loss to Murray must had an effect, as Roger wasn’t playing the kind of tennis we saw form him in the Australian Open. The loss in the final there against Rafa coupled with another loss against Murray and now a loss against the Djoker has him at an all time low. That’s why I said in my previous post that he is now at a crossroads. I think Roger is probably doing some serious soul searching now and we might just see a change from him soon. With the clay season coming up I think like last year we may see a very different Roger. Last year he had that terrible start to the year and it all turned around when the clay season came around. He found his confidence again by winning in Estoril, making two Masters Series finals and the French Open final.
Compared to last year he has made a much better start anyway even though he has missed out on Dubai this year. Last year he lost to the likes of Mardy Fish and Roddick at Indian Wells and Miami after losing badly in the semi-finals of the Australian Open to the Djoker and in his first match against Murray at Dubai. So actually comparitively he is having a much better year. So far he has only lost to top four players this year. The one against the Djoker is the one that would really hurt for him after he should have at least made the final at Miami. If we can compare 2008 and 2009 then he should have a very good clay court season. But of course he is skipping both Estoril and the Masters Series event in Monte Carlo which starts next week.
So we will just have to wait until the 27th to see what his form will be like. After that he will also play the Masters Series in Madrid and then of course the French Open. I think the change of surfaces and the time he has before his next tournament is a good thing because it will be like a new beginning for him. I am hoping the same thing as last year will happen only better. It will be hard for him to do better result wise, but maybe he can play better this year and if he should make the final at Roland Garros again then maybe he can give Rafa a decent run for his money this time. Who know, he may even win!? Well that would be the ultimate way to announce his return but I don’t want to say things like that because he might not even get there.
Back now to the press conference and it is obvious that Roger was in pain once again. He seemed to be close to tears and found it hard to talk at times. There is quite a bit of negativity and sarcasm as well, which is good to see. It shows that at least something is changing and he is getting rid of Mr. Perfect as I remarked before. In other words he is loosening up somewhat, which is something I like to see more of. I would like to see him go out there and let this whole legacy thing go and just have fun on court again. Of course he shouldn’t forget about his legacy, but he has more then enough time to win two or three more grand slams. The main thing should be to go out there and enjoy the last years of his career and when he does that the slams will come.
Once again in this interview he blames the conditions for his loss a lot, the wind, the sun etc. It’s a shame that he needs to do that these days where in the past he would never have lost the match. But I’m actually of the opinion that it was a good thing he lost this match instead of winning it and losing to Murray again in the final. The loss to Djokovic will make him do more soul searching as compared to losing to Murray. Roger knows when he starts losing to Djokovic there is something very wrong and I think he has reached a turning point. It’s like someone in a forum said, there is this natural progression of pain, then denial, then tears and then realization. I think Roger is now at realization, and once he realizes he can start changing. To a brighter future!