Tuesday, 14 April 2009
An interview with: ROGER FEDERER
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Could you talk about your decision to play this event and what was the thinking?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it was always an option for me, you know, since a long time. Finally it’s a tournament where, one of the Masters, you don’t get entered automatically, so it gives me an opportunity. I always wanted to keep it open in case I got married or something, and see how I felt and stuff. I felt like it was the right thing to do, so I’m happy to be here.
Q. How is getting married and playing here connected? Forgive me. Is it sort of a honeymoon option?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, of course I spoke to Mirka. She was completely relaxed about whatever decision I took, you know. I feel like I’ve been on a honeymoon, you know, for the last years, so I don’t feel necessarily I need to go somewhere, to a special place, to celebrate with her. We’ve had a lot of nice moments over all those years. We don’t feel like we need it necessarily.
And I wouldn’t miss, you know, being with you guys (smiling). It’s nice to be here with you guys.
Q. Is this a new start, after what you said when you left Miami, a new beginning?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, well, it’s the clay season, you know, starts here. I’ve had good results the last few years here. It’s always exciting to change up your game a little bit and have a different mindset on how the points are being played.
I was the second best clay courter for a long time now. Of course, I hope I can win the big one, you know, the French Open, down the road. That’s what the focus is here.
But here it’s more about getting into the groove, you know, and hopefully winning some matches and playing well.
Q. Were the results in the U.S. Indian Wells and Miami any factor in you deciding to play here?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I could have played, what, two more matches. So it’s not a big, big change. So, no, not really.
I mean, I think the year has been better than last year. You know, I played the finals in Australia, the semis in both the Masters Series. I’ve been playing okay. I’ve been playing good, good results. But definitely not playing my best, you know, in the semis of both Masters Series.
Actually, leaves me with hoping that, you know, if my game comes together, you know, the clay court season, I’ll have a good chance of going much further than just playing semis.
Q. Can you describe your moment in tennis and as a human being? How can you describe this moment? Is it unique as a human being and not fantastic like a tennis player?
ROGER FEDERER: What do you mean?
Q. Like a human being, because you got married.
ROGER FEDERER: About me getting married?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, it’s a very special moment. I thought it to be a bit more relaxed, you know, because we’ve been together for so, so long. Once you get married, there’s not a whole lot that changes. But it definitely does change your mindset, your life.
It was nice sharing the moment with my family, my closest friends. I got very emotional, you know, yet again. So it was very nice. It was just nice to know that, you know, she loves me so much, I love her so much. It was just a very nice day. We had perfect sky, perfect weather. It was just very, very nice.
Q. And like tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: As a tennis player at the moment, I feel good, too. I’ve played better in the past. I know that. But I’ve played much worse, as well.
Like I said, I’m excited that the clay court season starts. I really like being close to home for a change for the next few months. Just makes traveling easier. I like the rallies on clay. I feel fresh.
You know, I always said that, since I took six weeks off after Australia, let my back heal, I felt like I was able to get away from everything, and now I’m ready to attack. Actually, my mind is fresh, which I think is really key, you know, for my game.
Q. Are you considering taking on any extra coaching for the clay court season or doing anything differently from last year?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not for the moment.
Q. You tried with Darren. Things didn’t work out. What is the situation, in general, for coaching?
ROGER FEDERER: Nothing new at that front. I haven’t spoken to anyone. I’m not planning to speak to anyone really. It’s just me and the clay (smiling).
Q. You said the wedding changes your mindset. What particularly has it changed about your mindset?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t mean it about tennis. Just, you know, it’s nice to be calling Mirka my wife and not my girlfriend. That’s just a big change for me. Takes maybe a bit of getting used to. So it’s good. I’m here, introducing her, This is my wife. It just sounds so much better (smiling). I didn’t think it was going to make that big of a change for me, but it does feel great.
Q. Were there any tears on your wedding day emotionally, or just on the tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: A few tears here and there. It was nice (smiling).
Q. Yours or somebody else’s?
ROGER FEDERER: Both.
Q. Did you already decide the name of your son?
ROGER FEDERER: Not yet. You know, we’ll see. There’s quite a few books around that are that thick, so we’ll see where it takes us.
But, no, we haven’t decided anything yet. Yeah, I have no clue yet right now myself. Thank God we got time left, right, to decide.
Q. When did you and Mirka decide to get married? When did you decide on the date?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we’ve been talking about it for many years now. But last year was kind of busy. All of a sudden it was the Olympics, you know, so it made it difficult to kind of get it organized. So we figured, Let’s wait and do it next year. And we always knew that if we do it, we do it pretty quickly, you know, because I didn’t want to have a huge wedding.
So thank God the places where we got married were ready, you know, to take us onboard, because it was still Easter Saturday, many things were closed. But they made exceptions for us, which is very nice. And, you know, basically 95% of the people we invited could come, so they changed their schedules around for us.
So everything really worked out really well for us, otherwise we would have waited and done it maybe one month down the road or maybe one year down the road. But everything worked out for this last weekend.
Q. But it was just a few weeks ago that you decided on that day?
ROGER FEDERER: Pretty much, yeah. Things move quickly (smiling).
Q. How difficult was it to keep it secret?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really, you know. I have good friends who keep things quiet, you know. Sure, you try to tell everyone, Please respect the privacy, and everything. But if you want to get married in private, you have to go to Switzerland. They don’t actually care over there. They actually want to give you peace and privacy. That’s why I love being a Swiss and living in Switzerland.
Q. Did you invite any tennis players?
ROGER FEDERER: No. They were playing. No, I didn’t invite anybody. It was really just very close friends and family. So it was just really tight the way I was always hoping to have it.
Q. Was it in a church or like a town hall?
ROGER FEDERER: It was in Basel. That’s all I’m going to tell you, yes (smiling).
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Again I highlighted the parts that I thought was important. It’s good to see that after all these years of trying and failing Roger is still hopeful about winning the French Open. It’s also good to see he views this year as a positive one so far compared to last year and that it might mean he has an even better clay court season then 2008. It would be great if Roger can take his first silverware of the year in the clay season which would be a nice wedding present as well. Then what Roger says about the six weeks rest and being ready to attack is good t hear indeed. If there is one word that Roger should imprint on his mind it is attack. For long enough now he has allowed the likes of Rafa and now Murray to impose their defensive games on him.
It’s time he starts imposing his strength on them, which is attack. Roger is at his best when he is on the offense, serving well and hitting winners. That is of course even harder to do on clay, but something that clay helps you with is your footwork and point construction. It’s very good for your game on other surfaces because you have to work so much harder to win a point. I’ve always felt that it’s very important to be able to play well on clay. I think of it as the surface which makes your game improve the most. Anyhow Roger seems in the right frame of mind. On clay you almost have to be extra attacking if that is your game on other surfaces. But by the same token you must be more patient because the surface is the great equalizer.
It keeps players honest. Clay has been the downfall of many a great fast surface player, none more so then tennis legend Pete Sampras himself. This is where I have great appreciation for Roger and where he is better then Sampras. Sampras could never come to grips with the clay, his backhand was less solid then Roger and his forehand was flatter which makes it less effective on clay. Sampras was great on the fast stuff because he had big weapons. But the fact that he could never adapt properly on clay was his downfall as the GOAT(Greatest Of All Time). This is why I think Roger is the GOAT, of the modern era at least. Laver is the other that I would consider but his era was too different to compare it.
For me the modern era is between Sampras and Roger and like I said Sampras has a big flaw in his legacy where I feel Roger will do him one better. In fact he already has in my opinion, but his career is not over and I would prefer he breaks Sampras’ record so there would be no doubt. Anyhow I’ve drifted away from the original topic but I thought you might find the GOAT argument interesting. Back to the presser and it doesn’t seem like Roger is much looking for a coach at the moment which I don’t really know what to make of. I think he probably needs a coach but we’ve been over that. But at least he has a wife now and hopefully that is a change that would help his tennis together with the change of court surface. I’ll see you tomorrow with a report on Roger’s first round match against Andreas Seppi