As I said before, it is time Federer sent a message to the rest of the field, and he certainly did that against Melzer. It was an extremely comfortable win for the GOAT. He got the break in the first set, and surprisingly he gave it back after doing nothing with a short ball. I wasn’t impressed, but in no time Federer got the break again and from there on Melzer was never in the match. In this post I want to focus on Federer’s press conference, which brought forward several interesting facts.
Q. Are you a fan of this Monday at Wimbledon where all the singles players are on show?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah. I mean, it’s great to be part of it when you make it to the second week, first of all. Secondly, I think it’s wonderful for the fans. I always say for fans the best days are like quarterfinal day or last 16s, because then you usually have the big names but you still have enough matches to go look at, not only just on the big courts but also on the grounds. The juniors are also playing.
I mean, I think this is a wonderful day for the fans.
It’s refreshing how positive Roger always is, but I’m not such a big fan of the scheduling at Wimbeldon. I don’t like the off day on Sunday and I don’t like that today there was only women’s tennis. That makes two days where there is nothing for me to watch at Wimbledon in three days. I prefer they split up the round 4 matches into two days with no break on Sunday.
Q. How do you feel you played today?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought I played great. Aggressive right from the start, which I think was key today because I knew Melzer was going to try ‑‑ every chance he was going to get, he was going to hit the ball and come forward as well. You want to counter that and play aggressive yourself. I was able to do that very well today.
Aggressive play seems to have been the key for Roger today as it always has been when he won. The only times he really lost is when he allowed players like Murray and Nadal to make him become to defensive. Also, the big power hitter have also given him problems. Roger’s first serve percentage was down at a low 52 % against Melzer, yet still he won easily because he played aggressively. I think he is feeling confident right now, which means he will play aggressively. And when Roger is confident at Wimby he is extremely hard to stop.
Q. Do you feel you can intimidate opponents on this Centre Court because you know it so well?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t play that trick. Honestly, I don’t even know how it works. So I just try to play a good match, you know.
I know Jurgen too well to play tricks with him. I always say, you know, if you’re not good enough and you have to use stuff like that, then you have issues. So I always say, Try to play your best, and if it’s enough, that’s great; otherwise you have to go to the practice courts and work harder and get better.
Well, well. This comes right after Nadal’s controversial injury time out against Petzschner. Is this a conscious stab at Nadal, or just the way Roger sees it? I don’t think it’s a stab at Nadal, because Roger just says it how it is. But I guess we can’t know for sure. I tend to agree with Federer. I obviously prefer someone to be good enough not to have to revert to gamesmanship. But gamesmanship has always been part of he game and it’s not against the rules.
Q. Any concerns about fitness at all? There was a photograph with some strapping on your thigh the other day. Is that just precaution?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was after my first‑round match. MY thigh was hurting a little bit, which already was the case in Halle. In the finals it was hurting me as well.
But honestly now I have no more problems, no more strapping. I’m happy I recovered that.
Some Fefanatics showed concern for the strapping on Roger’s leg in his match against Bozo. I didn’t think it was anything serious, but it’s nice to hear Roger have no more problems anyway.
Roger at practice yesterday(source)
Q. How does the hot and dry weather change the conditions of the courts?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, this is not hot. This is normal to me anyway. Maybe for England, I don’t know. For Switzerland, as well. But we’re used to playing in 35, 40 degrees sometimes. This is moderate. Very comfortable to play in. This is kind of a one‑shirt‑change kind of match. That’s rather easy.
It’s kind of funny how such a big deal is made of 30 degrees in the UK. People are actually getting sun stroke and stuff. Of course 30 degrees is just moderate for the players like Roger says. It’s the same for my country, where 30 degrees really isn’t that big a deal. But in the UK the weather is really terrible, so 30 degrees is actually very hot for them.
Q. How have slower courts and the heavier tennis balls contributed to the decline of the serve‑and‑volley game in your estimation?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s tough to say. I obviously came here in the year when I played Sampras, let’s say, I was serve and volleying 80% of the first serve, 50% on the second serve.
I remember once speaking to Wayne Ferreira who I was playing doubles with that year actually. He said he used to serve and volley always first serve, 50% of the second serve. And towards the end of his career at Wimbledon, he used to serve and volley 50% of his first serve and not anymore on his second serve.
You wonder, how in the world has that happened? Have we become such incredible return players or can we not volley anymore or is it just a combination of slower balls, slower courts?
I think it’s definitely a bit of a combination of many things. If I look back, I think we definitely had many more great volley players in the game back then. When you do have that, you are forced to move in, as well, because you don’t want to hit passing shots against a great volleyer over and over again. But because we don’t have that as much anymore, everybody’s content staying at the baseline.
A bit unfortunate, I think, because I love guys moving in, like a Melzer match today who throws in the occasional serve and volley. You have to throw in great passing shots. It’s unfortunate for the games. Unfortunately, they’ve slowed down everything, indoors, grass. Everything has become so slow, I think that is a bit of a pity.
I agree, things have become too slow. I remember in the days with fast surfaces and the big servers, people were complaining that the big serves is destroying the game. So it seems they responded by overcompensating and made thing too slow. This is why a clay court specialist like Nadal have been able to win majors outside of Roland Garros. It’s doubtful he would have won any slams outside of Paris otherwise, given how closely he won those slams outside of Paris. It was two very close five setters, and had the conditions been faster, you would have thought Roger would have won on both occasions, given that Nadal made the final of course. I do think it’s a pity, because you want to see all kinds of tennis, not just long base line rallies. Things have certainly changed a lot.
Q. Yesterday this country and the sports world were shocked by some problematic officiating, and there were very loud calls for electronic officiating. Could you talk about how electronic officiating has evolved in our sport and would you call for it in soccer, especially at the goal line?
ROGER FEDERER: Have to be careful. Who is the head of the FIFA? I don’t remember. Is he a Swiss guy by any chance (smiling)?
We have, what is it, electronic line calling even though we don’t need it. We all know we don’t, but we do have it. They should have it, and they don’t. So it’s a choice the guys have to make at the top, you know.
I do struggle a little bit with soccer at the time because there’s so many mistakes from umpires. Don’t blame them. They’re so far away sometimes from what’s happening, and then also so many goals are disallowed that are goals and others are not counted that would be goals. It’s frustrating as a fan.
You just hope that all those things go for you when you’re like in this kind of a stage of a tournament. They could have been sent home just because of that single mistake, and it’s incredible.
I think it’s rough, you know. To me it seems like it’s just crying for a change, a bit.
Q. In our sport you feel it is best just to leave it in the hands of the linesmen and the chair umpire?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you have to understand, one forehand down the line doesn’t change the outcome of the match; whereas one goal changes the entire mindset of a team, of a strategy. You know, you can play defense after that.
Tennis, we don’t have that. Guys are sitting there, not moving. They’re only staring at the line. It’s so much more simple. It’s going to even out throughout a career or a season, the good and bad calls.
Whereas goals, I mean, it’s such a huge impact in those 90 minutes. It changes everything. That’s why they have it in American football, right? They have challenges you can do. I mean, there’s so many ways of trying to adjust the system.
Personally I’ve been very frustrated with the officiating at the Fifa World Cup in my country. I think it’s just pitiful how they can’t use a referral system for offside decisions. All sports are pretty much now using this. Tennis, Rugby, Cricket, and basically all other sports are using technology, yet the biggest sport in the world refuses to do so. In this way soccer is far behind other sports, and remains fairly primitive. I mean are they going to wait until a team loses the world cup because of a bad decision before they make a change? I guess so…
Roger now faces Berdych, who he has an 8-2 head-to-head record against. But we know that Berdych has been a different player of late who seems to have matured. He beat Roger in Miami, which was obviously a very close match. If I remember correctly Roger had match points. Roger will want to get revenge for that loss, and I am positive he will do so. Berdych was actually in trouble in his match against Brands at a set all and Brands serving for the third set at 5-4. My prediction is Roger wins this in 3 or 4 sets.
Elsewhere in the draw Djokovic beat Hewitt in what I thought was a very disappointing performance from Hewitt. He faltered badly in all the important moments and looks like the opposite of the tough match player he once was when he was so clutch. Djokovic will now face Lu, who in the shock of the tournament upset Roddick 9-7 in the fifth set. Roddick has his best chance last year when he choked so badly against Roger, and I don’t think he is winning another major. So with the losses of Roddick and Hewitt, Roger’s draw suddenly looks much easier. Making the final is now a mere formality for the GOAT, given that anything unexpected does not happen.
In the bottom half of the draw things turned out much more as expected, although Soderling had a surprisingly tough time of it against Ferrer, winning it 7-5 in the fifth set. And thank God he did. A Nadal/Ferrer quarter final would have been the anti-climax of the tournament. But now we have a Sodal quarter final, which may be the climax of the tournament. There is much expectation for this match, and I hope it lives up to the hype. The French Open final was obviously a disappointment, but the faster surface of Wimby should help Soderling. Already Nadal has struggled with flat hitters like Haase and Petzschner, winning both in five sets. As I said before, Soderling is a step up from these players, and I really hope to see a good match tomorrow.
I have argued that the Sodal rivalry is one of the few really interesting ones in the sport, and a win for Soderling would certainly intensify that rivalry once more. In the remaining quarter final spot, Murray and Tsonga will meet. I hope Murray wins because he will make for a more interesting match up with Nadal should Nadal win. It’s going to be an interesting day at the All England Club tomorrow that’s for sure, with the Federer/Berdych and Sodal matches the most exciting prospects for me.
Tomorrow’s OOP: http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/index.html
Please click HERE. Thank you.