An Interview With: Roger Federer (after his US Open victory over Robin Soderling to reach semis)
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Q. Is it possible that you actually enjoy playing in the wind?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think by now I do, yeah, because I see it as a challenge and I see it as an opportunity to play differently. It’s not easy, you know. It’s cold. Everywhere it’s blowing. You feel like it’s blowing through your ears and into your eyes. But I think I used to dislike it so much that I’m on the other side now. I was able to turn it around and kind of take enjoyment out of playing in the wind, actually.
Q. Everybody was complaining about how the wind affected their games, ruining their concentration. Why were you able to serve, you know, that accurately painting the lines like you did?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I guess I got a good service motion. To me, it doesn’t affect my concentration. When I go up to serve, obviously you get the occasional bad toss because the wind catches the ball, so you have to stop the motion. Other than that, I think what I’m also very good at is also hit a good serve even though the ball toss is not in the right location anymore. I think that’s something I was always able to do. I can serve to all different corners with either kick or flat or slice. I think that allows me to have a great variety of serves, first of all. Then also when it’s windy, I don’t struggle much in it, really. Obviously because my second serve is reliable, I don’t panic or double fault so much. So it’s obviously a huge weapon in conditions like this.
Q. You think Soderling had more problems with the wind than you had?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think he definitely had more problems on the serve. Now, from the baseline, look, I also shanked some balls and I also mistimed a few and misread a few, like we all did today. But I think the serve was today the biggest key, because obviously he’s very famous for serving extremely accurate, extremely hard, over a long period of time. That’s what makes him so hard to beat really. That wasn’t the case today. He struggled to get the pace, the accuracy going, until midway through the third set when I think he started to hit it a bit better. Then it was almost too late, really.
Q. Can you talk about facing Novak? You faced him the last couple of years here, but he seems particularly hungry. He’s just kind of going through a little bit under the radar.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, we’ve had some good matches over the years. I think this obviously is his best surface, even though on clay he’s very good, as well, and slower hard court, it all works well. And on the grass he’s good, too. But I think this kind of favors his play the most, kind of a faster hard court, because he can pick up some incredible balls, you know, half volley them, redirect them. It helps maybe serve a bit more, and on the return he can, you know, zone in a bit, and all of a sudden he’s really tough to pass, you know, when he’s returning. That’s what makes him one of the best players in the game right now, and especially on this surface he’s obviously in the top 3 or 4. That’s why he’s been able to play consistent here at the Open. He’s obviously waiting for a breakthrough where he can win this title. But for the last three or four years he’s gone through me and he hasn’t been able to get it done. I’m looking forward to. He’s a good player. Had good luck in Toronto. We’ll see how it goes in Saturday.
Q. Couple times in the match you changed your racquets. Were you trying to adjust your tension because of the wind?
ROGER FEDERER: No, it was just classical ball change, racquet change kind of play I did, what I usually always did. Had nothing to do with the wind. Just purely on my routine.
Q. Do you expect Novak to come out with any type of radically different game plan, or do you just think he’s figuring it just has to be high, high quality?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think he’s played his way and has beaten me; I’ve played my way and I’ve beaten him. I think it comes down to who plays better on day it, who takes the right decisions at the right time, you know, for yourself. Then I think it obviously depends a little bit on the wind, too. Look, I mean, we’ve had a tough tournament so far with either heat or wind. Something always has been happening. That’s why I expect something going on on Saturday. That’s why we’re gonna wait and see, because that does have a big role to play if it’s windy or whatever it is, heat. I don’t think heat is coming, but if the wind is still around, the match will be played quite differently than if there is no wind.
Q. You said you weren’t out for revenge against Soderling. That wasn’t an issue for you, but now that you have the results, is there any extra satisfaction?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I just feel happy that I played a good match under tough circumstances against a player who’s really hard to beat these days, especially on the hard courts, you know. It really favors his game, and he’s had a wonderful run the last couple of years. For me, this is obviously a big victory. It’s always nice beating fellow top 10 players and moving on in tournaments and giving yourself chances, and that’s what I’ve been able to do. What I meant was I don’t need, you know, revenge to fuel my motivation. It really doesn’t, because I love playing in the stadium in front of people like this. I love tennis, and that’s enough motivation for me to really get it going on a night like this.
Q. Obviously a lot of players are talking about the conditions. Can you talk a little bit about your own evolution from a player who, you know, might have been bothered by this early on, had the epic with Agassi here, and now you’re a guy that actually embraces this kind of thing. It’s extremely rare. Your mental process to get to this place.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it’s a long and hard process, and I think that’s something you take sometimes less time, more time, sometimes it’s something you read, something you see, something someone tells you. All of a sudden you can just open your eyes and go, Why didn’t I figure it out before? Sometimes it’s right in front of you. I mean, obviously I still feel like the Agassi you know, the fourth and fifth set and then we had to come back the next day, that was the toughest conditions I’ve ever to play in. Actually, it was the same umpire. He told umpired that very match with me and Andre. You know, I’ve played in such strong winds; I’ve practiced in such hot conditions. Whatever you throw at me, I can do it. I mean, obviously if it’s snowing and tough, then it gets a bit different. (Laughter.) I haven’t had that yet, so I guess I would freak out when that starts happening. But then everyone is, not only me.
Q. Considering that normally you say you don’t like to play very much with the wind, I think you played wonderfully, but especially footwork was incredible tonight. Do you concentrate more when you know there is a wind because you have to move even faster than usual or not?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know if moving faster is the right thing to do, because then you get too anxious and excited about the ball that’s coming at you. You just have to be ready to make little adjustments at the very end as you have the perfect position. But you never have it perfect basically until you’ve hit the ball. It’s hard to do, and it can take your confidence in a hurry. That’s why it’s important to stay very focused and concentrate, and, you know, just try to play consistent and maybe not chase the lines as much, which maybe also helped Soderling. I couldn’t move him around that much today. But then again, I just think I was too tough, my serve worked too well, and I played well. So I’m happy.
Q. You didn’t make any ace until the third set. It was it like he was suffering the wind more on serve than on the other shots. Were you surprised about that, or do you think it was a strategy to not do too hard first serve?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think he struggled with the wind, with his high ball toss. That’s just kind of what it was. And like you said, I think towards the end, beginning of the third, this is when he started to serve better and it got harder and he had his chances. If this match goes four sets, you never know what’s gonna happen. I was able to pull it out, and it was a good match for me.
Q. Nadal versus Verdasco, he’s 10 0. He’s got the winner of Stan and Youzhny if he gets past Verdasco. Can you get the percentage chances of him not reaching the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Want an exact number or…
Q. If you want, but more or less.
ROGER FEDERER: I think he’s the favorite. Huge surprise. (Laughter.) I mean, he’s No. 1 seed, you know, so he’s always gonna be the favorite on that side of the draw. But obviously he’s also playing against guys who never won a Slam, never been in finals before, and so that’s obviously gonna he’s gonna fancy his chances. Plus he hasn’t had the roughest of all trips into the quarters. Then again, with a Saturday Sunday final, it doesn’t matter until Saturday how you got there. If you’re gonna play an epic maybe on Saturday, that’s gonna really influence your chances on final day. That’s what’s rough about this format here at the Open. Nothing is safe until you’re through, until you’re in the final. Seems like he’s playing real well. Yeah, it’s hard to say who’s gonna beat him out of that section. But then again, they didn’t get there without playing well, either, those guys. I’m particularly happy for Stan, that he’s had such a great run so far. I’d like to see him go further. The other guys will have their shot, but it’s gonna be tough.
Q. You mentioned that your girls are able to kiss you a little bit. Are they able to call you papa or daddy?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know if they’re calling me. It’s kind of a funny word they use these days. We’re trying to teach them that. I think they can say it. But they say it more when I’m not there, when they see me on the TV, apparently. Not that they’re watching the match at 10:00 p.m. because they should be in bed. But look, it’s a lot of fun. I love spending time with them. Wonderful team around me who makes it so easy. It’s good seeing them grow up. I’m with them every day. It’s a lot of fun.
(Source: US Open)