Roger Federer Thursday Press Conference
by ATP Staff|
R. FEDERER/D. Ferrer
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You're the first player that qualified for the semifinals. Could you give us your assessment of today's match, and also summarize what makes this tournament so special for you.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought the match was great. It's good intensity. I think we both started a bit up and down at the beginning maybe. Could have gone also maybe the other way, that he led 3‑0. So I thought it was fair that we were on even terms sort of going into 3‑All, 4‑All.
Second set, I think we both picked it up. We started to have tougher rallies. I think we played with more pace in the second set. Again, today, I think Ferrer showed why he's so tough to beat. He makes you hit the extra shot; he makes it physical. You know that mentally he's not going to go anywhere. That's why he has so much respect from his fellow competitors.
So for me, this is a very special tournament in many ways. It's always been the tournament I wanted to be part of when I started playing at the beginning of the year, many years now. I had breakthrough results at this event. I learned a lot.
I think I really have taken advantage of what this tournament offers, you know, also sort of for my personality, for just how tough you have to be. Because it's not a gimme that you're entered into this tournament every year. It's really a lot of hard work beforehand, and then you should actually enjoy it, but then comes more hard work. I think That was a good learning process for me.
I've loved everywhere I've played over the years at the World Tour Finals. But I think this one is obviously special, because it's in London and the O2 is an amazing venue, and I'm happy it's going to stay here for the next few years.
Q. Talking about the match, David said today he didn't get many first serves in, but the second serve is much better. So you're improving every week.
ROGER FEDERER: I am improving?
Q. The second serve. He said he had chances to break, but your second serve was difficult.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think I definitely needed a good second serve, especially in the first set. I didn't have that many serves in play the way I wanted to. Either the rhythm was off a bit or I wasn't pushing enough with the legs or whatever it might have been.
But I think also, credit to him for being a great return player, getting back a lot of good returns on good serves. That makes you go for the extra special serve, and then you start missing by a little bit.
I could always rely on my second serve throughout my career. Today, I had to use everything I had in terms of variation, kicking it, sliding it, going all different ways. I didn't double‑fault very often today, so I'm happy with the way things went on my second serve today.
Q. Can you talk about playing indoors. I think the last two years you've lost one match on an indoor hard court. What is it about playing indoors? Is it just the obvious, that there's no variables of wind, temperature, et cetera?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, margins actually are smaller indoors normally because a guy can really get hot, can serve well. It's usually a bit faster than on the outdoors normally. But what is normal anymore today? We don't know.
I think indoors is a natural surface for me. So is clay actually, because those were the two surfaces I grew up on. In the summers, I used to play on the clay courts outdoors, and in the winters, I played indoors on Supreme, carpet, when I was young. I guess this is where it kind of comes through a little bit for me.
I also had my first success on the tour actually indoors back in Marseille and Rotterdam and Basel and Toulouse.
Outdoors, I'm actually amazed how good I've become in the wind and humidity. That, for me, was the tough part, actually becoming a good player in those conditions.
Today, I think you have to be able to play anywhere if you want to compete at the best level.
Q. If someone sees a child grow every single day, one doesn't have the notion of the changes. The point is, you work on your tennis on a daily basis.
ROGER FEDERER: Right.
Q. Do you have the notion you've been doing something really different than when you started playing this tournament? In 2006, I was imagining the forehand dropshot. Used to be more of a purist on the serve, going to the lines. Now you're going more towards the body. What kind of changes can you tell us you've been doing?
ROGER FEDERER: They're minor, like you mentioned. But those minor changes can make a big difference. How much risk do you play with? How do you use your game with most effect? Then, of course, you also have to adjust to what your opponent gives you. Different types of players give you different types of problems really out there.
But I think first and foremost, you have to focus on your own game, like you mentioned, what can you improve, can you improve the dropshot, the serve, the forehand.
I think for me, first up at the very beginning was my fitness, then the mental part followed, then you can work really on the real problems which then can be technical or, you know, it just can be the consistency.
I think at the very top, it's especially important to be consistently good every day, every shot you hit, that the focus is there, and not that you go in and out of your focus. I think that's been something I've become very good at over the years.
Q. The other day, Ivan Ljubicic started to be a TV broadcaster for Italian TV. He said Djokovic is No. 1 in the world, but he's not the No. 1 in the world when you play indoors. Do you agree with that more or less? Do you think he's right? The second thing is, when Ferrer had all those breakpoints in the first set, did you ever think that he could come out of the court saying, Nobody is going to beat David Ferrer 14 times in a row?
ROGER FEDERER: No, but, look, streaks have ended for me maybe at the World Tour Finals. Maybe it was Davydenko or González as well years ago when he beat me for the first time. And in some ways, it's helpful to have that one‑sided head‑to‑head record, but at the same time it sometimes creates pressure as well. You always feel like this next match is probably going to happen. You try hard. He tries harder, too, because all he needs is that one win, so then he's got that. So, I mean, I tried hard to not make it happen today. You could feel that he's confident, he's on a run. I think even more it's a great victory for me.
On Ljubicic, look, what can I say? Indoors, like he mentioned, I've been very successful over the years. Probably won most titles indoors, maybe more than all the other guys combined. But that doesn't make me the best this week. What I'm focused on this week. It feels very natural. I'm playing great. But I see also other players this week playing wonderful tennis.
We'll see how it plays out. But I know I got chances. Now I'm into the semis, so that's a bit of a relief. I can already maybe then work on my game in the next match looking ahead, which is a good thing.
Q. With your ATP president's cap on, do you have any reaction to this quite strange decision to turn down the offer of extra prize money at Indian Wells at the time when the players are trying to pressure the Grand Slams into upping the money?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, indeed. I heard about it, as well. Obviously, I wasn't in the room when everything went down because it's at the board level, at the CEO level. For me, I was a bit surprised to hear that because I heard it was in the room.
But as you know, as long as I'm the president of the Player Council, I won't discuss with you guys in the media.
What I can tell you is I will investigate and make sure that the decision they've taken is, indeed, the right one. If it's not, then obviously we need to talk about it, what we can do in the future.
Like you say, maybe some people don't understand it. It's important for me to really get all the information so I can also give my opinion and speak to the fellow council members, because, like you mentioned, it's an important issue here.
Q. This tournament is going to be played here for the next three years. After, would you agree with a rotating system in terms of surfaces, one year clay court, one year hard court open air? Would this be more fair for the players?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think it's okay indoors, to be honest. Not because of me (smiling).
But you have all the other surfaces in the slams and many other tournaments. But indoors seems like it's a short season. So I think indoors deserves big tournaments. We only have, what, one Masters 1000 on it. So I think it's only but fair that there's another indoor event.
I didn't complain when I went outdoors in Houston, even though that was bad for me. You just have to make sure, you know, you deal with it. I think actually maybe players ‑‑ I don't think anybody is complaining, but I think it's important to embrace different surfaces, different places to play in, and actually improve your game in the process.
People always complain when courts are too fast or courts are too slow, but it allows you to improve your game normally. I think that's how you should see it. I think indoor tennis is good for the fans. It's predictable. You don't want to see indoor clay. That's the last thing you want to see.
Q. Stefan Edberg was your idol growing up. Receiving a sportsman award yesterday, I think it means a lot to you. Are you proud of this?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I am. Plus it's voted by the fellow players, which makes it extra special, I'd say. Like you mentioned, I think many players obviously have paved the way for us, especially also Stefan Edberg. That's why the award is named after him. He was a great man, I think a great personality and player to look up to, for my generation in particular.
I always try to, I guess in some ways, be similar to him on the court. I had such a hard time, you know, getting my act together, but finally I was able to come through.
So to feel that the players do actually appreciate my fairness out there and feel like I play tough but fair is very nice. I hope not only me, but our generation, can inspire the next generation to come that we all play that way, as well.
Q. Could you reflect on David's schedule, playing four weeks in a row, two titles, this event, and the Davis Cup final next week. How impressive is that?
ROGER FEDERER: It's not over yet for him. He might still win the title here, then it's really incredible achievement.
Look, it's tough, but doable ‑ at 30 years old, but maybe not at 31 (laughter).
I have great respect for his achievement indoors because he actually is a natural clay courter or an outdoor player. So for him to have made the progress and the improvements over all these years, indoors especially, it's nice to see. I hope he's going to be fine physically.
I think this is really the time for him right now where all his hard work is starting to pay off for him. It already has in a big way. But I think now in particular he can shine and prove to not only you guys, but also I think the other players, how tough he really is.
He can create an image and aura around him for future tournaments and Grand Slams which he'll be a contender for in the future, which he has been, but even more so now, looking ahead with this indoor season with his achievements.
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