Roger Federer Tuesday Press Conference
by ATP Staff|
R. FEDERER/J. Tipsarevic
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: With his victory today, Roger has won more matches in this tournament than any other player.
First question, please.
Q. Do you remember were you nervous? What were your feelings? Did you ever think you would have this run of 40?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I remember being extremely excited having qualified because I was somewhat close in 2001. So when I did qualify, and I played Juan Carlos, who was sort of my age, I was very excited. The group was an interesting one as well. I think it was Agassi and Jiri Novak.
So that was, yeah, a big moment for me because I was hoping to do well, increase my ranking because I knew every match I could win possibly in the round robin stages could really help my ranking down the stretch. That's exactly what it did. I think I finished sixth in the world that year.
I played a great match, solid from both sides. I was just a bit better. And then I played well throughout. So I really enjoyed it there as well at the Expo Center, a really well‑run tournament. I have really great memories from that tournament.
Q. How much are you feeling the benefit of taking a week off last week?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, don't know. Never find out because I don't get a chance to go back to Paris and play that.
Look, I'm happy that I feel fine just in time. I still had some little things I had to work through the last couple of days. Really since yesterday I feel fine. So obviously it was good for me to start on Tuesday.
I'm happy with my performance today. No pain anymore anywhere. I'm happy with my level of play today against Janko, who is obviously a good player.
Q. 10 years in a row as the fan favorite. Is that a great record, just like all your other records? What do you think made you there?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, ever since I won Wimbledon in 2003, I guess. I'm very, very honored, really, and very proud in some ways to be so well‑liked by so many fans around the world, just not in one particular place or one country. It really seems to be everywhere I go I get a lot of fan support.
So for me that's a big thrill, probably one of the reasons also I'm still playing today. No doubt about it, they are inspiring me and motivating me to show up every day in practice, in the match courts, and give my best, because I do feel I have big support and I do feel I need to reward them for their support.
Yeah, 10 is an amazing number. I can't believe it's been that long. All I can say is thank you in a big way, and everybody knows that.
Q. Obviously Wimbledon was a big breakthrough for you in 2003. Houston, that year, I think you went undefeated without dropping a set. What role did that particular year‑end championship play?
ROGER FEDERER: In '03?
Q. Yes. Your own sense of where you were as a player in the game.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I did lose sets. I beat Agassi 7‑6 in the third, the first‑round match. But I think that was the only one.
That was obviously a huge breakthrough for me because I thought I was in the toughest group with Nalbandian, Ferrero and Agassi, all three baseline players. It's like the worst situation for me because I used to like to come in, keep the rallies short.
I just lost to Nalbandian at the US Open before that, I decided that I'll try to play him from the baseline and see if it works, obviously make it through. Next thing you know, I beating a as I in the finals as well. I realized I cannot just hang with them from the baseline but almost beat them from the baseline. That gave me an amazing confidence going to Australia, becoming world No. 1 there, beating Ferrero and Safin in finals and semifinals. That was definitely one of the big tournaments for me, turning it around, playing much better from the baseline than I actually thought I could.
Q. You seemed to strike your rhythm very quickly today. Is that an indication of how consistently the court is playing with previous years, or is it more to do with your own confidence?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think it's nice conditions here. I think it's the same as previous years. Obviously, come in knowing that I've played so well past years, I expect myself also to be at a solid level.
The dimensions of the court, I like that. Yeah, then the preparation has been good. I've had a good year. It's true, I feel like I'm striking the ball well after today. I hope it's a sign for more to come hopefully. But everything can be very different in my next press conference. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'm happy the first one went so well and it takes some pressure off looking ahead in the next couple matches.
Q. Every time we talk about your records, it seems to me you can remember a match 10 years ago very easily, opponent, score, details. You have played more than one thousand matches. Do you just have a good memory in general or very good in tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. You have to make a test with me.
But I have started to forget some of my matches. But the big ones I do remember all of them, kind of how I felt, when they were, all those things. But it becomes a bit blurry if you're asking about a second‑round match at some event in 2004. That becomes more tricky.
But overall I feel I have a good memory for those things, maybe in general, but mostly about tennis because it does take a big part of my life. Yeah, it's true.
Q. Remember in 2009 here...
ROGER FEDERER: I'll try to (laughter).
Q. What is better for you, to play against Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round or the third round three years ago?
ROGER FEDERER: I have no preference really. What I didn't like about that match in 2009, was we didn't know who came through and not, because it was a matter of games. It was Murray, me, and Del Potro I think. I kind of was aware of it while I was playing that if I get a set, I'm done, I'm through. I still had chances in the third set to break and should have won. I ended up losing. That created the whole chaos.
It was an interesting situation and really hard to focus on just the match. That obviously sometimes happens in the round robin. But things really have to be very tricky.
So I have no preference really if I play him the next match or following one. I'll try to watch tonight's match and get some info on how both are playing, how David's pulled up after his great win in Paris, how Juan Martin is playing after in Basel and Paris. Interesting matchup tonight, no doubt.
Q. You have a very good memory. We know you're very good on the tennis court. We know you're very articulate. Is there anything you don't do well? What are you not good at?
ROGER FEDERER: I can't cook. There's many things I can't do. I wish I could do. I can't skate. I would love to do that.
There's still many things for me to look forward to hopefully one day that I can either improve or learn from scratch, yeah. So, yeah, I'm far from perfect.
Q. You have in a couple weeks an exhibition in South America. What do you know about Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. I'm not talking about sport, but what do you know about the countries?
ROGER FEDERER: A few things obviously. But it's true, if you haven't been to a place, you just don't know as much as you should. You have to look it up, spend a lot of time with people who are from there. I've had obviously some experiences, but I guess not enough.
That's why it was also one of my big dreams as such, was to hopefully play there one day. I knew through the normal schedule, it was going to be extremely hard to do. My only way to get to South America in some ways was to play an exhibition tour. I'm happy we've been able to accomplish that.
It's big for me to go to see new places, playing in front of a crowd that I've never experienced before. That's going to be really, really nice. I definitely have some homework still to do more about the cities I'm going to, the countries, even though I know quite a few things. But I'd like to know as much as I can getting there beforehand.
Q. You mentioned earlier about the match against Ferrero. He retired this year. Andy Roddick retired this year. Who knows how long Lleyton Hewitt might go on for. You seem to be fresh as a daisy. What goes through your mind when you see your contemporaries fall by the wayside and here you are still playing?
ROGER FEDERER: First feeling I get is I'm a bit sad because I love watching them play still today. They could easily still play the tour today. They only just retired. If they retire in the top 30, top 50, whatever they were ranked, they could be the top 50 for the next five years. That's just not what they want to be doing any longer. They decide to hang up the racquets. I respect that in a big way.
I always wish them all the best because there is a life after tennis. There must be. Those are smart guys, great champions. I think it's going to be interesting to see what they're going to follow now.
But it is true, I do feel sad not seeing them so often anymore on tour because I like those two guys, or other guys that came from my generation as well, who have marked the sport, motivated me, admired me, crushed some dreams of mine.
I always felt said when I have to do the video message for Andy or Gonzalez or Ljubicic or Ferrero. It's not really what I want to do, but I'm happy because I know it might mean a lot to them. Yeah, sort of the time has come.
It's an interesting time of life, I guess, because you've done it not only on the tour, but it goes way back when you were a little kid. It's emotional. It's supposed to be.
Q. You defended a lot of things in your career. What does defending a year‑end No. 1, how does that stack up?
ROGER FEDERER: Every one is different, isn't it? Now we talk about Novak's right now. This is a different one. It all of a sudden happened for him, even though he earned it and played a great season.
You can also have a much more dramatic, it all plays out at the end, or you dominate like the way he did last year. You know three‑quarters of the way through the season you're going to be world No. 1.
I think at the end of the day they all feel the same. They're great. You should be proud. It's a hard thing to do. Only one player can do it every year. That's where I respect those accomplishments in a big way because it takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice and hard work.
So obviously it would be great to finish it on the last point of the tournament of the year, but it's just a bit too Hollywood if you like. He did it the right way and he deserves it this year.
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