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An Interview With: Roger Federer (Round 4)

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Q. He hadn't been broken in over a hundred games here. He never lost a tiebreaker 7-0 before. How proud are you of that?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no doubt I'm very pleased because I knew of the toughness of the matchup. I think it happened very quickly how tough it was going to be because we were not really getting that many chances. You could sense if John really hit his spots and I would do the same, it would be tough for either one of us to break through. I think the first-set tiebreaker, when you win a tiebreak 7-Love, things have to go your way. You need to make some right decisions; he needs to take some bad ones. Needs to match up nicely. Of course, I think that first set is always going to be key, especially in a serving contest. I think especially the second one was massive just because I wasn't feeling that good going into the second-set tiebreaker like I was going into the first. I had to fight off some tough serves. I thought John was going really big then, like with some massive pace. It was just tough, you know. I picked the right sides. I think confidence helped me to get through that one. Then the break clearly was nice. But I kind of felt it was coming. He was maybe not having as much energy anymore. But still it was nice to break and win at the same time.

Q. Taking into account what you're saying now, when he recovered from Love-40, did you feel like you were going towards a third tiebreak?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, probably. Even though I had a Love-30 game when he was serving against the match and then another Love-30 game when I finally broke, I mean, I see it positive in the sense that I made it work. Okay, I didn't get the break. I took a decision that game to hit more slices. It matched up maybe the wrong way at Love-40 with his serving. Then at 30-40 when I hit the chip, you know, I just gave it not enough margin because I think that would have been a tough shot for him to hit. Credit to him for, you know, just going really big on the second serve. It's unbelievable with how much ease he's able to hit those big second serves time and time again. I think he only double-faulted once. He's going on an average of 115, 120 miles an hour. It's impressive to say the least.

Q. You made the conscious choice this summer just to play Cincinnati. Deep into the tournament, you're into the quarterfinals, do you feel a difference in your body? Do you feel fresher? If so, how?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, honestly it's hard to remember how I felt last year this time around. I definitely also think the Monfils match took some emotional energy out of me because, I mean, it was razor's edge, you know. It was a fun match, don't get me wrong. I didn't feel tired going into the Cilic match necessarily, but maybe somewhere deep down you're a little bit tired somewhere. You don't know exactly how and where and what, but I had definitely played a lot. This year that shouldn't happen. I will tell myself it cannot happen. Even if I play five sets, it doesn't matter. I think I've had a great preparation now with Cincinnati, now here playing great, not dropping sets. Clearly I feel really good about my chances in the quarters now.

Q. You finished him off in three sets like you did the previous three matches. How much does that affect the rest of the tournament considering you only have to run half the kilometers than guys like Wawrinka?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, like I explained, it could be a difference. I hope it will be. But if it's not, then I'll battle through tough matches. I've worked hard in the off-season. I gave myself that extra week to be in the gym, be on the practice courts. Thankfully it was nice and hot in Switzerland that time around. We also had around 90 degrees as I was practicing. So I feel like I could work on my game a little bit, I could rest up as well, so I come into now sort of the business end of the tournament with a good mindset and a good body.

Q. When you face somebody like John whose serve is different in part just because it's coming at a different angle, do you do anything in practice before that match differently to prepare for that?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't. I mean, no, I didn't. You could, of course. You could have somebody serve these big serves. I don't know. I think I win the match through his second serves, even if he's serving that big. I've seen 120 serves every single day of my life. But the 135s from that angle, no, not so much. But there you just try your best, in my opinion.

Q. Have you ever seen the ball spin back onto the opponent's court before in a match that you played?

ROGER FEDERER: I would think I have. I'm not sure on breakpoint (smiling). But it was a nice shot. I was thinking, That was good, that was nice, John. Not so nice against me, but nice nevertheless.

Q. You were serving down Love-40 in a crucial game in the second set. In general, what is your mindset when you get into that big of a hole?

ROGER FEDERER: Not feeling great about my chances then. Seeing sort of the second set evaporate sort of thing. I'm thinking the same, like just make it difficult for him, don't just give it to him, make him work for it. I don't know, it sounds so cheesy, but it's the way it is. Try to get the first serve in. Then, of course, you miss it. I think I made them all. Then you fight back to deuce. I think I gave him another breakpoint. That's really disappointing, to be broken that way potentially, it's rough. If you lead 40-Love and you get broken, same thing if you fight back from Love-40, get to deuce, then get broken again. It's pretty rough on the confidence. I'm happy I was able to get through that one. If we would have all taken our chances, it probably would have looked like two sets to one rather than three sets to love. I'm aware margins are extremely tight playing someone like John.

Q. What is it like to watch when Venus and Serena play each other, especially when the stakes are high like at a major?

ROGER FEDERER: What I'm thinking?

Q. What it's like to watch. What goes through your mind?

ROGER FEDERER: Like I've seen this before, yeah. Serena's the favorite. That's probably what I'm seeing. I hope for a good match.

Q. Novak said last night that it's very uncomfortable for him to watch, the idea of siblings playing against one another. What emotions or feelings do you have when you see Venus against Serena and think about a sibling rivalry on the grandest of stages?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, not easy to play, no doubt about it. I agree with Novak. I'd have a hard time playing a brother. I'm happy I don't have a tennis brother.

Q. You talked about keeping a good mindset. Could you offer any tip or thought that you return to to deal with the mental side of the game when you're digging deep for some of those points that are a real struggle?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think this time of my career, I see, you know, like a dropshot when it comes back. It's obviously just one point. Like an ace is just a point. Like a horrible error is just a point. When you lose it, you see it as, All right, this point was a great shot but it didn't count 10. When you win it or you lose it, I feel like I take it pretty relaxed these days. I'm obviously aware of what's more important, which are less important, which points. The scoring system is awesome in tennis. It's like you can switch in a heartbeat. That's why you have to stay calm at all times, in my opinion. I feel like if I conserve energy by not fist pumping every single point, looking at the big picture, I feel like I can play better throughout.

Q. Can you recall a particular time or even a mentor where it helped drive those lessons home?

ROGER FEDERER: I think it definitely grew within me, finding myself and my right attitude on the court, what I feel comfortable with. I think once you find that peace, that place of peace and quiet, harmony, I don't know what you want to call it, and confidence, that's when you start playing your best. I tried to turn the corner in 2001 in Hamburg when I lost to Scolari. I was so angry I lost that match. The attitude was wrong. So much was wrong about it. The match point was wrong. I squeezed the ball between the racquet and the court and the volley. I looked where had the volley gone, and the ball was like lying on the ground. I was looking, What the hell is going on here? He was in the back fence trying to hit pass. I couldn't make the valley. I got so angry, I smashed the racquet. I was like, This is enough. I can't take this attitude anymore? To me that was a changing moment in my career and my attitude.

Q. Had you not broken John's serve there at the end, even if you had still won in straight sets, would you have left the match feeling a little disappointed not to have been able to break his serve?

ROGER FEDERER: Seriously, no. Would have put me to even have felt better, to be quite honest. To win three tiebreakers against John would have been probably a better feeling than breaking him. I don't know if it makes sense for you, but for me it does (smiling).

Q. Do you remember such a good streak on your serve in your career? Is there anything particularly working well for holding serve?

ROGER FEDERER: I guess I got good focus. I got confidence. It's easier probably on the faster courts to do it, to get on streaks like these. What else? I mean, I don't know. I think I'm taking the right decisions at the right times. I mean, there's many moments where it's close. I think the focus is where it needs to be. Like I said, I think the racquet is helping me, easier power. Now having played with it for over one-and-a-half years, I feel like I'm really finding the zones, where to hit them. I can place it more accurately right now than I ever could. So I think that's also part of the success. I don't know when is the last time I served like this. You got to check those stats, please, but not me.

Q. What do you foresee as the biggest challenge in Gasquet's game and what will be your approach?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure if I've seen maybe Gasquet play as well as he has right now. I really like the way he played in Wimbledon, and also now here. I haven't seen that much. But the match I saw that he played against Stan and Novak at Wimbledon was impressive. He had a good attitude. He was fighting. Good shot selection. I don't know, it was nice, you know. Now he's backing it up. I'm sure he gained confidence from Wimbledon. That's why I expect it to be tougher than maybe in previous years against him or previous times. I know he can play much better at Davis Cup. I know I played very well, as well. Still I expected him to be tougher there, because I beat him in straight sets. I don't know, he kind of went away. In Dubai, of course, he was injured. That doesn't count. I don't remember when I played him the last times. I feel like this could be one of the tougher Gasquets I've played in previous years, so I expect it to be difficult.

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