Roger Federer Roger Federer

Roger Federer 3R interview

Interviews

Q. I understand Nick Kyrgios was commentating on your game. These are some of the things he said. Federer's timing is scary good. He hits everything on the half volley. Oh, my goodness, butter, so smooth. He's zoning at the moment.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we need him to play first before commentating for the whatever 10-plus years (smiling).

No, he's always good for a headline. Look, I like Nick. I like the way he plays and all that. Yeah, I was happy to hear that he was in the commentary booth. He's got a bit of time, sticks around, shows he's passionate about the game. That's what we need to see. But we wish he was on the court rather than a commentary booth. But I hope he did a good job.

Q. You play a lot of night matches. Sometimes very late. How much different is it on your mind, your body, maybe even your spirit playing at 1:00p, versus 1:00am?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, I think for me nowadays I go in phases where sometimes I don't see day matches for a long time, you know, especially Dubai, let's just say, the matches are always at night. I mean, for the top guys. Here with the semis and finals and quarters, if you play well here you're always going to see three, four, night session matches, same thing.

And Indian Wells, Miami, they are also 50/50 spread out. Next thing you know, by the time you hit the clay, where there's no more clay court matches, you have played 70 per cent maybe in the night, and the weird thing is we never practice at night. You know, we're always, you know, for schedule, just easy to play during the daytime.

And I remember early on in my career I played much more in, like, especially in America, I think early on because of the time change to Europe with Eurosport being the host broadcaster, I remember that happened a lot.

So I have worked my way into the night, I guess. But for me playing early, like 1:00, definitely that's a little bit of a change. I just think with my age I just need extra warmup, extra, you know, care to details so I'm actually really firing at 1:00pm.

Q. You have said yourself age is just a number. Somebody else thought exactly the same thing was the great Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, she ran her personal best at the age of 36, Olympic silver medallist at the age of 40, semifinalist at 44, missed qualifying at 48, ran under 12 seconds at 52. She's still competing at the age of 58.
ROGER FEDERER: There you go. I won't do that, but... (Laughter.)

Q. Do you think, looking at those kind of numbers, do you think your best might be yet to come?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't think so (laughter). I think the last 10 have been a lot of fun, maybe more fun than the first 10, I'm not sure. But yeah, I don't think with four children and with the career that I have had and my body, I want it to be somewhat healthy and healthy actually when I retire, I don't think that's a good idea, you know, to be quite honest.

Yeah, for the time being, it's all good. Lights are on green. I'm injury-free, enjoying myself. The kids are having a great time too on the tour. My wife's happy. So for the moment there is absolutely no complaints and no plans. So I'm just happy where I am in my life, in my career right now.

But these numbers are definitely something else. Unreachable numbers.

Q. On the night sessions, yesterday Konta and Muguruza finished at 3:10am. I know we have seen that before, but there was hardly anyone here watching. Do you think it's good for tennis to have play at that time or should something be done with the scheduling to try and prevent that?
ROGER FEDERER: What do you want me to tell you? I think for the people in the stadium, there was a few, you know, they were happy. People on the TV, they were still happy that tennis was going on.

Is it ideal? No, it's not. But sometimes what can you do if you schedule a match at, especially a men's match before, and that thing goes, you know, four, five hours, and it can happen, you know, as we saw also with Zverev and Chardy, they played that great match.

I don't know what other choices you have. I mean, you could move them on an outside court, but then the atmosphere might be quite sad, you know, if you put them on the outside-court.

So I think it is what it is, and they also played a long match. You just deal with it. You move on. You know that's not going to happen again. They're going to try to help you out with scheduling the next time that you play maybe later in the evening again, so you stay somewhat in that rhythm. So I think the tournament tries to accommodate that kind of situation.

I also went, after the first day, I didn't even finish so late, but I also went to bed at 3:15 or 3:30. It's just what we do. I think as tennis players you have to be flexible, especially in the head. We don't know if we play at 11:00 or 1:00 or super late. It's not like a team sport where you know the kick-off time is at a certain time. We are used to playing three times in the juniors in a day. This is part of our life and we actually like it like this. There is no solution, I think.

Q. Could you talk about your next opponent, Tsitsipas.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm happy I played against him at the Hopman Cup. I think he played really well there. I actually did too. I thought it was really high-quality tennis. This is obviously a different type of match, it being best of five, it being a fourth round of a slam, you know, where we know now how we feel on this court. I think he had to work extremely hard against Basilashvili again today, because he hits hard and I saw him before I went out really defending well and a lot.

I'm happy for him. He's playing so well, and I'm looking forward to the matchup with him. I think it's going to be a good one. I like how he mixes up his game and also comes to the net. So will I. I think we will see some athletic attacking tennis being played.

Q. Injuries are obviously bad, but it seems like in this sport more than any other players benefit from maybe long layoffs, getting away from the tour. Berdych talked a lot about it, Sloane Stephens. Why do you think that is? Also thinking back to 2017, maybe that was also the case with you, kind of refreshing you a bit.
ROGER FEDERER: And the question is about having a long break?

Q. Yeah. What is it about tennis, when some players get away from the sport for a long period, it refreshes them even more than, say, training for six months?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think every sport has somewhat of an offseason. We have two but you can't count it like that. Let's not talk scheduling during this tournament. There's no point, no perfect solution there too.

What I think is good about our sport is it is sort of going all year round. If you do get injured, you can jump back into it and you don't have to wait another five months because there is no tournament going on.

I think there is very much positives about our long schedule that we have. I think when you have been on the tour like Berdych and myself, played full seasons for many, many years, and you take a long break off – Rafa has had them, injuries, mostly they come through injuries naturally. I think it just gives the body a chance to sort of heal itself and maybe also the mind to take a step back.

And when you come back to the tour, you see the guys and you step in the press room, the way you deal with, I don't know, you know, the pressure, all of a sudden you see things a bit either more clear or more relaxed instead of, you know, there is so many trees that you can't see any more where you're at.

I think all of a sudden it's much more clear, and I hope that Tomas is there now, and I think that's maybe also why he's playing well. You know, minor tweaks and adjustments can make a big difference at the end of the day in our sport. The margins are super slim.

So it will be interesting to follow those guys who do tend to take a bigger break. It's just hard because your ranking is always, because we have a one-year rolling ranking, you know how it is, it's just a tough one because your ranking is going to drop. And if you don't play well when you do come back, then you'll be in no man's land in the ranking and pay the price dearly for it. Can you always come back to top 10 or 20? It's not always a guarantee. You have to be very confident in maybe making that decision.

Q. I saw you first winning a tournament when you were 16 years and 8 months in Florence, junior tournament. I'd like to know if you remember most of the finals that you have played in your career. 99 tournaments won. Would you remember something of each finals or each player that you played at least in the finals or probably not? So you don't remember?
ROGER FEDERER: I think I would remember something definitely of finals I did play. I remember the finals in Florence. I still remember how the centre court looked. And it was maybe Filippo Volandri I played in the finals?

Q. Yes.
ROGER FEDERER: You do remember those big-time matches. There is always something about it because it got you nervous or got you thinking.

The hardest are sort of the second, third, fourth rounds, you know, at certain tournaments. So I think those are the ones that you just, you're trying to get by and when you do get by, you're right away the next match comes around and you don't have time to think about that one.

Finals, won or lost, you take it with you to the next – on the trip. So you have more time to think about that one.

Q. One of the other things Nick Kyrgios said in commentary is he thinks you sometimes hit shots deliberately so they will be on a highlights reel later or social media. Are there times you hit a shot and you think, that was pretty good, we'll be seeing a lot of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really, no. I think I learned early on in my career that if you're on centre court, just play your game and good shots are going to happen. Because, I don't know, you have worked hard in your game and become fast and athletic and you inevitably have to make good shots. Maybe can make the highlight reel. Looking for them I think is always the wrong take.

I mean, yes, what I do sometimes, and I did it in the third set at one point, is I tried to relax and start playing more drop shots and more serve and volley, even the dissavory ones, just to see how did it feel, what is the opponent going to do. But I don't do it deliberately to make the opponent look bad or to be on the reel.

Because I felt I was like this when I was younger, you know, a teenager coming through on the tour and I was trying to do these great shots on Court 17 and you're like, Nobody cares, nobody cares. You know, you have to be on centre court to hit those.

So that's the mindset I have had for a very, very long time.