R. FEDERER/G. Simon
7 6, 7 6
An interview with:ROGER FEDERER
Q. What did you write on the camera besides Roger Federer?
ROGER FEDERER: I wrote ‘2014 in Shanghai’. Nothing crazy.
Q. You won in the Masters Cup twice in Shanghai before, this time was the Masters Series. Considering where you are right now in your career, does that give you extra satisfaction to win here this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it just makes me very happy winning here because this tournament means a lot to me. I’ve always enjoyed coming here. I’ve come close a couple of times, but I’ve always wanted to win it as a Masters 1000. The idea back in 2004 when I opened the stadium
Q. It was 2005. I want to correct you.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay. Are you sure?
Q. I’m sure. I was here.
ROGER FEDERER: But I was here in 2004 after the US Open.
Q. You were in Houston.
ROGER FEDERER: But I came after the US Open to open the stadium.
Q. It was 2005, the 3rd of October. I remember that day.
ROGER FEDERER: That’s fine. Probably ’05 then.
Anyway, the idea was always eventually we would move from the Masters Cup to a Masters 1000, and that Asia would have this big Masters 1000 that everybody would come and attend every single year. So that was the idea.
Obviously winning the Masters Cup back in the day was huge. I was very proud of that. I had some great moments here. Some tougher ones as well. When I played injured and when I was sick that one year.
When I came back for the Masters 1000, I was very happy for the tournament, for the fans in China, for those in Shanghai in particular, because I felt they deserved to have such a big event where everybody comes every single year, and there’s more than just the eight top players, there’s going to be the top eight players plus the rest, which is great for everyone.
I feel unbelievable prestige to win this event. Especially putting my hands on the trophy for the first time is a good feeling, I must say. I’m very happy with the way I’m playing. Overall I’m just extremely happy right now.
Q. I know the year is not over yet, but can you put your year in perspective up to this point. Haven’t gotten a major, but two back to back Masters, back up to No. 2. How are you feeling overall?
ROGER FEDERER: Great. The biggest concern was to be healthy this year. That’s something I’m just so pleased about, to see that the hard work I put in last year is paying off. Not only is it paying off, but I’m feeling good, I’m waking up normal. I’m not half broken like I was last year. I’m enjoying myself on the tennis court. I’m playing the way I was hoping I could play again. Everything fell into place. I’m playing a very consistent, solid season.
For me it was about winning titles again, because last year I only got one, which is quite disappointing to be quite honest. But then under the circumstances it was the best I could do unless I played many more 250s and 500s, none of the 1000s. If I would have changed my schedule entirely, then I maybe would have won more. Probably would have. I tend to play the biggest ones, the toughest ones, when there’s fellow top 10 players in there.
I think this year everything is going really well. I have still so many highlights to look forward to for the end of the season, which is very nice. Usually everything slows down at the end of the season. Not for me this time.
Q. Is No. 1 in the world your goal for the end of the year?
ROGER FEDERER: I’m not even going to change my schedule because of it. I haven’t thought about it, to be quite honest. I was lucky enough to actually even be here. We all know that.
I’m going to anyway look at things when I come back to Switzerland in the next few days, discuss my schedule with the team, like I mentioned the other day. Nothing is going to change really. It all comes down now to what are my goals, what is my energy level like, and what are my priorities in terms of tournaments.
What does it need for world No. 1? I’m not quite sure. I need to look into that, how realistic it is or not. I mean, it’s in Novak’s racquet. He dictates. But nevertheless, I’m still going to be playing and hopefully playing well again.
Q. Gilles was saying over the course of the years that he’s played you, one thing he’s noticed is that maybe nowadays you’re a little bit more inclined and willing to change tactics mid match. Maybe earlier you wanted to impose and win the way you wanted to win. What are your thoughts on that? If that is true, what would you say is the change? Experience, maturity, technical?
ROGER FEDERER: I’m not sure if it’s this extreme. Of course, in my dominant years I didn’t have to adjust so much to opponents. I could just play with my game, with my confidence, and very often I would be able to come through somehow. Maybe nowadays where the game has changed a bit, I almost have to adapt more so to my opponent.
But it is true, I think losing a bit more has definitely opened my vision, my sight a little bit more of how I can manage those situations better and how I can stay more calm under pressure. I was great under pressure back in the day, but I always felt I was going to win somehow, whereas that’s changed. I have to fight more now, I guess, or I feel like I have to fight more. It’s almost more rewarding and a better feeling if you do win, coming through that way, having to change a bit.
Q. How different a player do you think you are now compared with two years ago? I’m thinking in particular of how much you want to come forward now and get to the net.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, for some reason I have a hard time remembering two or three years ago. I really don’t remember much. It’s like a blur for some reason. I don’t know what it is. I couldn’t tell you how I played and all that stuff.
I think I’ve always played aggressive, but I think I’ve really found some confidence this year moving forward. If you look back at the tournaments I’ve played this year, not consciously, but many of them have been on faster courts. Starting in Brisbane was fast. Throughout the season, I’ve played on pretty quick courts really all around. I think I’ve also gotten used to these courts now, using the courts, what they give me, I take it as an advantage.
I think if you put all these things together, I’ve done a nice job. Before I remember some courts were so slow, I tried to serve and volley against I remember Rafa at Miami. He was way back and you couldn’t do anything. It was, like, incredible.
Miami, it’s slower there still. But in other places, it’s sped up a bit, which I think is encouraging for the all around game that I would like to see more players doing actually.
Q. You are such a complete player. I’m wondering whether there’s any part of your game you wish was better?
ROGER FEDERER: Today or for the week?
Q. Over the course of your career.
ROGER FEDERER: Over the course of my career? Oh, I mean, I don’t know. Well, I feel like I’ve worked hard and gotten really fit. You need to be able to back yourself. Doesn’t matter how long the match goes, how tough the game is, like today, three sets, two sets, five sets, doesn’t matter. You know you got to be ready. You know you’re going to be fine. Haven’t had a cramp since ’99. That was my only time, in Davis Cup, when I was panicky. I was young. I’m very proud of that. Never pulled out. Never had cramps. Never lost very much because of fitness, especially later on in my career where I knew, okay, I’ve put in the hard work, I’ve done that.
Then my game followed because it allowed me to get to balls faster. It improved my defense. I became faster and quicker and more nimble on the court. That’s when my potential all of a sudden went into this league that I never thought possible.
I’ve been very fortunate and clever as well, I guess, to understand how I need to work, when I need to work. So I’m very happy to have stayed injury free for so long. Hope I can still maintain, you know, a few good years on the tour. I really hope so.
Q. Do you like the shape of the trophy? Could you describe it in your own words? What is the most beautiful trophy in your whole career?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I like this one very much. It’s unlike any other on tour, to me it seems like anyway. I think it’s nice. It’s magnolia leaves from the roof. It’s got that design, which I think is so cool. Yeah, it was very, very nice holding up a new trophy for the first time today. I think you could also see how happy I was. I can’t wait to come back again next year.
Q. A question about the World Tour Finals. Novak said the other day that he would like to see, after the London deal has finished, the tournament move elsewhere, to another city somewhere in the world. I wonder if you have an opinion on that.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, in my career now we’ve moved around some times. I’ve been to a few different places now. I think it’s important that the World Tour Finals puts down its roots and has the chance to grow there and be there because I think the one year, two year spells we had, it was tough for the tournaments to really create a huge buzz and atmosphere.
I must say I think the World Tour Finals is incredibly successful. Everything is always sold out, it seems like, day sessions, night sessions. I think it’s the most successful event at the O2 during the year, and it’s there for a while.
If we do move, it needs to make complete sense. I mean, it’s hard for me to believe there’s anything better out there right now. But it would need to be in a place that I think would be unbelievably exciting, they love tennis, know tennis. There’s not many places like the O2. I think it’s a very successful partnership right now with the ATP and the O2.
I love playing in London. But if it were to move, I’m sure everything has been looked at. I would be okay either way, but I’m very happy at the O2, I must say.
Q. You have a long history with this city. Some players said the Chinese people or Shanghai people created or developed a certain culture of tennis in their own style of loving tennis. What are your feelings about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Who said that?
Q. I believe Novak or somebody else.
ROGER FEDERER: The culture of how the fans are here?
Q. Their own style, Chinese style of loving tennis.
ROGER FEDERER: I think every country has a different style, no doubt about it.
I think here they’re very into it. I think they’re very much into the stars, I think the ones that carry the game. The fans here get very excited for those players, people and personalities.
When I come here, I always know it’s going to be an intense and busy week, pictures taken, signing. At the same time they’re very understanding as well when you cannot sign or you cannot take a picture. For some reason they’re like, Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then. They’re very happy with little actually. If you already just speak to them, they’re very pleased, which I think is very nice. They’re very polite at all times. For me anyway, that’s how I experience it.
Then I think it’s quite different during the match. I think it’s very outgoing. They really get into the match. But I think, like we saw yesterday, they need a lot of good point ending shots. They don’t like it when people miss so much. They get a bit uncomfortable. They don’t like to see when we miss. They get a bit quiet sometimes.
That’s okay. I mean, that’s the way the culture is here. I’m happy I got to experience it again this week. It was very special. Particularly the atmosphere yesterday was incredible. Today was special just to win the tournament. Having almost a full crowd again was beautiful.
Q. Back to the O2. Have you ever been there for anything other than tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: No.
Q. Never seen a concert there or anything like that?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no. Never been there. Wanted to go see Michael Jackson for the This Is It Tour. I would have tried to go there. I remember that.
Q. This tournament had already won five times in a row for the best ATP 1000. Did you vote for Shanghai or will you vote for Shanghai? What makes Shanghai so outstanding or special?
ROGER FEDERER: I can’t tell you what I vote, man. It’s not what you do. It becomes too political.
I mean, I think the site, number one, makes this a very attractive tournament. Number two, the city I think is incredible. But then that alone is just not enough. The players need to feel very welcome. They need to feel special, I guess.
I feel the tournament tries unbelievably hard for us in the back, like in the player restaurant, where we don’t make money, just the hard work they put in to show that they care about us. For them it’s logic and normal to put in that hard work. It’s very nice for us to see because sometimes you feel like everything’s beautiful at the front end, but at the back they forget about the back.
I think Shanghai is an example for that. That’s why I believe they very deservingly receive this award actually because we feel it has all the ingredients for a world class tournament. I think the tournament organizers deserve a big, big thank you and applause really, in my opinion.