Rolex Shanghai Masters
Tuesday, 9 October 2018
Q. The last stretch of the season. What’s the mindset? What are the goals? What does the form look like for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I like this part of the season, as you know. It’s always been a good season for me. Maybe conditions get faster, I’m not sure, or if there is energy left in the tank or I take — you know, it’s helpful I have a home tournament and the World Tour Final is where it is and on the surface that it’s played on.
But I have been very successful, so clearly I hope for something similar again this year. I always look at the draw like, for instance here in Shanghai, like, oh, it just always looks hard regardless of which year I came. It’s just difficult, you know.
I’m not going to underestimate my opponent for tomorrow, clearly. Why should I? You know, I think I will have to take it very simple, one step at a time. But the good thing is after feeling good in practice I played a good Laver Cup.
Have had also some rest after the US Open. I feel like I’m where I want to be. I know that this is where I could be playing a lot of tennis, you know, depending on how I play. So there is still obviously some goals left for the season.
Q. We definitely heard expectation from the fans that the ATP year-end final may come back here in Shanghai after the contract expire with London. What do you think about the idea and the possibility for end of the season here in China?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven’t heard about it. You’re the first to tell me. I don’t know exactly what the situation is, how many more years we are gonna be in London and after that if it’s definitely moving or if it’s still an opportunity to stay in London. But it’s good to look, you know, ahead, you know, I think rather sooner than later, to be honest. I think the ATP is doing that.
So I think it’s an exciting process to go through. Shanghai was definitely a good place, you know, to bring the Tennis Masters Cup, especially also having in mind to become a Masters 1000 now which it then became, a very successful one, one of the best, most prestigious one on tour with most prize money with all the 1000s, I believe.
I don’t know if you could have the 1000 plus the World Tour Finals at the same time in the same year. That, I don’t know. This would have to be looked into.
But, you know, I think having a Tennis Masters Cup or World Tour Finals in China again, why not down the road? If that’s the case in three years, I really don’t know.
Q. I don’t know if you saw the recent clip of Fernando Verdasco and a ball boy. Did you see it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Well, the one with the towel or something? I didn’t — yeah, kind of, briefly. There is no sound, I believe. There was no sound?
Q. There was no sound.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, okay.
Q. It was just a clip. What are your views, say, for the last few years of your career if you had to use a towel hook or a rack at the back of court? Would that bother you or would you be fine with that?
ROGER FEDERER: If what?
Q. If you had to use a towel hook or rail at the back of the court rather than asking the ball kid to hand you the towel? They are trialing it at NextGen.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, okay. I didn’t know that either. A lot of stuff I’m learning here.
Well, I think the idea of having the ball kids bring it to you is to speed up the points, you know, in between. If now you’ve got a hook or a rail in the back, I don’t know. It’s like are you wasting extra three seconds of time each and every point? Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but you add that over a five-hour match, next thing you know, you saw much less tennis and this match could have ended four-and-a-half hours earlier maybe or like a half an hour earlier.
So I mean, sure, try it out. See what happens. But it is true that all the players nowadays almost have towels just because it’s gotten more intense. Maybe we sweat more. I’m not sure what the deal is. Also for guys to relax quicker their mind. Maybe they feel like having the towel is something that brings them down.
But I think the idea of having the ball kid bring it and take it away from you again is to really save time so you don’t have to walk so far back and come back again. I think that’s the idea. So we’ll see.
Q. Can you look back on your season and talk a little about it in comparison to what it felt like last year at this point?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, last year was a fairytale from start to finish, basically. It was just a small disappointment at the end at the World Tour Finals, you know, not maybe giving myself the chance to be in the finals, losing to Goffin.
I was a bit disappointed with my play there. That was probably the first time in the whole season that I felt that way. But, you know, he also came out and played a great match.
This year, for me again, honestly it’s been a great season: winning the Australian Open, getting back to world No. 1 in Rotterdam, playing a good finals in Indian Wells, playing a decent grass court season. You know, having had the chances I did have against Kevin and all that stuff, it wasn’t all bad. I didn’t play great in Cincinnati, either, but made the finals there.
Overall, I’m actually very happy. I can see some people seeing the things not as good as last year if you compare to last year, but I also did play very well at the Hopman Cup, I won that, won the Laver Cup again this year. I have actually by very successful when I played. I didn’t play many poor matches, to be quite honest. There is only maybe a couple that come to my mind.
And I have been injury-free for over a year now. The last time I had a big problem was when I hurt my back in Montreal last year, and the rest of the season after Montreal last year was not easy for me.
I’m just really happy. I’m healthy. I have won another slam again this year. I always say when you win a slam in any season, it’s actually a very good season already. So I feel like there is still a lot more to play for. I’m actually very pleased about this season so far.
Q. If I can go back to the towels, I think the greater two points might be, A, that a child is handling a towel with, no offense to any of the players, your sweat, and probably some guys blow their nose and it’s not as sanitary as it might be; and the other point is how do you feel players should treat these kids? Because I have seen where kids have been in hysterics crying, and players are their heroes that when, you know, players are being mean to a child, as a father you might have an opinion on that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, and as a former ball boy.
Q. And that too.
ROGER FEDERER: I was two years a ball boy. And even at the club level, at my local club too for Patty Schnyder and Hingis and so forth. I have been there.
Yes, and I get it. I think also the ball boys, most of them, they understand what’s at stake and the pressure. The problem becomes obviously when the ball kids become younger. You know, when they are below 12 years old, you know, it becomes emotional. The days become long, and understanding what maybe a player goes through is not maybe an easy one.
Sure, you always want to respect the ball kids for, you know, for who they are and the great job that they are doing, but it’s not easy for each and every player to control their emotions exactly.
Yeah, about sweat and blood or blowing the nose into it, sure. I don’t know what the solution to that is. Is it a rail? Is it maybe only your own, what do you call it, like yourself that should only touch your towel? Maybe, you know.
I remember a few years back, I think we were told not to blow your nose into the towel. I know it sounds horrible, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, what can you do? I’m sorry, I have to go blow my nose and I’ll be back in a minute? It just doesn’t work sometimes, you know.
So I don’t do it ever anymore, you know. Not that I did it a lot beforehand. But it’s like, well, the show gotta keep moving on.
So all this stuff, it’s quite hectic, to be quite honest, even though it seems like we have a lot of time. I know we are allowed to take the time, but then right away it’s gamesmanship and what’s the player doing? How can he do this in this very moment? It’s very tricky, to be honest, to get it right exactly.
But, yes, I mean, linespeople, umpires, ball kids, officials, everybody should be treated with respect and so should we and so should the fans. That’s why I think we are talking about such little things actually in the big scheme of things if you compare to other sports where they behave completely different to one another.
I still think we are doing actually very well in our sport, and we have to maintain that, you know, the integrity and the way we treat each other, because it is a classy sport, tennis. Maybe one of the most classiest ones out there. Sure the emotions can get the better of you sometimes, but I think let’s also not forget how good we are doing and how good we have been doing.
Sure, there are some exceptions that sometimes just do happen in the heat of the moment, but for the most part it’s all good. Sure, yes, the ball kids are really important to us, because they are also maybe the future of our game, like I was. I was happy when I left a tennis tournament. I felt like, oh, man, it was all good. There were no negatives.
You don’t want to have them leaving with feeling, oh, my God I was not appreciated or I was not liked or it was a horrible thing. Yeah, it needs to be taken care of.
Q. We have a Laver Cup great tournament again this year, another great success. Obviously it’s an amazing tournament. But at the same time we have Kevin Anderson, for instance, Tiafoe pull out from Chengdu. And Djokovic said he had a great time in Chicago but it is also exhausting so he decide not to play in Beijing. What do you think of impact of Laver Cup to the Asian tour events?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, was Novak signed up to play Beijing? I’m not sure exactly. He didn’t pull out? Okay. Let’s start there.
And then, yeah, what other guys do, I mean, it’s really up to them to know what they want to do. Goffin went, I think, to Shenzhen or Chengdu? I’m not sure. Shenzhen?
Yeah, I don’t like to see that, that guys play and then they have to pull out or they play and they don’t feel good after.
But it’s like with everything throughout the season, you know, you need to manage your own schedule as a player. You need to know how much you can take on and whatnot and what to prioritize and whatnot.
I can speak on behalf of the Laver Cup that I had a wonderful experience personally. I played probably the most out of anybody, you know, on the team and I actually felt good afterwards.
You know, I know it’s a different approach because it’s team, as well, and it gets highly intense, especially on Day 2 and Day 3, so you have to be sort of ready for it. Especially, you know, being on the bench, as well, supporting, can make you tired, and there is just a lot going on. And the crowds were massive.
So to face that pressure, as well, I think for a lot of players also was a bit much sometimes. But I think, yeah, players need to manage their own schedule. Honestly, it is normal sometimes to feel a little bit tired towards the end of the season. Maybe I feel different, because remember I did take three months off in the middle of the season.
But, sure, you know, if you have been playing a tough US Open and maybe some guys played three, four tournaments leading into the US Open or had a good Wimbledon, yeah, at some point you feel tired. So it’s normal to take a break at some point.
Naturally, you’re always probably going to take it more at the 250 level than anywhere else just because that’s the tournament unfortunately that gives the least points.
But I’m not a fan of pulling out. That’s why I have really tried to lead by example by really only signing up to the tournaments I will play, and I know I can always take a wildcard. I know that not everybody has that luxury, but I really don’t like pulling out, you know, just for the sake of the tournament organizers and the fans alike.
Q. We saw Nick Kyrgios yesterday lose his first-round match. There was some suggestion he wasn’t necessarily trying his utmost at some points. He had a bit of a contretemps with the umpire, as well. He’s a player with great potential. But do you feel he’s never going to reach that great potential?
ROGER FEDERER: I have not seen the match. Nor did I really hear much about it, to be honest.
All I heard last night was that he lost and that he was not going to play Stan, you know, because that’s what I was looking at is if Stan was going to win and then play Nick or not.
I mean, I think it’s really up to him to decide where he wants to go and what his potential really holds. You know, I like to compare myself a little bit to Lleyton in this regard, whereas I don’t want to say work ethic came easy for him and for me it was difficult. Maybe my talent lied more in my racquet head speed and what I could do with a tennis ball, but it doesn’t mean you’re naturally, you know, talented when it comes to work ethic and vice versa. It doesn’t always translate.
So we don’t really know and I don’t think he really knows exactly what his potential is, and only through understanding work ethic and scheduling and whatever it might be, creating the right team around himself, only then can you unlock the potential really, and then what that is only will be found out.
But for the time being, just to always talk about what is the potential of such-and-such player, I find it’s kind of wrong, you know, because it’s just too easy to say it. People said I was going to be world No. 1 at 16, 17, or I was going to be like Pete. And I was, like, well, I have zero titles. The guy has got, like, bloody 70. How do you compare me to him? You don’t know what I have in me. You don’t know how I’m going to handle the travels. You don’t know if you’re going to have children. You don’t know if I’m going to have a surgery at 22. You know, you just don’t know these things.
So from that standpoint, I think time will tell, you know. I think he’s a great player, and I feel also he can, you know, win bigger tournaments and do all these things, but there is still a process in place that he needs to do like any other player needs to go through in order to be successful. So, yeah, that’s kind of what I feel.