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An Interview With: Roger Federer

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Q. With the stoppage for the weather, did the conditions changing help you that much, or did you just have enough time to reset yourself?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I definitely I guess played better after that. But then again, the first seven games all happened very quickly. I think the biggest difference was the wind. It was quite windy when we got out. When we came back, basically it was gone. It also felt quite different because the wind has that effect of air-conditioning a little bit for the players; whereas when it's not windy you really feel the humidity and the heat. So I think that was a big change. The court might have played a little bit slower because of it cooling off from the rain. And for me personally, I just tried to play solid, you know, figure things out a little bit, because he did come out and play really aggressive. He served well. He was doing a lot of things really well. It was just, for me, going to be one of those things to like weather the storm and see if he could maintain that level of play or not and if I could lift my game up and see how that matched up. I think overall it worked out great at the end.

Q. When is the last time you played in a stadium that empty?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't know. I don't remember. Could have been like not long ago, but I don't know. At that point you're not really concerned if there's five people in the stadium or 20,000. Really it's about getting back into the match. I thought it all worked out well at the end for fans, TV, us as well. It was a bit different feeling, but it was nice the way it filled up quickly. It was natural. There wasn't ever any interruption. I think it was quite smooth actually.

Q. What did you know ahead of time before the match in terms of what they expected with the weather?

ROGER FEDERER: The second time around?

Q. The first time. What did they tell you?

ROGER FEDERER: What did they say? I saw on the radar 50% chance of rain. The sky totally changed, so you go figure something was going to come. I didn't think they would take us off the court at 5-2. It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision. Did they say there was going to be more rain coming later on?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: They said we had an hour to play, one and a half maybe, when we went on the second time around, which also has an effect on you mentally. You're like, Where is it? It feels like a shadow over you. I don't want to say you play fast, because Granollers doesn't take much time, I don't take much time, so I think it was perfect anyway for everybody that we did speed it up.

Q. Now for sure we know you're playing Bautista next round. Your thoughts about him?

ROGER FEDERER: Never played him. I think he's done extremely well. Didn't he win three different tournaments on three different surfaces this year? He's quick on his feet. He doesn't miss much. He's consistent. He's got a pretty good first serve. He's overall a solid player. I would assume he's fit, too, because he comes from the Spanish tennis school, which they just know how to train hard. They never get tired. They're always ready to go. They have a good mental approach, point-for-point mentality. Then again, he's not the typical Spaniard with a lot of topspin. I mean, he plays unbelievably flat actually, which is very surprising for a Spaniard. But I'm looking forward to the match. Like I said, never played him.

Q. After the rain delay there were some moments in that match where you were moving at a very high level. When you analyze your longevity, your 60th major, your movement, how those things tie together...

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's been good for a while now. I think especially now it's been really excellent the last three matches here at the US Open. I feel very explosive, quick. Like you say, the coordination is there, as well. I feel like I've gotten used to the hard courts by now. It's really working well. I'm very pleased. Today conditions were much more humid so you could feel a little flat out there, but that wasn't the case. I was able to power through that. Yeah, I mean, I'm happy I wake up every day and I'm ready to go. It's also great to see Robredo fit like a fiddle at the end last night. I thought that was impressive, too. He's my age, too. I think when you keep yourself in shape and train the right way, that's how you do it. Then actually it's not such a surprise for yourself. But I'm clearly happy about it because it's become a game of movement. If you don't move very well you can't dig out a few shots. It's just not going to work out in the long run.

Q. You come into the tournament with a title win and a slam final. How do you think the Roger Federer of this year would fare against the Federer of 2004 through 2007?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I hope I'm a better player today. Geez, so much time has gone by and I've practiced so hard over the years that I feel I have more power on my serve. I volley better now, I guess. I've gotten to understand, you know, so many things over those years. But the thing back then is I was so unbelievably confident. I was coming through stretches where I wouldn't lose against top 10 players. I wouldn't lose finals. That I did for such a long time, I didn't remember losing -- how it happened or how it would work. I had an unbelievable winner mentality. Not that I don't have it today, but I haven't won as much as I did back then. I think that could make a difference. Otherwise I'm very pleased with how things are going this year.

Q. You said many times that you enjoy traveling. Sometimes it's like a circus out there. Can you give us one or two examples where things are bizarre, a snafu?

ROGER FEDERER: Traveling?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: Missing flights, you know. Happened last year. I know how that feels. Feel like the worst person in the world, you know, because you feel like you messed it up and you didn't leave on time or whatever it was. So, yeah, I mean, I think when you travel -- we've all traveled. Things happen. There's just too many people. You don't want to ever see these people again because some are just not nice. So from that standpoint it's in a way super interesting, you know, just to go through these things. That's why I think traveling you learn so much: How to deal with stress; being organized, being there for the check-in; for the bags; for boarding; for passport control; filling stuff out; knowing where to go. It just never ends when you travel. Plus you do it in a bigger group. You have more luggage. It just adds to the pressure clearly. I usually have help and everything, but nevertheless it's still a grind. That's the stuff I don't enjoy about traveling. But coming to new places, all that stuff, is really cool. Clearly I've had a lot of things happening in my time as a world traveler, but I look back at those moments as an experience rather than something negative really.

Q. A little while ago you said you would have loved to play against Borg's backhand. Is there a forehand that you would love to play against? Laver? Borg? Becker? Courier? And also a volley and return.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think the forehand -- which forehand? Like Jim Courier's or someone like that, you know, who is really very dominant on the one side. Like Ferdinando González or James Blake, where when he went there, they had to go for something because they didn't want to hit a backhand anymore. I guess Jim was part of that. Lendl's maybe. Volleys, I guess the old school, like all the guys in the '60s and '70s; clearly Stefan's. I was lucky enough to play Pete and Rafter, which were very interesting volley players. And Henman. I enjoyed playing against them.

Q. And return?

ROGER FEDERER: Return? Yeah, I think playing Agassi and Rafa and Novak, it's like very different in its own way, but I think that was always very interesting.

Q. On CBS John McEnroe said that Paganini deserves a medal for getting you through 60 Grand Slams. Do you agree with him? How much has it helped to have one man that has been with you through all that time getting you ready physically?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, he's not in the limelight. He doesn't show up much at tournaments, only from time to time. So the hard work gets done away from the tennis tournaments really. There's only so much you can do during. There's a lot of maintenance going on. We've worked together for a long time. We really got to know each other from 14 to 16, then not 16 to 19 because he left the Federation. Then I started with him again I think at 19 or 20 years old until now. He's been a great man in my corner. Yeah, I mean, clearly we've worked unbelievably hard and I think in the right way, as well, to keep me injury-free. The great thing with him is we have always very open talks about anything. Especially with him and Severin and my wife. Basically we can talk about a one-year schedule within about 20 minutes so we can all get it done very quickly because we know each other so well. We know what we want to achieve. We know how much I need to train to achieve certain things. I think last year was particularly challenging for both of us with the back problems I had. Where do we go now? Are we allowed? What can we do? I think we were all training with the hand brake on and it wasn't very enjoyable. He would always ask me, How does this feel? Is this dangerous for you? We just felt this was not the way to go, so we had to figure things out. I'm happy we did so. And the record continues, so I'm very happy about it.

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