Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., Tuesday night with a straight-sets victory over countryman Stan Wawrinka.
Federer, who celebrated winning his 100th career singles title in Dubai two weeks ago, remains on track on face No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Should they each advance that far, the winner of that semifinal would likely be the overwhelming favorite to lift the trophy, with No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem the highest-seeded player left in the other half of the draw following Novak Djokovic's loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Earlier this week, Federer spoke with the media on a range of topics, from his shot selection and post-tennis career choices to the next generation of talent rising up the ranks.
Q. I know your mental game is very strong. Is that something that you're working on constantly, or how important is that for you day to day?
Roger Federer: I mean, it's clearly very important, you know, to feel strong or feel good or not get down on yourself.
But I don't do any work or I don't focus on it, you know. I focus more on, I guess, a good life balance with my family and tennis, how I can juggle all the things in my life, you know.
I know I love tennis. I know I like going out there to play.
Q. What goes into the way you select shots?
Roger Federer: Yeah, interesting question. I'm not sure how. Today [after a second-round win against Peter Gojowczyk], I wasn't thinking of doing a SABR [Sneak Attack By Roger], for instance. It wasn't on my mind. It wasn't a priority. Priority was to hit a couple of dropshots. I was able to do that early on to just see how that worked, and it did. And then I don't know why I couldn't do it later on anymore, but I think it had something to do with the opponent.
And very often it has a lot to do with the opponent, what you're able to do, because opponents usually play the way you don't want.
You're reacting a lot, but at the end you also have to play to win. You can't just play to always enjoy yourself. Every point can't be that way, so you have to be very careful what you're doing.
But there can be a theme when you play a certain player. And, again, certain players it's just easier than against others just because of the way they play.
Q. Wonder if you could comment on the status of Stan Wawrinka? He seems to be getting very close to his best form. How far would you say he's come from last year? What are some of the challenges that lie ahead for him?
Roger Federer: I mean, he came from very far away. Clearly he knew and I knew that he was not ready for the Australian Open, but he still wanted to give it a go. I was just hoping he'd get through the Australian Open uninjured, which he did. I was happy for him.
I really feel like he's been back at a normal level, let's say, around the US Open. But obviously his ranking was low, he was still maybe missing some fitness, you know, that day-to-day match fitness that you need, mental fitness that you require to bring it every single day. I think he was just missing it a little bit. But I think as the season wore on, he only got stronger, even though at the end he didn't play anymore because he didn't want to take a chance, which I totally understand.
But I think, from what I'm gathering, if he's in no pain or injury-free, I think we will see a great Stan down the road, without a doubt, because I know what he can do. I think a lot of Stan. He's got all the different options [for] how to win points. He's a fighter and a winner. I hope he's going to be in the Top 20, Top 10 very soon again.
Q. I was asked to look five years into the future where the men's game might be. It was scary to think you might not be playing anymore, Rafa [Nadal] and Novak [Djokovic], and that our game might experience a substantial void. Do you share those concerns? If so, do you plan on staying connected to the sport long term or in a similar fashion to the way John McEnroe has? In a coaching capacity? Will we see you as a part of tennis far beyond your playing days?
Roger Federer: That's hard to answer now, [whether] I'm going to be commentator or a coach. I doubt that I will be that, especially, you know, right after I retire. I do have four children, and I like being in Switzerland, and I like probably taking it easy and deciding where I want to go from there.
I have never commentated or coached in my life before, so... and being back on the road for 20-plus weeks is not gonna happen. I have done that enough for the last 20 years. So if I do it, it's in a different capacity, I believe.
I'm also a strong believer the game will be fine. Whatever problems we are facing now on the tour or whatever void you're talking about, we have so many cool events on the tour, maybe Masters 1000s or World Tour Finals, Slams, Laver Cup, Davis Cup, ATP Cup, there are so many cool events to attend that it always generates new superstars, either in the local market or internationally.
I think a lot of guys have a very interesting story to tell, but right now they choose to still focus on our story, that Rafa is still going, I'm still going, Novak is dominating. All these things, it's very cool. That new wave is coming though [and] that new wave is inevitably going to win Slams and tournaments, and then we will hear more about them.
So I think it will be fine, but I think it will be a transition, no doubt about it, like when Pete [Sampras] and Andre [Agassi] started to go away and we had a lot of different Grand Slam champions at that time, which I thought was quite exciting. But people said, like, 'Where is the guy that wins all the time?' And then when you have a guy winning all the time, then they say, 'Where are the guys winning separately?'
It's never quite right, but I think we will be totally fine.
Q. Many people say one of your greatest strengths is your decision-making, not only on court in a flash but just in big picture. In your career, you have had so many key decisions, going to the Geneva Academy, Lundgren, bigger racquet, scheduling, all that. But if you could focus on two or three key decisions outside of family that have really been important in your career, what would that be?
Roger Federer: I guess I took strong decisions in terms of management throughout my career. Took strong decisions with coaching. Had some moments where I let go of coaches that were maybe for the outside people not a logical step, but for me really the only step.
I made mistakes, I guess, along the way also in this regard, but still, as a player, you have to believe. It's your career. You know, you've got to go after your gut feeling and heart and go where your heart takes you. We only have one career, so I really tried to make the most of that, but do it the nice way. If I did it, it was always with respect and so forth.
You know, I think I definitely got lucky to have met Mirka so early, too. Professionally speaking, for my life, [that] gave me great consistency. And she was very professional as a player herself, which I can't say of myself early on in my career.
A lot of things went well for me, the people I had around me, friends and family and coaches, and so forth. I have a lot of people to thank when it all comes to the very end.