ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Federer: “I think I've seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he's going to play” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Federer: “I think I've seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he's going to play”

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TENNIS – ATP Monte-Carlo R. Federer/ L. Rosol 6-4, 6-1. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. How would you judge your game today? It started off a little bit difficult but then got smooth.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think you summed it up. I think it was a bit rocky in the beginning. I was able to find my way into the match. After four games you usually kind of know what’s going to work, what’s not going to work.

At the end I think I had good variation. I also came to the net some. I was effective on breakpoints. My first serve started to work better. So I just think it was a more difficult start to the match.

I thought Rosol was going to play much more aggressive early on than he did, and he didn’t. I was expecting the rallies to be shorter. When they extended, I made too many mistakes.

As long as I found a way to turn it around and stay calm, it was good. So I was very pleased.

It’s clear for me that not every match can be like the one I had yesterday. It’s not realistic. A match like this is sometimes what you need, as well, get that little fright going early on.

 

Q. How special is it for you to be here after not playing here the last few years?

ROGER FEDERER: It’s nice. Look, I’ve always considered playing in Monaco. Sometimes it was the good preparation. Sometimes I didn’t feel like it’s what I needed. I needed to work, stay home and do a proper buildup.

This year I don’t need necessarily a buildup because I was able to work hard in the off season in December. I’m going to have another buildup I guess after Wimbledon.

So I’m going to work hard after this tournament. Sometimes getting on the clay early is also something you’re looking for so you actually know what you really need to work on and practice. Whereas if you don’t play this tournament, an early clay court tournament, you just think what you need for what’s to come. I’m not saying sometimes you work on the wrong things, but it’s nice getting some information and playing with the other top players on the tour.

So I’m happy to be back. I kind of enjoy this tournament. It’s quite busy, a lot of people. It’s kind of stressful being on site. That’s why I try to escape as quickly as I can.

 

Q. You played Tsonga many times, different surfaces. Are you looking forward to the match tomorrow?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I’ve seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he’s going to play, how aggressive, how passive. I’m going to have to have a bit of an open mind when it comes to that.

I didn’t play a very good match against him at the French last year. That was a bit of a disaster for me. On the other side, I played a really good match against in the Australian this year. So kind of excited to see what’s going to happen this time around.

I think he did a good job of being tough through the second set today. I think as much as Fabio kind of went away, I still think it’s his credit as well to put Fabio into that position, and he started to play actually really well and really aggressive.

I think Jo played the semis here last year, so he’s played here well in the past. I have to make sure I play aggressive myself and not become too passive just because we’re on clay.

 

Q. Do you see him as an inconsistent player? He lost to a 112th ranked player in Davis Cup recently. He’s a Grand Slam finalist. Do you see him as a bit inconsistent?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, he had a change in coaching, as well. I’m not quite sure what exactly they’re working on, if it’s a work in progress at the moment, if they’re telling him to do quite a few things differently. From that standpoint, I guess he only knows and he can only answer that question.

I mean, he’s still at a high level. I think at the moment he’s just missing that big tournament where he goes deep and beats some of the top ranked players. That’s maybe not quite what he’s been able to do as of late.

Losing against a guy ranked outside of the top 20, top 50, top 100, at the end of the day that doesn’t tell me much, as long as he can play up. He’s put himself into that position again now. That’s why it’s an important match for him and for me tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

 

Q. Did you follow the match between Jo and Fognini? What do you think about it?

ROGER FEDERER: Saying he lost 17 points in a row is totally unfair to Jo. You can’t put everything on Fabio’s side. You have to show some respect for Jo, who played well. It is not as if Fabio didn’t play any more.

 

Q. The question was rather about Fabio’s behavior.

ROGER FEDERER: We see that too rarely on the tour nowadays because now the game has become extremely professional. Seeing players who seem not to care about anything is something that doesn’t exist anymore. I believe it shows we are humans. I can relate to him, and I believe it shows we are not machines.

 

Q. You’re saying that the game now does not allow players to show some strong personality and be good at the same time?

ROGER FEDERER: I believe having a strong personality is not the problem. The rules are more severe. You throw your racquet or you say a word you shouldn’t say, you get a fine. But this doesn’t mean that if you don’t do that you have no personality.

More personality is your capacity to concentrate because, after all, the show is the tennis shots, not the discussions with the umpire. And with Hawk Eye, it’s almost absolute. There’s no more discussions with the umpire.

When I started playing, there was a lot of communication between the player and the umpire that no longer exists today. So you can have a strong personality and keep focused.

 

Q. You played 15 times against Jo. You are far ahead in the head to head. Last time was on clay in the French Open. Do you feel vulnerable right now?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel good. It’s just the beginning of the season. Both of us had the same preparation. We played indoors and we played two matches on clay. So it’s fair. I’m playing well, but I don’t know how he’s going to play.

Our match in Australia, I played good. But in the French Open, I missed that match and he played very good. So I will try to play like in Australia and he’s going to try to play like in the French Open.

I will try to use the clay to my advantage. But I don’t know what weather we will have, whether it’s going to be sunny or windy.

I’m glad he won today because it was not easy against Fognini. He put himself now in a position to go further. In Masters 1000 tournaments, the toughest thing is to go through those first rounds, and now he really is in a position of making that next step. Normally it’s after the first three rounds that we start playing better.

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French Open Chief: Roger Federer Would have Won Multiple French Open Titles If It Wasn’t For Nadal

Guy Forget also predicts how far the 39-year-old could go in the draw this year.

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The decision by Roger Federer to play at the French Open is the most logical step ahead of Wimbledon, according to tournament director Guy Forget.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match on the surface since June 2019. Last year he missed most the season due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. So far this year he has only played in one tournament which was at the Qatar Open where he reached the semi-finals.

Federer will return to the court next week at the Geneva Open in his native Switzerland. It is the only event he will play before heading to Roland Garros. An event he had only played in once out of the past five editions. Forget, who is a former top 10 player himself, believes the match play is exactly what Federer needs.

“That Roger comes to play Roland Garros seems logical to me. This will allow him to play, and especially to test himself. Clay is a surface that requires you to be precise in your movements. The better Federer is at Roland Garros, the better he will be at Wimbledon,” he told reporters earlier this week.

The Swiss Maestro has only won the French Open once in his career which was back in 2009. Although he has reached the final on four other occasions. It was at the 1999 French Open where he made his main draw debut in a major at the age of 17. Overall, 11 out of Federer’s 103 ATP titles have been won on the clay.

However, Forget believes Federer would have won many more French Open titles if it wasn’t for the formidable Rafael Nadal. A player who has won more ATP trophies on the dirt than any other player in history, including 13 at the French Open alone.

“If Rafael Nadal hadn’t existed Federer would have had at least 5 or 6 titles at Roland, I’m sure of that.” Forget commented.
“Regarding this edition, I think it can happen that he could go into the second week.” He added.

Federer has lost to Nadal in all six of their meetings at the French Open – four times in the final and twice in the semi-finals. He trails their overall head-to-head 16-24.

The French Open will get underway on May 30th.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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