Roger Federer: “I feel like I'm in good shape” - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “I feel like I'm in good shape”

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS 2014 – Roger Federer’s pre-tournament interview.

Q. How, if at all, has the birth of your new sons changed your routine preparation, affected anything at all when it comes to tennis for you?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, not much, you know, to be honest. They sleep that much that I don’t feel bad yet going out of the room and coming back. It’s almost the same situation.

Yeah, no, so things are fairly normal. Clearly there is a bit more happening and there is a bit more you can do if you want to, but Mirka takes care of most of it.

Of course, you know, I hold them as much as I can, but I clearly also want to go out and about with the girls. Routines are pretty much the same, really.

 

Q. You did not have a lot of preparation, not the usual amount of clay matches as you’re accustomed to coming here. How do you feel about your game and how do you feel in terms of preparation for this tournament?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I’m not sure if I have played less than in previous years on clay, because sometimes I didn’t play in Monaco. So then I also had a couple of events.

So I think it’s about what I usually always have before the French Open. The only difference is that, you know, I didn’t play a lot in the last couple of weeks. That’s usually the weeks sort of I play either I play or I play better or my best.

But playing well in Monaco was helpful in the sense that when I went to training I knew what I needed to work on. Clearly was very exciting times. For me, I feel like I’m in good shape. I know where my game is at. I’m not worried that, you know, maybe like you say that maybe there is not enough matches, all of that.

I have actually played really a lot already this season, so it also has its positives.

Again, because I was home and it gave me more time to train, I think, you know, I have become again a touch stronger in the last few weeks and months really, which was important after the year I had last year that I do take those opportunities when I have them to work very hard.

Then now after Rome it was more just staying in the rhythm and relaxing again before Paris and Halle and Wimbledon. It’s an important stretch now for me, and I don’t want to come into this tournament, you know, uninspired or tired or. That will be the worst thing.

So for me it’s really about being fresh mentally more than anything at this point.

 

Q. Do you feel like strong physically then, or you’re approaching the tournament just like to have more rhythm and…

ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, I feel very strong, actually. I always hoped that around March, April time this year I was going to be feeling strong again, that I was able to catch up on the lost time I had last year.

And that’s how I feel. It’s been really solid in practice; no setbacks in matches; I have been able to back them up time and time again.

So, yeah, I’m very confident if I need to go, you know, deep in a match or play tough matches, you know, in a row.

So we’ll see also how it’s going to be with the weather. I heard it’s going to be quite difficult, especially the first week with the amount of matches there are to be played. It’s clearly also going to have an impact on the matches.

 

Q. I know that the French hasn’t started yet, but I want to ask you one question looking ahead to Wimbledon, and in particular Andy Murray going there to defend his Wimbledon title. What was it like for you going back to defend your first Wimbledon title? How do you think it will be for Murray?

ROGER FEDERER: I enjoyed it. Clearly there was pressure, as well, trying to defend, but I felt more pressure trying to win the first one in 2003.

I came off losing the first round the year before at Wimbledon and also here at the French Open that year.

So when I came into Wimbledon in 2003, I was just so happy to be already in the semis, so happy to be in the finals, and then when I won it was a dream come true.

Following year, you try everything you can, but I was a touch I guess more relaxed, but I was also more confident that I could do it because I also had won the Australian Open previously.

I think Murray is going to manage it well, you know. I think it’s just important for him that now he finds, you know, a very good game in the next few weeks. He already seems to make improvements as he goes along, so I think he’s probably where he kind of wants to be.

As long as he’s mentally free, I think that’s what he needs to be right now. Clearly he needs to be healthy, but that goes without saying.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

 

Q. Do you believe this tournament is open, or do you think, as usual, it’s going to be between you and some very few others?

ROGER FEDERER: For the title, you mean? Well, I believe the favorite will have their say, of course. Of course surprises can happen, like in every tournament. There are very many good players with very small differences between them.

We have seen some surprises this year already with Stan, for example, in Australia. But in the French you need to play a lot. You get worn out. Some matches are really a trap. You can’t really rely on your serve to get out of it.

So I think maybe the best ones will be in the end of the tournament.

 

Q. What memories do you keep from the first match you played here against Pat Rafter in ’99? It’s been a long time.

ROGER FEDERER: It’s a great memory. I was very happy to be in the final draw. I had a wildcard, and I was very happy with this wildcard. You know, when you’re young and you play a big tournament like the French Open, if people think you have talent and it’s good to give you a wildcard, it’s great. I played on the Lenglen Court against Rafter. It was fantastic for me. I even won the first set.

At the time you even got bonus points if you beat top 50 or top 10 players, so I was trying to get those points. I mean, I knew I wouldn’t end up winning the match. But it’s like a carrot you give to a donkey, you know, but it was great.

Rafter was also one of my favorite players when I started playing on the tour, with Pete Sampras, and I was very happy I was able to play them on the tour.

 

Q. They say it’s going to rain a lot this week. Do you need to prepare differently because of that? Do you think matches can be very long, can have rain delays?

ROGER FEDERER: We try to practice in the rain. Of course we know they’re going to close down the courts, but there’s no special preparation for that. It’s the same for everyone.

The only thing is the way you manage those rain delays. Sometimes the rain starts at a very bad moment either for you or for the opponent or for the spectators, at the worst moment of the match. So this is the first week you just need to win those matches one way or another, however you do it. Even if it’s not a good game, never mind.

Like last week in Rome it was very windy, and the only thing you have to do is try your best and win that match. I was not able to do that against Chardy last week, and here it’s going to be the same with the rain.

And if you’re able to manage your way through, it’s great. But even if it’s not good tennis, it doesn’t matter.

 

Q. I believe you were asked this a thousand times. You changed your racquet. What can you say about that? Stan said you got used to it; it was good for your confidence.

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, that racquet gives me more power and makes it easier. I have more margin because it’s a bigger racquet, and also on my backhand when I topspin it’s better, and when I slice or I put a lot of effect on the ball, sometimes the ball flies a little bit.

At the start I was a little bit surprised, but I saw that, in fact, it was very easy for me to change racquets after all those years. Now I’m very happy because I can play very well with it.

I believe it’s very simple to play with this racquet. With the older one, I needed to struggle with it every day. So I have no regrets.

 

Q. Jo Tsonga was top 5 two years ago. Now it’s more difficult for him. Do you believe there is a difference between the Jo you played last year and Jo you played in Monte Carlo recently?

ROGER FEDERER: I could have lost. It’s like here last year he played very well against me. He was extremely aggressive. He was very confident, and confidence is very important for all players.

But particularly for a player like Jo, because he likes to take risks. He likes to step into the court. Of course he had changes with his coaching, his management during the past years, and I understand this might have an impact.

But I really hope he will be able to do something great here. I hope I don’t have to play him. I don’t know if he’s on my side of the draw. But I hope it’s going to go well for me.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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