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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‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.

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One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.

 

Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 

 

The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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