Roger Federer: “I wish I could have played a bit more freely today overall. But then again, I think it was a solid match” - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “I wish I could have played a bit more freely today overall. But then again, I think it was a solid match”

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TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 28th of May 2014. R. Federer d. D. Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. How are your impressions making a first time slammer like Diego playing on a big court and like in front of an idol like you? How do you feel about that, please?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it was kind of tough all the way through, for me, anyway. I didn’t feel relaxed for the entire match.

You know, I’ve always felt he had a little bit of an upper hand from the baseline. I feel he was doing a really good job being aggressive and making good plays. Clearly because of his height he doesn’t have the biggest serve, and that kept me sometimes in two minds. But I think he handled the conditions really well.

I can see why he’s ranked where he is and why he probably is going to move up in the rankings. He’s very steady, very fast. He’s got some good qualities, you know. It’s just a matter for him to be really fit and continue what he’s doing, you know, working hard.

I’m sure like a match like this or tournament like this where he was able to win four matches is going to give him a lot of new information he didn’t have before.

 

Q. I just want to ask you in terms of your forehand going off sometimes in terms of timing, how much do you think the game needs to get better for you this week and next so you can be content?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, today was special in its own way because I got into every return game because of his serve. So clearly we are going to have many more unforced errors than forced errors.

It’s always going to happen when you play big serving guys who push you and take chances, you cannot make unforced errors because they are trying to hit a winner.

So from that standpoint, the statistics today for me is totally secondary. It’s just really important to moving along in the draw. My next round opponent plays entirely different to Schwartzman today.

Yeah, I wish I could have played a bit more freely today overall. But then again, I think it was a solid match. I served well. That’s always the key to stay solid in your own service games.

I will see how the next match is going to be. It depends on weather, on wind, all that stuff, how free you can actually really play.

 

Q. Kim Clijsters just sent out a tweet with one of your comments that you made, which was: Sometimes it’s okay just to be happy to be playing, that it’s okay just to enjoy the game. You don’t always need to be a success. Some people don’t get that. Could you just talk about that comment and sort of the balance between tennis as a job, your profession, and the joy of the game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I have a hard time understanding it, as well. I don’t know what I was trying to say back then.

Anyway, I mean, I think sometimes in the media or people think it’s only fun when you win and when you lose, clearly it’s a disaster, it’s all really bad. Yeah, it’s disappointing, and it’s not great fun. But at the same time, you can also enjoy a tournament, enjoy a city, enjoy life, you know, as you move along with your career.

I think that’s what I mean, that sometimes things are totally just based on unforced errors or on the little things in life and if you have the big picture in mind, then you realize that missing a few too many forehands has zero impact on how I will actually sleep tonight.

 

Q. How do you feel physically after the first two rounds? Next is going to be Dmitry Tursunov, as you said, he’s a different player. Do you feel good versus last year when it was difficult with your back?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don’t even think about this. I feel good. I mean, physically I’m fit and the two first rounds were really okay. I didn’t lose any of my energy. I had two days off, so I’m really relaxed as far as this is concerned.

Tursunov is a different player all together versus Schwartzman today. He tried more with his serve, but also with the forehand. And also I played against him at Indian Wells. It was 7 6, 7 6, that’s how I defeated him. It was a tough match.

But at least I know Dmitry, I didn’t know Schwartzman at all. I didn’t know if he was a great player, average, or not really good.

That’s why there was pressure on me throughout the match today probably.

 

Q. Roger, Wawrinka, after being defeated, after the first round, said that it’s difficult for him to manage the pressure due to the title in Australia. He said that’s the difference between him and Djokovic, Nadal, or you, because you can do this. Maybe we don’t realize this all the time, but you can take the pressure and you know you’ve got to win and you manage to win tournament after tournament. Do you understand his position today, that is, it’s difficult I think for him to take this title he won?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, for me, you know, it’s totally normal. I have never really understood how Rafa, Novak, and myself, we can play at such a level all the time, being consistent. You know, for me, that was a shock to see all of us so consistent like this, steady if I can say.

Of course, people are used to this, and it doesn’t happen. But for me it’s normal. It might happen to the best players.

You know, with Stan, I understand here, I understand where he is, because I was in such a position at a moment in my career, and it’s not even the pressure itself. You know, I think it’s how you look at yourself and at your game.

Without changing everything, you know, this is what he’s got to work on and solve this, fix this. Little by little. It will not happen overnight. But with Australia, with Monaco, it’s in his pocket already. Nobody can take this from him. It will give him time, time to work on this. I trust that he will find the right solutions in the months to come.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.

 

The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open

Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.

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World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.

 

The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.

Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.

“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.

A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.

O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.

“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”

Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.

“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”

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French Player Tests Positive For COVID-19 Hours After Australian Open Defeat

The world No.40 was preparing to leave the country.

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Image via https://twitter.com/HumbertUgo/

Ugo Humbert is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 following his first round loss at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

 

Humbert, who was the 29th seed in the men’s draw, is understood to have produced a positive result during a routine procedure players have to conduct before they leave the country. It is unclear as to if he is currently suffering from any symptoms.

Humbert crashed out of the tournament to compatriot Richard Gasquet, who won their match 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6 (3), 6-3, in three hours and 18 minutes. Gasquet also tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia earlier this month but was given the all clear to play at Melbourne Park following a negative test. There was a 15-day period between the 35-year-old announcing on Twitter he had the virus and his first match against Humbert.

“I was tested positive on my exit test yesterday and I’ll stay one more week in isolation in Australia,” Humbert wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks for your support and see you soon.”

The 23-year-old has started his season by winning one out of four matches played. Prior to the Australian Open, he scored one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup in the group stages. However, following that victory he suffered losses to Alex de Minaur and Matteo Berrettini.

Tennis Australia is yet to comment on Humbert’s positive test.

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