Roger Federer: “This was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future” - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “This was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 6th of July. N. Djokovic d. R. Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4. An interview with Roger Federer

Q. I’d like to know what do you think about this match, if you think you played better than those two finals that you won versus Murray and versus Roddick? In my opinion, the level of the match today was probably better. I don’t know if you agree.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I cannot agree just because it’s totally different matchups, you know. With Roddick it was more of a serving contest; with Murray it went from outdoors to indoors, so much on the line, so much pressure. He’s a different player to Novak entirely that I can’t really compare.

I thought the match was a good one, you know. I thought it had everything for fans to like, I think. The swing of momentum in the first set, him coming back in the second, you know, staying even in the third, all the back and forth in the fourth set, and then the drama of the fifth.

From that standpoint, I thought it was an interesting match. The level I thought was good. I don’t feel I necessarily played my absolute very best because I couldn’t break for over three sets. For me that was disappointing.

But I thought Novak played well in those areas and on his serve and make sure that he didn’t have any letdowns there.

No, I thought it was a great match and I enjoyed to be a part of it.

 

Q. It was a high-quality match. Maybe men’s tennis is getting better and better. What do you think is the resemblance of those new guys coming compared to the four of you that have been there for so long?

ROGER FEDERER: The resemblance?

 

 

Q. Maybe I am saying the wrong word. How can you describe the up-and-coming guys compared to the four of you that are up there now?

ROGER FEDERER: We all made the breakthrough much earlier than most of the guys. Not just a match here or there. I mean, I can’t put myself in the league of Rafa because he was one of the best teenagers we ever had besides Bjorn Borg.

I wasn’t that guy. I was, I guess, better at 21, 22 or 20. That’s when I started to make my rise.

So there’s not that many young guys. There’s really only one teenager in the top 100 and we wish we had more. The other guys we’re talking about are all 22, 23 and have been already on tour for five years.

Nevertheless, it’s exciting. But you cannot compare them to Rafa, Novak, or Murray, who were incredibly good already at a young age.

 

Q. Can you describe what it’s like coming back from the almost dead a few times in this thing? What was going through your mind, the kind of fortitude you had to have to keep battling?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I just kept going, you know. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t breaking Novak’s serve or actually creating opportunities. You know, I think it’s one thing not to break. That can happen if the other guy plays well in the big moments and all that stuff.

But it was really not creating enough opportunities to put Novak under pressure, you know.

It’s really only until the fourth set when I was down a break that I started to understand more how to return him, which was a surprise for me because I’ve played him that many times.

I think, like I mentioned before, he was doing a good job on his serve, making a lot of high first-serve percentage, staying aggressive from the baseline, not making any easy errors, all that stuff.

I kept believing and kept, you know, and kept trying to play offensive tennis. I’m happy it paid off in some instances. As you can imagine, I’m very disappointed not being rewarded with victory.

But it was close, you know. Novak deserved it at the end clearly, but it was extremely close.

 

Q. What does go through your mind when you see Mirka and your family there? What was your switch in terms of returning Novak’s serve and putting pressure on him later in the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I just felt like I changed, you know, the way I approached the return, then also how I played the rallies from the baseline because I felt like there was opportunities and options for me to do different things.

You know, but for some reason it never ended up being 15-30, 30-All, putting Novak under pressure enough, so he could always free serve, free swing, and take chances on his second serve.

Yeah, so I felt like that was my biggest problem really overall. I think that’s where I lost the match. I served well myself throughout. I feel like if I would have returned better or would have understood it earlier or if he would have helped me out just a little bit things could have been quite different, you know, today.

But, like I said, credit to him for, you know, doing it also for as long as he did, until the fourth when things got a bit crazy, you know.

Like I said, it’s wonderful playing in front of not family because they weren’t there till the very end, but it’s nice sharing that moment with friends and family on such a big stage really.

 

Q. Rightly or wrongly, many tennis fans will be wondering whether that could be the last time they see you in a Wimbledon final. Do they have a point, or does a performance like that give you renewed belief in yourself as you go into the 30s?

ROGER FEDERER: You could have asked me exactly that question in 2003.

You don’t know. Totally the unknown. That’s the disappointment of an Olympic result, of a World Cup result, Wimbledon result, whatever it is. You’ve just got to wait and see.

There is no guarantee that you’re going to be ever there again or not. Or maybe there’s much more to come. It’s really impossible to answer that question.

I’m very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did the last two weeks. That clearly makes me believe that this was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future.

 

Q. How much did you feel like you had the momentum in the fifth set, and how big a moment do you think the breakpoint he saved was?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I thought it was an even match in the fifth. I didn’t feel like unbelievable momentum in the fifth. It was big, you know, to get it.

I think once he held once or twice I think that was important for him, but it also was important for me not to be broken, because that’s exactly when one of the players can have a letdown. I don’t think we both had that.

So it went, I don’t know, step for step for both of us. I do believe I had my chance there when I had breakpoint. Maybe if I make the pass and make him hit a dink volley, I mean, you know, I would have liked to see what would have happened.

But credit to him to hit the big first forehand, hit another big forehand, follow it to the net, and be brave on it. I tried the same, to come to net, when it really mattered. Unfortunately at the very end he got me.

It was a tough finish, but it was extremely close.

 

Q. What is the most positive thing that you bring back home after a final like this: The fact that you’re physically fit again, no problems with the back? You served fantastic?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, I think that’s it. To be able to play consistent great solid tennis with some really nice things to look back on, you know. Good emotions again, even though it was rough at the end clearly.

Very happy to see that I can do it week for week, match for match, you know, point for point. It’s all right there.

It’s been a very positive last couple of weeks for me when I won Halle as well. I’m looking very much toward a vacation and working out hard again to get myself in shape for the American summer.

 

Q. You have a positive attitude in the match. You did lose, but you lost on your own terms in a way because you kept coming in and you tried to create opportunities. Do you feel like that?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I did feel that way. You know, I mean, I think Novak tried as much as he could to play offensive, as well. I don’t think he can play much more offensive than he did, and still I felt like he was on the edge of things, as well.

So from that standpoint I’m very pleased with the way things went throughout the match, you know. So I thought it was a high-quality match and it was good stuff from both players out there. I think clearly we both walk away happy from here. I mean, him more happy than I am.

But still, I’m happy overall.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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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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