Roger Federer: “Once he did have a letdown physically I was able to capitalize on that” - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “Once he did have a letdown physically I was able to capitalize on that”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 2nd of July. R. Federer d. S. Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. After the disappointments of last year, what does this year mean to you reaching yet another semifinal at Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, there was a lot on the line today playing against Stan, you know. Quarters sort of shows the direction on how you’re playing and all these things.

I’m really pleased to have come through. Like you said, last year was a major disappointment for me because I always see Wimbledon as one of my main goals of the season, side-by-side with rankings and some other highlights that I choose that there are for me.

I try to be in the best possible shape, so last year was rough. I was very disappointed. Went back to the practice courts. Didn’t have any options left at that point.

So I’m happy that one year later I’m back in the semis and with a chance to go further.

 

Q. You’re playing either Raonic or Kyrgios. Yesterday Kyrgios said you were his big idol, it would be a dream come true to meet you. Do you have a similar story when you met your big idol?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I did have that moment here on Centre Court in 2001 when I played Sampras. That was my big moment. It was my first time on Centre Court. It was my first and only time I ever played against Pete. Huge occasion. Five sets. Had it all, you know.

I’m happy we never played after that, you know, so that one remains the only one for me.

Clearly I’d like to play against him, too. He came to Switzerland to practice with me actually the week before Rome I think it was. We had a great time together. Had good intensity. I already thought he was playing unbelievably at the Australian Open.

It was nice to see how he works and how he plays in the practice. I think he’s going to rise up the rankings. It’s not hard to predict because he will during this tournament or afterwards. It would be cool playing here in the semis with the ranking he has. It’s an amazing story.

We like these kind of stories from time to time in the tennis world, a youngster coming through the rankings so quickly.

 

Q. Is it more difficult playing against a friend and a compatriot, or are you able to shut that out when you’re on court?

ROGER FEDERER: I was thinking about it midway through the match actually. I was like, Oh, I’m playing Stan kind of thing. It hit me midway through the second set.

So, yeah, I mean, it goes in phases. You need some energy to push yourself. You want to win the match. You don’t necessarily want to beat him, but you want to win the match. So that’s the odd part. It plays its role during the match.

I still felt I was able to focus well and play as good as Stan allowed me to play, because he was playing really well right out of the gates. He came out and was crushing the ball, forehand and backhand and even serve, so it was very difficult for me.

I’m happy that throughout the matches we’ve played against each other I didn’t have a huge problem playing against him, even though it is unusual playing a friend and unusual playing especially a compatriot.

 

Q. I think Novak was saying on TV the other day he asked you about being a father, becoming a father. Is that the case? What did you tell him?

ROGER FEDERER: I told him what he wanted to know. Just answered his questions.

 

Q. What did he ask you?

ROGER FEDERER: That’s a conversation between him and me.

No, he just asked me how life was on the road, how it is to be a dad. I think it’s what like every dad, soon to be dad goes through. You want to get some information, something you can wrap your mind around. I think he’s super excited. He’s very happy. I’m very happy for them.

So he’s going through that period, which is so cool. I think it’s some of the best moments now leading into it, and then right after where I am now. If he can ask anybody, it’s me clearly.

Yeah, I was happy to share my things with him that worked well and didn’t work well for me in the past.

 

Q. What do you make of the period we’re in right now where there are these young guys on the rise and the four of you who have dominated the majors for nine years still in a position for competing for those?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it’s exciting, you know, for the game to see new faces like Kyrgios, now Raonic or Nishikori, you name it. There’s been a few guys knocking on the door now. Still don’t have enough teenagers like I would hope we had.

It’s just hard breaking through. The points, you fetch them from semis on, not really quarters anymore like it used to be. So it’s hard I think for a youngster to win or be consistent over three, four, five matches in a row where the big points are.

But other than that, I think it’s good times in tennis right now. There’s a lot of excitement. Stadiums are always pretty much full on Centre Court, which is great. Seems a lot of press traveling the world to see what’s going on.

I’m really happy playing in this time really.

 

Q. Once you get to the semifinals do you relax a bit because it’s been such a big tournament, or do you step up the pressure because the matches get bigger?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it’s a different situation because I played back-to-back days. I’m really looking forward to a day off tomorrow. Good thing yesterday was that I finished early. Really I felt like it was half a day off afterwards.

Now it’s late. I don’t have much rest today other than sort of really treatment, get through the press, have dinner, and then go to bed really.

So tomorrow’s a big day for me where I can let it all sort of sink in a bit, you know, like what’s been going well for the last nine days or so and what do I need to do to get to the finals.

I can really prepare well. It’s a comfortable place to be. I must say, I know there’s pressure, but the confidence is there. You know there is a chance now to go a step further because you trust your game. That’s where I am right now. I’m really excited about the next couple days now.

 

Q. You move very well and you serve very well. In the end it was hard. Stan was really fighting for the last points. How is your confidence? In Monte Carlo he came back and won the match. Did that go through your mind because he was fighting so hard?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, in Monaco he got better as the match went on. Here he really came out of the blocks unbelievably strong. I think he had some physical issues at some point midway through the third maybe. It was more visible. He wasn’t like cranking his serve as much anymore, he wasn’t hitting as hard and moving as quick as he was in the first couple.

So from that standpoint I was able to take advantage of that, which is very important. Even though he did have breakpoints back at the end of the fourth, it was just still good to have that break lead. Even if he would have come back it would have been 5-All and still I didn’t have the back against the wall yet.

I mean, I was calm to a degree. I was nervous, too, that he would get back in the match. Then you don’t know if all of a sudden the adrenaline gets him back into the match entirely. But difficult have the upper hand for most of the match.

Once he did have a letdown physically I was able to capitalize on that, which was important today.

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‘He Did Everything I did, Only Better’ – Pat Rafter Names The Toughest Rival Of His Career

The two-time grand slam champion opens up about his toughest rivalry as he predicts a bleak outlook for the 2020 tennis season.

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Former world No.1 Pat Rafter has named an American tennis legend as the player who he struggled the most against throughout his professional career.

 

The 47-year-old was a star of Australian tennis during his playing days after achieving a series of milestones. His accolades include becoming the first player from his country in 28 years to reach the top of the ATP rankings in 1999 and becoming the first man to win the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati Masters and US Open within the same year. Rafter is also the last player outside of the Big Three to have won back-to-back US Open titles after triumphing in 1997 and 1998.

Despite his successes, there was one player that caused him difficulty. Rafter played Pete Sampras 16 times on the ATP Tour, but could only win four of those encounters. At one stage he lost to the 14-time grand slam champion eight times in a row.

“The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.” Rafter told Eurosport.
“His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it Sampras the stand-out. I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him.”

The rivalry between the two was tense at times. Highlighted best by their encounter in the 1998 US Open semifinals. Sampras complained of a quadriceps injury following his loss to the Australian. Prompting Rafter to famously say ‘he’s becoming a bit of a crybaby.’ A few months before that comment, he admitted that his relationship with the American wasn’t solid by saying ‘We’re not the best of mates. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, put it that way.’

22 years on from the verbal exchange between the two, Rafter now describes it as a thing of the past. Insisting that his rival never took what he said to him ‘personally.’

“I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.” He recounted.
“He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and don’t take it personally. It’s all good.”

No tennis in 2020

Besides reminiscing about his playing career with Eurosport, Rafter has also predicted a bleak outlook for this year’s tour. All professional tournaments have been suspended until July 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time since 1945 Wimbledon has been cancelled due to the situation.

Many are now speculating as to when it will be possible for the tour to resume. The US Open is still optimistic that they can hold their tournament as scheduled later this summer. Meanwhile, the French Open is set to be played during the later part of September. However, Rafter doubts that either of those tournaments will happen.

“No, I think this (the virus) is going to be around for a long time.” Rafter commented on the chances of the 2020 season resuming. “Until they get a vaccine I can’t see how anyone is going to be playing.’
“Personally, I think it’ll be like the flu and we’ll have to get used to it.”

Potentially one solution for the tournaments would be to host matches without spectators. In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. An approach that has already been taken by other sports such as football. However, Wimbledon refused to consider that option this year.

“I think they could. No spectators. Sure. No ball-boys – I’d love to see the players pick up the balls themselves!” he concluded.

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‘Don’t Be Afraid’ – Nick Kyrgios Offers Support To Those Struggling During Covid-19 Pandemic

The bad boy of tennis says he will support those in need by delivering essential supplies.

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Former top 20 player Nick Kyrgios has urged members of the public to reach out to him if they require any help during the covid-19 pandemic in a social media post.

 

The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist has offered to deliver food to those who are struggling during the current crises, which has suspended the ATP and WTA Tours until at least July. It is estimated by economists that more than 500,000 people in Kyrgios’ home country of Australia will lose their jobs due to the outbreak. There have been more than one million cases of the coronavirus worldwide with many countries currently placed in a lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

‘If ANYONE is not working/not getting an income and runs out of food, or times are just tough… please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach,’ Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
‘Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share whatever I have.
‘Even just for a box of noodles, a loaf of bread or some milk. I will drop it off at your doorstep, no questions asked.’

In Australia there have been 5687 cases of Coronavirus as of Sunday which has resulted in 34 deaths. This is according to figures provided by chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy.

It is not the first time Kyrgios has offered to support those in need. Earlier this year he was an instrumental figure in helping raising money for the Australian bushfire appeal. Donating AUS$200 for every ace produced during the first month of the season and participating in a series of exhibition matches. According to 7 News, Kyrgios raised in the region of AUS$100,000 for the bushfire fund.

Kyrgios is currently ranked 40th in the world and has won six out of his nine matches played earlier this season. At the Australian Open he reached the fourth round before falling in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

 

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Diego Schwartzman On Playing The Big Three And Who He Believes Is The Best

The top-20 player pays tribute to the three tennis legends as he cast his vote in the greatest of all time debate.

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When it comes to taking on the Big Three in tennis, Diego Schwartzman is perhaps one of the best players to provide an insight into how frustrating it can be.

 

The Argentine world No.13 has played a member of the illustrious trio no less than 18 times in his career, but is yet to gain a single victory to his name. Consisting of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the big three have dominated men’s tennis in recent years. Between them, they have won the last 13 grand slams and at least one of them has featured in 58 out of the past 60 major finals. Since February 2004, Andy Murray is the only player outside of the group to have held the No.1 position.

Schwzrtman’s record against the big guns has seen him lose to Nadal nine times as well as succumbing to both Djokovic and Federer on four occasions. Nevertheless, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist isn’t bitter as he hails their achievements in the sport.

“Against Nadal you always come in hope of giving him a fight on any day and on any surface, but you quickly realize that it is almost impossible to defeat him.” Schwartzman said during an Instagram live chat with journalist Danny Miche.
“Djokovic makes me feel that in the second game of service I no longer have lungs. It’s unbelievable.’
“Federer gives you more air (time), but you don’t seem to know how to play tennis. It’s amazing how he hits the ball.’
“The three are unbelievable, in different ways.”

There is also the ongoing debate as to who should be named the greatest of all time. Each player has their own credentials. Federer currently has the all-time lead for most grand slam titles at 20. Nadal has won more ATP tournaments on the clay than any other player in history. Meanwhile, current world No.1 Djokovic has won more prize money in the sport than any other player – male or female.

Weighing on the debate, Schwartzman has given the edge to Djokovic. Prior to the suspension of the tour due to covid-19, Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row. Claiming titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

“At his best, Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal many times on the clay and Roger Federer many times on the grass. So maybe I would say that he is slightly above the other two.” He explained.
“Let’s see if you can reach the records, now it was packed and saw that pace being broken. But Djokovic knows that he has to keep the level, because if he doesn’t win he will win the other two.”

Schwartzman started the year by winning nine out of 14 matches played. His best performance of the season so far took place on home territory when he reached the final of the Cordoba Open before losing to Christian Garin.

The Big Three head-to-head

Djokovic

Nadal

Federer

Djokovic

N/A

29-26

27-23

Nadal

26-29

N/A

24-16

Federer

23-27

16-26

N/A

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