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.

ATP

REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

UPDATE*

Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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