Roger Federer: “Stefan is clearly a piece of the puzzle, so is my fitness coach, Severin, and everybody around me” - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “Stefan is clearly a piece of the puzzle, so is my fitness coach, Severin, and everybody around me”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 4th of July. R. Federer d. M. Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. You chose not to serve at the toss?

ROGER FEDERER: Why did I do that? Yeah, I think wind was coming from that end, so I felt like I’d rather start from that end even though then your first service game is always going to be against the wind.

That’s why I said my first service game was important against the wind to hold. It wasn’t like blowing like crazy, but sometimes that can make a minor difference, you know.

 

Q. You returned to the Wimbledon final again. I think this is a positive sign for working with Stefan Edberg. What do you think about that?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, it’s going really well. My game’s back where I hoped it would be, you know, from one year ago. Things were difficult all of last year, most of the year, so I’m happy I worked hard off the court, you know, to get myself back into shape and back into contention for tournaments.

This year’s been very solid. I’ve reached a lot of semis and finals. I also got two titles already. So I think that really gave me confidence to believe that I could go a step further.

Stefan is clearly a piece of the puzzle, so is my fitness coach, Severin, and everybody around me. They make it possible for me to wake up every morning motivated, healthy, fit, and eager to play.

It’s clearly also a team effort to a degree.

 

Q. All fortnight we’ve been talking about Wawrinka, Kyrgios, Dimitrov, and Raonic as being ready to step up and smash open the old guard. Does today show that you aren’t quite ready to let go yet?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know who said it. I didn’t read any press here really, to be quite honest.

It was always going to be hard to get rid of all four guys at the same time, let’s just be honest. It was probably going to inevitably going to be one guy around, maybe two. Really, there’s none, it’s a big shock. That was the case in Australia. There was one left in the final; here is again two; at the French it was two.

From that standpoint, I said it before the tournament, it’s probably going to be one of the guys we expect to be in the finals. Novak did his end; I was hoping I was going to be the other one. So I’m very happy with that.

But Milos and Grigor both have been around for a while. It’s not like they came about just this year. They’ve been on tour for five, six years now, so it’s not somebody entirely new.

But with Kyrgios, he’s a totally different situation. We hope we have more of the Kyrgios type, you know, the teenagers coming through.

But I am happy to see that Grigor, Milos, all those guys are knocking on the door now more consistently. Also Nishikori and other guys.

We’ll just see how the year plays out, if one of those guys or a few guys can make it to the World Tour Finals at the end of the year.

 

Q. You said this week you don’t have any confidence issues to deal with anymore. How are you feeling now that you’ve gone through your semifinal in straight sets?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, confidence is always a bit up and down, but it’s important to reach a certain level where you trust your game, you play and trust yourself in the big moments.

Then also physically, you know, you can do five sets, you can do seven times five sets. That’s what the mindset has to be before a Grand Slam. I felt this way before this tournament.

Especially now things get easier just because you know you have one match left. I have a lot of energy in the tank.

From that standpoint I clearly am very excited for the finals because that’s how you want to feel before a finals, totally energized and eager to play.

 

Q. How would you describe your history with Novak and the key aspects of your game and his when you play each other?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, we both like to be close to the baseline. We both like to take charge, especially on quicker courts. He has a wonderful way of either redirecting or taking the ball early, you know, taking pace from the opponent, even generating some of his own.

So I think that’s what makes him so hard to play. There’s not really a safe place you can, you know, play into. Like back in the day there was many guys where you just knew, Oh, this guy is a bit dodgy on the backhand. Let me play that and then build up the point from that.

Novak can hurt you down the line or cross court on both sides. He’s really improved now through the years. I’ve seen him come through the ranking. His forehand, his serve, his movement clearly is what stands out the most at this moment now. He’s really been able to improve that and make it rock solid.

I think for me it’s really important to stay aggressive against him. And especially here at Wimbledon it’s more simple how we need to play against each other. It’s not like on a slow court where you can maybe manoeuvre the other guy around so much.

I think on grass it’s a bit more straightforward and I think we’re both aware of that.

 

Q. If you had to summarize your history against each other in this long rivalry, how would you best describe it?

ROGER FEDERER: Athletic. It’s been good. I must say I’ve enjoyed the matches against him. We didn’t come through the rankings together, so I was established while he was coming up.

I think it was totally different for both of us. You know, we saw each other in a different light than we see each other today when we’re both ranked high, we both achieved a lot. Things have clearly changed over time.

But ever since he’s won Grand Slams and became world No. 1, it’s been a cool rivalry, in my opinion.

 

Q. All the other semifinalists seemed to have trouble with their footing today. You handled it quite well. Are you happy with the surface? Do you think it will be a factor in the final?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I was watching the match, too, a little bit. It was unbelievable how much they were sliding around. Anyway, some players. We look at these matches sometimes of Novak or Grigor and any surface they just keep sliding. We were watching going, I can’t almost watch this, because you’ve got to be very confident in the slide in what you do.

I think they are the most extreme guys, besides maybe Monfils, of doing that. I think that’s as extreme as it’s going to get, as well.

When I came on court I realize it is somewhat slippery but normal, nothing major. Because I also thought it looks crazy slippery, but it’s clearly not. It’s a normal worn out grass court like it’s always been in previous years here at Wimbledon.

 

Q. You mentioned the love of the game. The fun factor, how much does that come into play in what you do, how successful you are, especially at this stage of your career? How much fun are you having and are you able to have fun?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. Today I think I had to be very focused and concentrated, even after match point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m unbelievably thrilled to be in another final. I was very pleased the way I played today because it was always going to be a difficult match against Milos.

Yeah, the fun for me is being able to do it, at this age, with a family, with the team I have. We have a great relationship. I know so many people over time now on the tour, so it’s really something I really, really enjoy.

So the fun is not just after match point when you see somebody, it’s the entire package. I really enjoy it. For that matter, it makes everything so much more worth it.

 

Q. Among all your achievements, where would becoming the oldest male champion here in the Open era rank, were it to happen?

ROGER FEDERER: Is that a possibility?

 

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: Not so important (smiling).

I would know it if it would be really important to me, but it’s not.

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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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