TENNIS ATP CINCINNATI – 16th of August 2014. R. Federer d. M. Raonic 6-2, 6-3. An interview with Roger Federer
Q. How tough was it to get ready? Looked like the match may be over a solid hour and a half before it ended. How tough was it to follow that, especially when you’re not expecting that?
ROGER FEDERER: You know, at 6 2, 4 Love, we still said, This can still turn, and it did.
What do you do? You kind of wait around. You hop around. We’re used to it. Rain delays and all that. That’s what tennis players are ready for.
For other sports who know exactly on that day, that hour it all happens with no interruption, it’s different. You really gear into that.
But as a tennis player you know that these things can happen. Obviously worse case scenario would’ve been if things had gone longer and rain came and because of that we couldn’t have finished. That wouldn’t be good for anybody, but that’s also what happens and you’ve got to deal with it.
Milos and me were both hanging around in the gym just hanging around really. Keep yourself active I guess I would say, because you never know if in the beginning of the third if somebody retires as well. You’re on the standby.
Q. Were you watching or just keeping a sense of what the score was?
ROGER FEDERER: No, it was on. We have like ten TVs at the gym and they were all running. There is no escaping that match, you know. (Smiling.)
Q. What do you feel like was the biggest difference tonight for you to get the win?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think the start was big again. Like at Wimbledon I got off a flier and sort of never looked back.
I think I returned well in patches. I would return really well one game and not for three games and then return well again.
I feel like because of that it matched up really well with how he was serving. I think because of maybe the problems I’ve caused him in the past he was pushing a bit too much on the serve or felt like he had to do something special.
That’s exactly what you want your opponent to feel. I was playing my pace. I was calm. I knew what I wanted to do, and when I did it, it worked well.
I think he had chances in the second set. It was close, and he was returning better and just getting into those rallies he was looking for. So I think it was crucial, that break I did get at 4 3 when he saved a couple.
So that was big, because otherwise maybe I am stuck in a breaker and then you never know.
Q. This is your second Masters 1000 final in a row. Just want to get your thoughts. Last week it was you and a bunch of guys, and this week it’s you and a bunch of different guys. Andy, Novak, and Rafa are sort of not currently that stage. Do you have any thoughts on do you miss them? Do you think about it at all? Or you just doing your thing?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, clearly I think we’re all interested to see what the decision is going to be about Rafa for the Open. I think that would be a bit of a letdown for the Open, for the tournament. The tournament is big in itself. It can cope with those kind of things, but clearly be more exciting having him around.
Novak clearly was surprising to see his losses.
I think Murray is getting back to where he wants to be.
Then there is always a bunch of good guys right behind them. Ferrer this week, Tsonga last week. Somebody inevitably has to win the tournament and somebody is going to have a run. That’s the beauty of it really. Never a dull moment in tennis.
The rankings keep changing and you got to keep defending your points. Rafa is losing a bunch of points now just by not playing. It’s a brutal ranking system, but it creates lot have entertainment and also news I think at the same time. So I think it’s really good.
But clearly the focus is more just trying to manage a tough schedule. I’ve played an a lot of tennis the last couple of weeks now. Got to be like ten matches in thirteen days or something with a day of travel. So it’s a lot and there is a lot on the line.
You can pick up a lot of points and win titles. That’s what I play for now. I really want to win the one tomorrow, so clearly the focus has been more on me making the transition from grass to the hard courts and then managing fatigue.
In the beginning I had a lot of muscle pain in Toronto last week from playing tough matches on the hard courts again. My body felt that.
Now I feel better than I have in ten days. That’s really encouraging, even though I played a lot of tennis now. Really hope I got one more good match here tomorrow and then I can rest next week.
Q. Does it feel like it’s been two years since you won a Masters title?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, because last year was a bit of a lost year, I guess. I don’t know if I was even in the finals of one. Maybe in Rome against Rafa. Maybe. I don’t remember. Then I came close in Paris and all that.
But, yeah, so, I mean, the problem last year was like just at one point I did get injured in the first Masters 1000. I did play Indian Wells where I might have had chances. I had Rafa in my quarter. That was always going to be tough.
That’s when things started to unravel for me. The thing is I was missing 10% or more, and knew it I was going to struggle against the best. If you struggle against the best you’re not going to win Masters 1000s, because those are the guys you’ll run into from quarters on. That’s why it was no surprise I didn’t win one last year.
Q. Would it be a significant milestone, sort of coming full circle to last year’s injury to lift one of these?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I love Cincinnati. It’s been my most successful Masters 1000, I guess. It would be great winning one more. Plus, I think I’ve lost three this year already, so it’s about time I win this one right now.
Denis Shapovalov Handles Opelka To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round
The Canadian managed to get past his 6ft 11 American opponent in a match that lasted over three hours.
Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 23rd seed Reilly Opelka 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Margeret Court Arena.
The Canadian hit 39 winners and served 10 aces while limiting Opelka to just 17 aces. In contrast the American finished the match with a costly 46 unforced errors as Shapovalov booked his spot in the second week of the tournament.
” I think I did a really good job against Reilly (Opelka) today and I took a lot of my chances and managed to get a read on his serve,” said the world No.14.
Both players were doing a good job early on when it came to holding serve and at 3-3 it was the Toronto native who had three chances to break. On his third opportunity broke serve with his trademark backhand winner.
However, that break didn’t last long for Shapovalov as he struggled to consolidate the break and ultimately gave the break right back with a poor service game and it was back on serve at 4-4.
The first was decided by a tiebreaker and Shapovalov got the crucial break to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker which was enough for him to take the first set.
The second frame was much like the first with both players holding serve until 3-3 when Opelka broke serve. He was able to consolidate and serve out the set to level the match.
The third set stayed on serve until 3-2 and the momentum swung back in the Canadians favor. He got the break of serve this time using his forehand to great effect and served out the third to take a two sets to one lead.
Just like the third set the fourth set had no breaks until 3-2 when again the number 14 seed broke Opelka serve again and that break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match and the win.
After the match in his post-match interview, he was asked how he was able to limit his opponent to just 17 aces in the match.
” It’s never easy against Reilly (Opelka) but I am happy I was able to pull through and make it to the next round”. He said.
Shapovalov will face the number three seed Alexander Zverev in the round of 16.
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.
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.
‘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.
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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