ATP Toronto – Roger Federer: “I feel like I don't really have to prove anything to anybody” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Toronto – Roger Federer: “I feel like I don't really have to prove anything to anybody”

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TENNIS ATP TORONTO – 3rd of August 2014. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. Canadians have really upped their game in the last couple of years, especially a lot of us cheering on our hometown favorite, Milos Raonic. Your thoughts on this bright young star.

ROGER FEDERER: No, like you said, I think he’s really made a name for himself in the last few years now. I don’t remember when I saw him the first time, but I have played him for a few years now and seen him around, so he’s really made sort of his move now in the rankings in the last year or so, getting into the top 10, making the semis of a slam, you know, winning tournaments, playing more solid week by week.

I think that’s what you’ve got to do if you want to compete with the best and give yourself opportunities.

I think with his game, he’s always going to be dangerous for the top guys. I think that’s going to be a good thing to have if I was him, and now it’s just important to be consistent, be healthy, but also obviously try to win tournaments. I think that’s really what it’s about for him now.

 

Q. You mentioned consistency. Many commentators, pundits, critics, and even other players have labeled you as one of the greatest players of all time. Does that label add more pressure to your game to maintain your consistency as one of the greats?

ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I see it more laid back today than I ever have just because I    well, I don’t have to defend like 12 tournaments a year. I only won one last year, so from that standpoint I feel like you make points every week. I feel like I don’t really have to prove anything to anybody even though people are always going to disagree with that.

For me it’s about how do I feel in practice, how is my motivation, how am I actually really playing, how do I feel it rather than how is everybody else thinking they see and know it? I can analyze it much more clearer today than I ever have. From that standpoint, I’m not in a hectic place.

You know, when I was younger I felt much more pressure. I felt like I had to do what people said and I would listen to everything.

Today I kind of go my pace and I really enjoy it in the process, and I love coming back to a place like Toronto and I see the positive sides of things today.

 

Q. Novak Djokovic said the other day that from maybe six, seven, eight years ago to now there are more players who can win tournaments, more players who can go far in tournaments. How do you feel kind of about how tennis has changed over the past maybe decade or so in terms of more players being in the running to win these kind of tournaments?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it’s a very broad quote. Yeah, I mean, in some ways I agree with him and in some ways I don’t agree with him, because I came about when there were a lot of different world No. 1s, a lot of different Grand Slam champions. Back at the end of the 90s, beginning of the 2000s, it was changes every other week. And we haven’t seen that many different world No. 1s in the last eight years, so that’s where I don’t quite agree with him. It’s pretty much the same guys always winning the slams and the Masters 1000s and at the top of the rankings.

I agree that there are more guys coming from the back now again. Del Potro has had wrist surgery, Murray has had back surgery, I have had some issues. So clearly that opened things up a bit. And then with Wawrinka winning the Australian Open really gave belief to other guys. But belief is not enough. You have to pull through. That’s what I mentioned with the other guys now. It’s nice talking about it, but at the end they’ve got to do it.

Still kind of waiting for that a little bit, even though I think it’s a very interesting time in the game right now, and I think the second half of the season is going to be super interesting.

 

Q. You talked earlier about competitive balance and how that’s been fairly consistent. What has changed the most in the men’s tennis game over the course of your career?

ROGER FEDERER: I think a lot has changed with string technology probably, racquet technology, as well, to a degree, I think, even though the change was probably bigger from the ’90s to 2000s with racquets, but then strings was the big game changer at the beginning of 2000.

Then the game has slowed down a little bit in terms of court speed, because I think some tournament directors were probably sick and tired of just the big serving matches where there was just no rallies whatsoever, and they have gotten very physical and athletic from the back of the court and in the process we lost a lot of volley players.

I think also coaches overall everywhere around the world have, you know, made sure that their players are very good just forehand and backhand players and good servers but neglected probably a little bit the volley play, even though I do believe there is a place for it, but it became harder and harder and everybody who had success was a baseline player.

Clearly then you inspired the next generation by doing that, and I think now we’re at a crossroads a little bit where things are speeding up. Toronto is much faster than it used to be four years ago, in my opinion, and that’s nice to see that there is some change in it where the attacking style is going to pay off more, especially, you know, taking chances, moving forward.

And then what do we have? We had social media come in in a big way the last six years. I don’t know if it’s had an impact on players’ playing style, but I think it had a big impact on everybody’s life in some ways.

 

Q. With so many family commitments now, I’m sure you will be forgiven for doing less of this PR type of stuff. Do you ever regret how accessible you’ve been to fans and the media over the years and wish you could cut back a bit now?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not at all. I feel like I’m happy I did everything that I did, you know, with promoting the game and doing press conferences in three different languages and the same thing for radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, you name it.

I think it was only the right thing to do. Do I think it’s sometimes a bit excessive? Yes, no doubt. I don’t understand the reason to do maybe a press conference after a 6 2, 6 2 win, but that’s the rules of the game and I will be part of that. That’s fine, you know.

And today I’m in a place where I feel like less is more, because people already know a lot about me. I think the stage is also for other players to make a name for themselves and either do more media, do more promo, but of course if I can be helpful in ticket sales and make sure that, you know, Toronto gets even bigger on the map than it already is, I’m very happy to do that, clearly.

So I must say I’m still doing lots but it just might not look that way.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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