US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “I believe in rest in a huge way. Whenever I get a chance to rest, I do”
TENNIS US OPEN 2014 – 24th of August 2014. An interview with Roger Federer.
Q. What is it about Stefan that made him your idol when you were younger? Was that at all intimidating when he first became your coach?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it was really Boris and Stefan. Boris a little bit first, and then little while later Stefan became my idol. I don’t know how it happened. I had friends around me that said, Edberg plays so nice and started all these things. I started to watch him closely, and, you know, I liked the way he played and the way he behaved on court. I also had a one-handed backhand by then so I could really, I guess, relate to some degree. Yeah, that’s why, I guess. And then, I mean, yeah, I think with idols or heros, it’s always intimidating sort of forever to either just like speak to them or see them or spend time with them, because it’s just not something you ever thought was going to happen. So when I called him, I expected, you know, a negative answer clearly. He doesn’t need to do this in any way. So, you know, I’m thrilled that he took the opportunity, I guess. He sees it as a really big opportunity to help me and get me to winning ways. It’s going really well. I’m really pleased how we’re able to manage everything, because he hasn’t followed the game very closely the last 15 years, but he has a lot of experience as a player. And, you know, with the information that I have, Severin, my coach has, I think we really make a great team. He really enjoys himself on the tour now.
Q. Did you personally make the call to him?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, of course.
Q. You played two great tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, but you played mainly at night. Then it seemed to me the finals in Toronto you played daytime. Does it matter to you that you probably will play here night sessions as well and then come the semifinals or finals hopefully you have to play in the daytime?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I hope I have that problem. It’s perfect that we’re talking semis and finals already. It wasn’t like that last year. No, I’m happy that I did play some night and some day in the last two weeks, because especially in the European circuit, you know, whether it be clay or grass, you don’t usually play much at night. Or hardly. So next thing you know, it’s like you’re going through a stretch where you never play or practice really at night. It’s all day. So it was good for me to get through some night sessions in Toronto. The switch was tough for the finals because I finished sometimes really late. So from that standpoint it wasn’t ideal. But I’m happy how I was able to back it up physically and mentally. The following week in Cincinnati it was tough. I played a lot of tough three-setters, long matches, late matches. Now I feel like whatever. If it’s day or night, you have to be able to manage both anyways, so I’m ready for both. Clearly always like playing night sessions here, but then again, as long as I keep winning, it doesn’t really matter.
Q. Considering all the great battles you have had over the years with the top 5 players, are you at all disappointed when a top 5 player is not in the mix like, Nadal this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I’m more disappointed for the fans, his fans, and the tournament, you know, who puts up a great event. It’s not necessarily dependent of an event like this, on the one player, but it’s more exciting with him. For us, the players, I mean, we hope he gets well and he feels better quickly and all these things and he’s back on tour soon. But at the same time, I think what stands out is the opportunity, you know, to try to take advantage of him, the fact that he’s not here. It’s one less really difficult player to beat maybe. I mean, maybe he was not going to be in my section. Maybe I wouldn’t have played him at all, like I have never played him here in the last ten years anyways. I mean, it’s just that the focus is more on you or other players rather than him. Yeah, we, the players, don’t wish injuries to anyone, you know. So you just hope he recovers quickly.
Q. You have had a pretty much injury-free career. Not the same for Rafa Nadal. Do you see any reason why he has so many injuries in his year?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I can’t talk for him. I don’t know what he really does in terms of his fitness, in terms of his training when he’s home in Mallorca, how much he trains, how little he trains. It’s all, I’d say 50%, you know, next to the schedule what you play and how you play. So I feel like I have managed my career well in the sense that I believe in rest in a huge way. Whenever I get a chance to rest, I do. Whenever I can go on vacation, I do. I don’t want to keep on playing all the time and feel like I’m always doing something, because I think the body and mind, they need time to heal. Especially if you have inflammations and so forth. I’d rather skip a tournament here and there rather than missing three or six months, which has never happened to me. That served me well. So I can’t really comment on what Rafa did or is doing. I mean, everybody does it very differently. But clearly playing styles I’m sure has somewhat of an impact, I would think.
Q. You have played your way through a lot of life changes that you’ve gone through. Novak is going through that right now. What would you say to him as he embarks on marriage and parenthood and tries to play his way through it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, what…
Q. What advice would you…
ROGER FEDERER: Advice is different than just saying something. I mean, I would wish him well. That’s it (laughter). Now you want advice, then it’s totally different. Then we can go into this like endless talk of how I did it, which worked and which didn’t work. I have spoken to him a little bit in the past. It’s normal I think when you’re entering the whole family thing that many people you talk to, all you talk about is babies and how to prepare for it mentally. I think it’s a very exciting time. So I think he must be quite excited about what’s going to happen soon. And with the wedding and everything, I’m sure he’s, you know, going through a great spell at the moment with winning Wimbledon, top of it, so things are great for him. But I think he’s got to figure it out himself really, because I don’t know his wife very well. I don’t know where he lives exactly. So I think that all has an impact. Are they going to travel or not. But the good thing, he sees with me with four, so with one it should be a piece of cake (laughter). Honestly I wish him the best. I think it’s wonderful he chose to create a family, and, you know, have kids with his wife.
Q. You travel on tour throughout the year with your wife and kids. For a lot of the lower-ranked players who can’t afford to do this, they’re away from their wives, families, 30 weeks out of the year. Have you ever thought about what your life on tour would be like if you had to travel alone?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, maybe I wouldn’t have had kids then until I would have retired. So it’s basically that. Then you go down a different route. You say, Okay, I’ll wait. As long as the wife is happy it to wait, too. And if not, then you know going into having kids that you’re not going to be around them so much. So it’s just another different mindset. Now I can imagine traveling sometimes alone without family and my wife, but I know it doesn’t make me very happy. I know it doesn’t make them very happy. That’s why we try to stick together and do it all at the same time. It’s great fun. I’m very happy I got this privilege to do it, because I know, like you say, not everybody can do it. So from that standpoint, I think it definitely has prolonged my playing career. No doubt about it.
Casper Ruud Topples Rune To Reach French Open Semis
Casper Ruud came out on top in his all-Scandinavian clash with Holger Rune to seal his place in the semi-finals of the French Open.
Ruud, who is seeded fourth in the draw, battled to a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, win over his Danish opponent in what was a topsy-turvy encounter on the Philippe Chatrier Court. It is the second year in a row that the Norwegian has defeated Rune in the last eight of Roland Garros and he now leads their head-to-head 6-1. He is through to the last four of a major for only the third time in his career.
“I’m very relieved. I came into this match trying to not play with pressure but it is not easy when you’re playing a big match against Holger who is never easy,” Rune said during his post-match interview. “He is very aggressive. Luckily for me the first two sets he wasn’t feeling it too well. He made a lot of errors and I got a lot of points for free.’
“That helped settle my nerves but he fought back in the third set. In the fourth set, I was lucky to keep that break.”
The highly anticipated nighttime clash began in one-way fashion with Ruud claiming 12 out of the first 15 games with relative ease as an erratic Rune struggled to find his game on the court, hitting a total of 40 unforced errors during the first two sets.
It wasn’t until the third frame that Ruud finally faced some resistance on the court as his opponent orchestrated the crowd to get behind him. Prompting the 20-year-old to hit a series of impressive shots to revive his hopes.
However, Rune’s comeback was short-lived as Ruud broke once more midway through the fourth set as he moved to a game away from victory. He earned his first match point at 5-2 following a double fault from his rival but failed to convert. Two more opportunities then came and went for Ruud before he managed to serve the match out in the following game.
“I think I did well,” he replied when asked about how he handled his nerves. “I kind of looked at it (the match) as if he was the favourite. He won the last time we played and he has had a better year than me so far.’
“He was hoping to get into his first (Grand Slam) semi-final and I was hungry to get into another semi-final. Luckily it worked out well for me.”
Awaiting the 24-year-old in the semi-finals on Friday will be Alexander Zverev who defeated Tomás Martín Etcheverry in four sets. He trails their head-to-head 1-2 but they have never faced each other on clay.
“Ruud has been there before. He was in the final here last year, so he knows exactly what it means and what it takes,” Zverev told reporters.
Ruud is now 16-5 this season when it comes to playing matches on the clay. Since the start of 2020, he has registered 86 wins on the surface which is more than any other player on the ATP Tour.
Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Plays Coco Gauff in a Rematch of Last Year’s Final
The quarterfinals conclude on Wednesday in Paris.
A year ago in the women’s singles championship match, Iga Swiatek defeated Coco Gauff 6-1, 6-3 to win her second Roland Garros title. Swiatek leads their head-to-head 6-0, having claimed all 12 sets they’ve contested. Can Coco provide any real resistance on Wednesday?
In the other WTA quarterfinal, Ons Jabeur and Beatriz Haddad Maia vie to reach their first French Open semifinal.
On the men’s side, we have another prominent rematch from last year’s tournament. A year ago in this same round, Casper Ruud eliminated Holger Rune in a contentious Scandinavian battle. Yet in 2023, Rune has been the better player. Who will prevail this time around?
And one year after the serious ankle injury Sascha Zverev suffered in the semifinals of this event, he looks to return to that round, and faces a surprising quarterfinalist in Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) vs. Ons Jabeur (7) – 11:00am on Court Philippe Chatrier
Jabeur is only 15-6 on the year, after missing time this season due to multiple leg injuries. But she has rounded into strong form at a good time, dropping only one set to this stage. This is the farthest Ons has ever advanced in Paris, as she plays for her third Major semifinal, all within the past year.
Haddad Maia had never previously advanced beyond the second round of a Slam, with an 0-7 record in that round. Yet here she is in her first Major quarterfinal, on the surface where the least amount of previous success had come. Beatriz has survived three consecutive three-setters, including an over three-and-half-hour one in the last round against Sara Sorribes Tormo.
These players met just two months ago in the same round on the same surface, with Jabeur easily prevailing 6-3, 6-0 in Stuttgart. Ons will surely be the fresher player, and has an obviously huge edge in experience. I like Jabeur’s chances of achieving her first Roland Garros semifinal.
Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Not Before 12:30pm on Court Philippe Chatrier
In their 12 aforementioned previous sets, most have not even been close. Only one, their very first, has gone to a tiebreak, and Gauff has averaged just 2.4 games per set.
Coco is also yet to play her best this year. While her record of 23-8 is far from embarrassing, she had not reached a quarterfinal in three months before this fortnight. She continues to tinker with her forehand and serve, and has made recent changes to her coaching team.
Swiatek is 32-6 this season, and has lost only nine games through four rounds, though she did receive an unfortunate retirement in the last round from an ill Lesia Tsurenko. So while Gauff always remains a threat, a Coco upset on Wednesday would be a bit of a shock.
Sascha Zverev (22) vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe Chatrier
Zverev arrived in Paris with little form, and even admitted to feeling emotional returning to the scene where such a devastating injury happened a year ago. But he has played excellently through four rounds, dropping just one set against his only opponent seeded higher than him (Tiafoe). Sascha is playing for his third straight semifinal in Paris.
Before this year, Etcheverry had never won a match at a Major, and only owned four career victories at ATP level. But the 23-year-old has won 19 tour-level matches this season, and reached two clay court finals (Santiago, Houston). Tomas Martin is yet to drop a set this tournament, defeating three seeded players (de Minaur, Coric, Nishioka).
But in their first career meeting, Zverev is a huge favorite. His power and experience should allow him to comfortably dictate matters on Wednesday.
Holger Rune (6) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier
Ruud got off to a modest start in 2023 after achieving his first two Major finals in 2022, and accumulating 51 match wins. But he’s now 15-5 on clay this season, and took three tight sets from Nicolas Jarry in a straight-set fourth round match that lasted nearly four hours. Casper is 2-0 in his previous Slam quarterfinals.
Rune has been on a tear since last fall, reaching seven ATP finals, and winning three of them. That includes three clay finals within the last two months (Monte Carlo, Munich, Rome). He survived a grueling round of 16 contest against Francisco Cerundolo, decided by a fifth-set tiebreak. This is Holger’s second Slam quarterfinal, after losing in four sets here a year ago to this same opponent.
These two men exchanged words both at the net and in the locker room after that quarterfinal. Casper, like many players, has voiced how immature he finds Holger’s on-court behavior to be. Ruud won their first four meetings, but just two weeks ago in the semifinals of Rome, Rune came from behind to win in three. All five of those matches took place on clay.
Holger appeared physically fatigued during much of his match on Monday against Cerundolo. The outcome on Wednesday may heavily depend on his physical condition. But if he’s feeling close to 100%, I give Rune the slight edge to achieve his first Major semifinal.
Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.
Argentina’s Tomas Etcheverry Pays Tribute To Sister After Milestone French Open Win
Moments after booking his place in the quarter-finals of the French Open for the first time, Tomas Etcheverry paid tribute to his sister who passed away last year.
The world No.49 overcame a tough opening set before storming past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6(8), 6-0, 6-1, on Monday night. His win continues what has been a fairytale run for the 23-year-old who is yet to drop a set in Paris. Prior to the tournament, he had only ever won one main draw match at a Grand Slam in his career.
Speaking to ESPN after his victory, Etcheverry mentioned his sister Magui who died in 2022 at the age of 32 following a two-year battle with breast cancer. She had two children called Galo and Juana.
“The truth is that lately I’ve been asking my sister for strength a lot… Today, before a serve, I asked her: ‘Magui, please help me’. And she helped me. I hit an ace,” Etcheverry said.
Etcheverry has already shown his credentials on the clay this season by reaching the final of ATP tournaments in Houston and Santiago. However, he has at times struggled for consistency. Coming into this year’s French Open, he had failed to win back-to-back matches at four consecutive tournaments before reaching the final of a Challenger event in Bordeaux.
Besides Nishioka, the Argentine has also recorded convincing wins over Alex de Minaur and Borna Coric at the French Open. Making it the first time in his career that he has defeated players currently ranked in the world’s top 20. His next opponent will be Alexander Zverev who he has never played before on the Tour.
“In the next round it’s going to be tough,” Etcheverry said in his press conference. “Sascha Zverev, I think he has a lot more experience than me, but I feel really good to play against him.’
“I am playing incredible tennis this week, and just I have to focus on my game and try to do the same.”
Should Etcheverry upset Zverev, he will become the first Argentine to reach the last four at Roland Garros since Diego Schwartzman in 2020.
Casper Ruud Topples Rune To Reach French Open Semis
Alexander Zverev Reaches French Open Semis 12 Months After Horrific Injury
Ons Jabeur Admits Rushing Back From Injury After Roland Garros Exit
Iga Swiatek Downs Gauff To Set Haddad Maia Semi-Final At Roland Garros
Beatriz Haddad Maia Produces Stunning Comeback Over Jabeur To Reach Roland Garros Semi-Finals
France’s Hugo Gaston Hit With Huge Fine For Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Novak Djokovic Denies Being Roland Garros Favourite, Praises Alcaraz
(EXCLUSIVE) Ukrainian Journalist Reacts To Controversial Booing Of Marta Kostyuk At French Open
Holger Rune Says Djokovic Still The Man To Beat At French Open
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