US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision” - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision”

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TENNIS US OPEN – 31st of August 2014. R. Federer d. M. Granollers 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. With the stoppage for the weather, did the conditions changing help you that much, or did you just have enough time to reset yourself?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I definitely I guess played better after that. But then again, the first seven games all happened very quickly. I think the biggest difference was the wind. It was quite windy when we got out. When we came back, basically it was gone. It also felt quite different because the wind has that effect of air-conditioning a little bit for the players; whereas when it’s not windy you really feel the humidity and the heat. So I think that was a big change. The court might have played a little bit slower because of it cooling off from the rain. And for me personally, I just tried to play solid, you know, figure things out a little bit, because he did come out and play really aggressive. He served well. He was doing a lot of things really well. It was just, for me, going to be one of those things to like weather the storm and see if he could maintain that level of play or not and if I could lift my game up and see how that matched up. I think overall it worked out great at the end.

Q. When is the last time you played in a stadium that empty?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I don’t remember. Could have been like not long ago, but I don’t know. At that point you’re not really concerned if there’s five people in the stadium or 20,000. Really it’s about getting back into the match. I thought it all worked out well at the end for fans, TV, us as well. It was a bit different feeling, but it was nice the way it filled up quickly. It was natural. There wasn’t ever any interruption. I think it was quite smooth actually.

Q. What did you know ahead of time before the match in terms of what they expected with the weather?

ROGER FEDERER: The second time around?

Q. The first time. What did they tell you?

ROGER FEDERER: What did they say? I saw on the radar 50% chance of rain. The sky totally changed, so you go figure something was going to come. I didn’t think they would take us off the court at 5-2. It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision. Did they say there was going to be more rain coming later on?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: They said we had an hour to play, one and a half maybe, when we went on the second time around, which also has an effect on you mentally. You’re like, Where is it? It feels like a shadow over you. I don’t want to say you play fast, because Granollers doesn’t take much time, I don’t take much time, so I think it was perfect anyway for everybody that we did speed it up.

Q. After the rain delay there were some moments in that match where you were moving at a very high level. When you analyze your longevity, your 60th major, your movement, how those things tie together…

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it’s been good for a while now. I think especially now it’s been really excellent the last three matches here at the US Open. I feel very explosive, quick. Like you say, the coordination is there, as well. I feel like I’ve gotten used to the hard courts by now. It’s really working well. I’m very pleased. Today conditions were much more humid so you could feel a little flat out there, but that wasn’t the case. I was able to power through that. Yeah, I mean, I’m happy I wake up every day and I’m ready to go. It’s also great to see Robredo fit like a fiddle at the end last night. I thought that was impressive, too. He’s my age, too. I think when you keep yourself in shape and train the right way, that’s how you do it. Then actually it’s not such a surprise for yourself. But I’m clearly happy about it because it’s become a game of movement. If you don’t move very well you can’t dig out a few shots. It’s just not going to work out in the long run.

Q. You come into the tournament with a title win and a slam final. How do you think the Roger Federer of this year would fare against the Federer of 2004 through 2007?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I hope I’m a better player today. Geez, so much time has gone by and I’ve practiced so hard over the years that I feel I have more power on my serve. I volley better now, I guess. I’ve gotten to understand, you know, so many things over those years. But the thing back then is I was so unbelievably confident. I was coming through stretches where I wouldn’t lose against top 10 players. I wouldn’t lose finals. That I did for such a long time, I didn’t remember losing — how it happened or how it would work. I had an unbelievable winner mentality. Not that I don’t have it today, but I haven’t won as much as I did back then. I think that could make a difference. Otherwise I’m very pleased with how things are going this year.

Q. A little while ago you said you would have loved to play against Borg’s backhand. Is there a forehand that you would love to play against? Laver? Borg? Becker? Courier? And also a volley and return.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think the forehand — which forehand? Like Jim Courier’s or someone like that, you know, who is really very dominant on the one side. Like Ferdinando González or James Blake, where when he went there, they had to go for something because they didn’t want to hit a backhand anymore. I guess Jim was part of that. Lendl’s maybe. Volleys, I guess the old school, like all the guys in the ’60s and ’70s; clearly Stefan’s. I was lucky enough to play Pete and Rafter, which were very interesting volley players. And Henman. I enjoyed playing against them.

Q. And return?

ROGER FEDERER: Return? Yeah, I think playing Agassi and Rafa and Novak, it’s like very different in its own way, but I think that was always very interesting.

Q. On CBS John McEnroe said that Paganini deserves a medal for getting you through 60 Grand Slams. Do you agree with him? How much has it helped to have one man that has been with you through all that time getting you ready physically?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, he’s not in the limelight. He doesn’t show up much at tournaments, only from time to time. So the hard work gets done away from the tennis tournaments really. There’s only so much you can do during. There’s a lot of maintenance going on. We’ve worked together for a long time. We really got to know each other from 14 to 16, then not 16 to 19 because he left the Federation. Then I started with him again I think at 19 or 20 years old until now. He’s been a great man in my corner. Yeah, I mean, clearly we’ve worked unbelievably hard and I think in the right way, as well, to keep me injury-free. The great thing with him is we have always very open talks about anything. Especially with him and Severin and my wife. Basically we can talk about a one-year schedule within about 20 minutes so we can all get it done very quickly because we know each other so well. We know what we want to achieve. We know how much I need to train to achieve certain things. I think last year was particularly challenging for both of us with the back problems I had. Where do we go now? Are we allowed? What can we do? I think we were all training with the hand brake on and it wasn’t very enjoyable. He would always ask me, How does this feel? Is this dangerous for you? We just felt this was not the way to go, so we had to figure things out. I’m happy we did so. And the record continues, so I’m very happy about it.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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