Roger Federer: “I think the most important thing in taking risks is that you actually believe in what you're trying to do” - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “I think the most important thing in taking risks is that you actually believe in what you’re trying to do”

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 19th of January 2015. R. Federer d. Y.Lu 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. An interview with Roger Federer

Q. Number 1001. Did you ever think you’d get there after you gotten 1000?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was hoping it would happen in Australia. I’m very pleased to make this one here tonight. You know, winning first round, it’s always a bit of a relief. I thought I played good. So it was nice to get 1001 here now tonight. We’re not going to talk about this every single match now, right? Let’s just keep it to this one (smiling).

Q. Do you think personality-wise it lends well to succeed for a player, say, if they’re outgoing on court it’s easier to face a pressure point, where someone who is introverted might have to work a little bit harder to succeed?

ROGER FEDERER: Good question. I’m not sure. You would think an introvert is not ready to take huge risks, but then again he might be very thoughtful and play very well-constructed points, won’t go for the silly shot. So I guess it really depends what kind of game you have. But I like the idea when you’re young and you’re fearless, you give it a shot and just go big and take it away from your opponent. That’s kind of how I felt, how I did it sometimes. Yeah but, you know, it didn’t always work. If you look, Lleyton, who wasn’t quite like that, he was more constructive in his points. He had much more success early on. So I don’t know.

Q. You’d class yourself as an intro or extrovert?

ROGER FEDERER: Extrovert probably I’d say.

Q. One year ago you said in the press conference prior to the tournament you came here with the back hurting to some point. This year you suffered some hurt in the back in the World Tour Finals in London. How did you manage to keep the pain at bay from a medical standpoint, the treatment you received, and so on?

ROGER FEDERER: After London?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: And Davis Cup?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: I had the doctor take a train from Lille Saturday night after the Stan match. I called him up and asked him if he could come see me. When I woke up he was there, which was great because it’s not far away. I hardly could get out of bed. Yeah, he had a look at me. I don’t know, can’t even run so can’t play clearly. I was like, Are you sure? Can’t we wait? He was like, I don’t know. You can’t run so you can’t play. So, anyway, number one, what we did was just let it heal, just do basically nothing except some very minor treatment just so it relaxes the most. It took two, two and a half days, three days until I could run again. And then clearly I was taking medication, heavy ones. Just got back in time. Basically Wednesday night when I went for a hit in Lille, that was the first time I felt like in that afternoon I could run basically. So that’s when I decided, If you can run, you can play. That’s my feeling. And I was happy that I somehow managed to play.

Q. I’m sure you’re well aware what happened to the Swiss franc the other day.

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I am very well aware.

Q. What do you make of it? How does it affect you?

ROGER FEDERER: Does it mean I’ve got to win now (smiling)? Yeah, I mean, clearly, I don’t know, it definitely had a big impact all around the world, right? Yeah, Switzerland’s an interesting place. It’s small but quite powerful in some ways. Clearly it had an impact on me, too, no doubt about it. Things were going up all the time, so it’s normal have it reset. But the way it was done, maybe there were some question marks behind that because nobody saw it coming. I’m not the expert, so I don’t know exactly what you want me to tell you. Yeah, I guess for export or tourism it’s not ideal, but we’ll see how we’ll adjust to it now. Still think it’s a wonderful place to visit, so please come.

Q. Talk about risk taking in tennis. Is that a skill in itself, to know what to go for? Do you enjoy risk taking? Does it sometimes get a little boring when there aren’t any challenges or risk-taking situations?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think the most important thing in taking risks is that you actually believe in what you’re trying to do, that you’re 100% committed; 80% commitment is not enough. As you’re running up to the ball or trying to take the ball early, if you have a little bit of doubt that it’s not the right play, it’s funny enough, you’ll fail every single time. You just have to believe and visualize beforehand what’s going to happen. You see the play happening in your mind just before you hit it, and then you have the best chance of making it work. I think that commitment with the risk taking is the right one, and then knowing of what score you’re going to take the risk. Is it at Love-30? 30-All? Love-30? 40-Love? Love-40? It’s a totally different ballgame. What the best players usually do is they play the score very well. That’s something that comes with experience, but I also will experience sometimes I feel you start to play safer or the percentages more. That can become a bit boring. I always try to keep a young mind because I feel my game needs that risk taking, that committed play. Clearly when I’m confident, I can do it much easier.

Q. Novak’s forehand match point shot against you was possibly the greatest risk shot against you. What was one or two of your greatest successful high-risk shots?

ROGER FEDERER: I have no idea. Zero idea. I played too many points and so many times I have had to take a big chance and guessed the right way, and I did. Just felt it. Maybe match point against Sampras. Felt like he was going to slide it wide. I was just waiting there. I believe that clearly he was going to go T with an ace for sure. I gave him that and leaned the other way. Maybe that one sticks out.

Q. You may remember that article from David Foster Wallace years ago in the New York Times where described you as a religious experience, and then I read, a human beings reconciliation with the fact of having a body. What do you think? Do you recognize yourself? An exaggeration?

ROGER FEDERER: Just a slight exaggeration (laughter). But I guess in sports we have a tendency to — there’s no end. You know, it’s just so unbelievable sometimes, like it’s never been seen before. So I’ve been through this entire phase where I got so many compliments, you just thought, Wow, this is the best feeling in the world. But very quickly you get the feeling as well that not everything’s so great sometimes when you don’t play very well. I’ve been on both sides. That’s why I have no problem accepting criticism, because I’ve gotten so many compliments over the years. It’s part of the game. But clearly some unbelievable pieces have been written about me, about tennis, about other players. It’s interesting to read them. Sometimes just slightly exaggerated, but everybody can judge that the way they want.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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