|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
June 24, 2007
THE MODERATOR: A great pleasure in presenting our reigning men's Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer.
Q. Is Centre Court still Centre Court without the roof?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I can really tell you more after the first match. But it looks different than the previous years, there's no doubt. It's much more bright. Yeah, the roof's kind of missing.
So, yeah, it's definitely going to play different for sure, too. More wind being able to come into the stadium. But I think the atmosphere is going to stay unique, you know, because here at Wimbledon the center courts are always sold out.
So happy when Wimbledon comes around, same as the players. So I think the atmosphere will be very, very nice.
Q. Not having played Halle this year, how different do you feel coming into the tournament without any matches on grass?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I feel more rested, of course, because I had more days off. But then at the same time missing matches maybe a little bit. That's why the early round is obviously very important. That is always the same, no matter if I play before or not. You just want to come through the first couple of rounds then hopefully start playing well.
So, yeah, in practice I'm hitting the ball fine. Transition to grass is always very easy for me because it feels so natural. But I am very confident looking ahead of the next two weeks.
Q. As usual you're coming in here with some big streaks on the line, 48-match streak on grass, trying to tie Borg. Can you comment what that feels like coming into the tournament?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's always fantastic to be able to break records or match them, especially when it comes to Bjorn Borg I'm always very excited, because I think he was one of the most wonderful players we ever had in the game.
Yeah, it's a very ironic story actually that I beat Sampras' record, when he was going for five, at the US Open, two months later he called me up and thanked me for breaking Sampras' streak, keeping his alive, and now I'm going for Borg's record.
It's ironic, but I've heard he's happy if I would tie it up. We're still very far away from that. Have to stay concentrated.
Q. Have you had contact with Borg lately?
ROGER FEDERER: Last year, in the stands at the Dubai final.
Q. You talk about breaking all the records, 48 matches on grass, something like that.
ROGER FEDERER: You guys know.
Q. Do you feel invincible on this surface? Could you say that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's been so long that I lost that of course you start to feel particularly strong on it. At the same time there's not 50 matches a year on this surface.
You're always come into grass court season not knowing how you're going to play. Especially grass is played on a couple points here or there. It's even more fascinating for me to see I've come through so many times over the past few years.
But it is a very dangerous surface, like I said. You can be upset by almost anybody, any round. Many probably cannot win the tournament here, but can upset the best. That's the most dangerous part in the early rounds here.
Q. Apart from the usual suspects, who else have you seen in the draw you think maybe you need to be careful about them? What other names could be a danger to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Not speaking about me particularly, but maybe more in terms of who could win the tournament. I guess Djokovic has been playing very well. You will expect him to make a run here. If Andy's in form, I think he's in good shape, as well, because I think grass is one of his best surfaces. Then you have many other players. I haven't studied the draw enough yet to really tell you.
Q. We saw you at the French Open doing a bit of karaoke. If you won five times at Wimbledon, any chance you'd do it again? Would you pick the same tune, Simply the Best?
ROGER FEDERER: They gave me a couple to choose off. I'll do Simply the Best, whatever. Yeah, I mean, that was more fun for TV. All the players did it. We already did something last year. I said, Okay, might as well sing now this year.
Wimbledon, I don't think I'm going to do that kind of thing. I have never done karaoke actually.
Q. Have you had a chance to walk out to Centre Court and see what it's like without the roof?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I went into the Royal Box when I was here like nine days ago when I arrived on the first day. I walked through the clubhouse, walked in the Royal Box quick, just looked down.
Yeah, I mean, it did feel like it was under construction to a point because you haven't seen the Wimbledon Centre Court this way forever, I guess. But it's going to change for next year, so I guess it's a bit of a transition period.
I don't know how much it's going to play different really. Like I said, the wind is maybe going to make a bit of an effect on the way we play. Maybe it's harder to keep the ball in play because of the wind.
We'll see. I can tell you really more tomorrow.
Q. Would it be nice to be the first player to win Wimbledon 'al fresco'?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was very happy to have been the last to win Wimbledon under the old conditions at Wimbledon. I was very proud of that last year.
Q. I know you're a big sports fan of all types. Can you tell us about the Swiss team in the America's Cup? You've been out with the team.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I know Bertarelli. Of course, I was following very strongly Alinghi when they won last time around in New Zealand.
When I was practicing in December in Dubai they were practicing, as well. I could see them always going out onto the water and go practice. I briefly met Bertarelli. Invited me on the boat as well.
Went for a race, the old boat against the new boat. I was on the new boat and lost.
Q. What was that like?
ROGER FEDERER: It was a lot of fun, and it was incredible to see the team spirit and team effort it takes to maneuver the boat around. Yeah, it looks totally different on TV than it is in life.
So steep when they go on the side. It was really fast, so I was very impressed.
Q. Did they actually do anything?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't want to do anything there.
Q. You decided not to play Halle this year. Can you talk us through that and can you talk about your movements since the French?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it was obviously a tough call because of the success I've had there over the last, what is it, seven years or so I always played very well in Halle.
If you're superstitious, you would think I have to play Halle again and everything. But I'm not that type of person. I have to look after my health first. I felt my back and my groin, and I didn't want to take a chance because the last two years were already difficult enough after the semifinals of Paris and the finals of Paris last year as well.
I came into Halle feeling a lot of pain, and then going through five consecutive matches, you know, I was in a lot of pain at the end of the week. This week leading up to Wimbledon, I was so tired I could hardly practice. I just wanted to do it differently this time around and not take a chance so I'm really ready for Wimbledon.
Yeah, I'm confident it was the right decision as well.
Q. Since the French, can you tell us where you've been practicing? You said you arrived here nine days ago.
ROGER FEDERER: I went back to Switzerland, started kind of working out very lightly again on Thursday and Friday. Then I flew to Wimbledon here on Saturday. I've been here practicing every day on grass.
Q. What kind of comparisons can you make between sailing and tennis?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know. It's a sport. Yeah, I guess they don't get that many opportunities like we do to do well. For them, they wait three years to get the opportunity, so it's kind of a totally different approach.
But these guys are fit. They're stronger than I am because they work the gym every day for two or three hours in the early morning they told me, and you can tell. I don't do that.
Q. How do you relax, get away from the stresses of tennis off the court?
ROGER FEDERER: You know, a good schedule is important for me, you know, have enough tennis in my life, have enough rest also to keep the fire burning. When I get to a tournament, especially Grand Slams, you always seem to have a bit more time with the day off.
You can have much more time if you want to watch a movie, if you want to read a book, if you want to go to the city or catch up with some friends. There's much more time to do that even though the tension needs to stay up because you're still in the tournament.
But I like to have a change, of course, not just always think about tennis.
Q. What do you prefer to read and what are you reading right now?
ROGER FEDERER: I usually read a lot of like documentaries, can you say that?
ROGER FEDERER: Biographies.
Q. Anyone in particular?
ROGER FEDERER: Sportsmen I usually like. I would like to read a proper book, too, in the future.
Q. You mentioned the other day away from Halle you were at home in Switzerland playing cards. What card games were you playing? Poker?
ROGER FEDERER: We play a Swiss game.
Q. Is that for matchsticks or for money?
ROGER FEDERER: It's for the proud, to be proud. I'm not much of a money player, to be honest, off the court.
Q. Are you as competitive in the card games as any game?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I like to win. Always disappointing when you lose.
Q. Seeing Borg in Dubai, did you hit with him at all?
ROGER FEDERER: He was playing the Legends Rock Dubai, kind of an exhibition match against McEnroe. I arrived on the night they were playing. I was on the way to Shanghai, staying a few nights in Dubai.
I was like, That may be the only opportunity to ever play with Bjorn. I needed to hit anyway. It would have been good to hit with somebody. I asked somebody who knew Bjorn if he had time maybe that day or the next day, because I assumed he was going to stick around Dubai because he likes hanging around there.
Asked him, let's say it was a Tuesday, if he wanted to hit Tuesday at 10:00. Right away he called me back, No problem; I'm ready. I was like so excited. He asked if he could also bring Mansour Bahrami. I said, No problem. We can hit, all three of us. I've played many exhibitions with Mansour. We hit for about two hours.
By the time we got to the courts, I was a bit late, about 10 minutes, but he was already hitting with Mansour. It was just incredible to see him play, then to hit him was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it.
Q. Did he use a wooden racquet?
ROGER FEDERER: No, he didn't.
Q. Did you have a conversation then about what would be coming here at Wimbledon, the five in a row?
ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I don't know what we spoke about. Just more in general, you know, maybe what he's doing now, how I'm doing, just talking about tennis a little bit. We were hitting most of the time.
Q. What did you think of his ball striking?
ROGER FEDERER: Very good. I was very impressed, yeah.
Q. What is your strongest image of Borg when he was playing? What are the images that stay in your mind from his playing career?
ROGER FEDERER: I kind of missed him, to be honest. I was born in '81. When is the last time he played here? '81.
Q. You've obviously seen him on TV. What are the images that kind of Borg evokes for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I've seen his documentary on TV. I don't know from whom and when it was. It was just interesting to see how popular he made tennis, how successful he was. Without even trying to be in the center of attention, he always was. His attitude on the court, always so cool.
Yeah, it was exactly the kind of guy tennis needed at that time in tennis. He handled himself so well. He was an interesting person, too. I think all that combination made him a hero for many.
Q. When you hit with Bjorn, were there any people there? Were many people watching?
ROGER FEDERER: Like a couple of friends were there of mine. I don't know, three or four onlookers, that was it.
Q. Could they believe what they were seeing?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't ask them. I guess it was a special moment.
Q. Did you take it easy on him, or did you go flat out and give him a good hiding?
ROGER FEDERER: We were playing, the three of us. Kind of in the end we just played some points, you know, two against one. Yeah, it was fun. God, I couldn't believe it.
Q. You still won, even though there were two against one?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know what happened. We only played a couple of games. It was just more for fun. It was good.
Q. Would that be your dream final? I know it can never happen. You against Bjorn, Centre Court?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I guess him or Becker, Edberg. They were my heroes when I was growing up. Put Bjorn ahead of them, I don't know if I could. I was watching Becker and Edberg playing a lot when I was growing up. But Borg probably, yeah, of all time, that would be a nice match to have played.
Q. Unveiling any new fashions this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know, not on the court. Special items with the jacket and the pants, a vest and everything. We got the whole thing going this year, whereas last year we just had the jacket. Nike did some incredible stuff.
Q. You're going to bring that on the court?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, depend on my mood. I think I'll maybe walk on with it. Seems like it's cool. It's actually good I got something warm to wear. I don't know, maybe the press conference, just to walk around. I don't know. We'll see.
Q. When Bjorn Borg said he wants you to win it for the fifth time, he thinks that you will do it, what kind of feeling does that give you?
ROGER FEDERER: A very good feeling, yeah. Very happy to hear that he's happy for me because I admire him a lot. I like it when former greats or former players, you know, also admire what the present is doing right now because sometimes it's hard for them to look and say or give us more -- they like to give us less credit sometimes.
I like when somebody like Bjorn, somebody you trust, he doesn't speak much, but when he speaks, people listen. It's nice to hear that he will be happy for me, you know, tying the record.
I heard he's coming for the final weekend. I hope I'll be there, too.
Q. What keeps the fires burning? Is it setting records?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I'm going from tournament to tournament really. I try not to give myself like I want to break this or that record. If that's going to happen, great. For me it's easier to go from tournament to tournament. I have kind of a good schedule.
Yeah, you know, I love winning tournaments. I guess that's what it is in the end, try to get in a tournament well-rested and be at a hundred percent for the entire week, or two weeks.
Q. When you walk out tomorrow, is there a feeling of exhilaration arriving back onto Wimbledon or is there ever a worry that it could be a first-round surprise?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, the worry has crossed my mind every single time. That is something that belongs to tennis. You don't walk out maybe like a boxer and you're like, I'm not going to get hit. I'm going to knock him out right away.
I'm confident, you know, but still that crosses your mind. You don't want to be the one defending champion that loses first.
But of course, you know, I'm focused on the big pictures, trying to play well. There's a huge excitement for me every time walking -- kind of dressing up, then walking through the corridors, down on Centre Court, seeing the pictures, the board on the left-hand side with the names, see the trophy behind you. It's just an incredible walk. It gets you totally excited about The Championships.
I'm sure I'm going to enjoy tomorrow and hopefully play a good match on the court then.
Q. Borg famously walked away from the game at a very young age.
ROGER FEDERER: At my age he did, didn't he?
Q. Do you think ever about how much longer you want to play, you will play?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, kind of makes you wonder, my God, when he walks away at 25, 26, you're like, Such a pity. He could have played so much more. But, then again, he was such a good teenager. You would think, okay, maybe he had enough of tennis.
For me I always said loud and clearly my big goal is still to be coming back here in 2012, playing the Olympics here at Wimbledon. That is still a long way away. Then after that, we'll see where my health takes me. That is definitely still something I would like to play.
End of FastScripts
Q. Happy to be back?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Very happy, yeah. I was actually here the last weekend before going to Eastbourne on the Monday. Yeah, I mean, everything is just coming back into the mind, the great memories of last year, of course, and the atmosphere that I like to feel here, even though it was a little empty the last weekend.
I enjoyed the moment. I'm still enjoying it right now.
Q. Did you get a particular tingling when you walk through and see your name on the honor board, know you have your member's badge?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I don't know if you can really put some specific words on that. Just an overall good feeling. You feel proud and happy and really enjoying the moment. Yeah, what else can I say? I'm just really looking forward to start the tournament. That's now what I'm really looking forward to.
Q. What do you think the many changes in Wimbledon, for example, Hawk-Eye, equal prize money, roof of Centre Court? Does it work well for the players?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Personally I think it's great. It's really showing that in the same time of keeping the traditional part of the tournament, the tournament also tries to really evolve in terms of the Hawk-Eye, of course, technology. I think it's great.
I personally do think for the crowd, for the players, and for the people watching on TV, it's a good thing. I definitely think it puts more entertainment into the game.
Equal prize money, I've expressed myself a lot on that subject. Really I think it's showing that it's a step forward for women in society in general. It's not only for here at Wimbledon. I think the sport has to be, in terms of men and women, showing the example to everybody. So I think that's another great step forward.
The new Centre Court, as it is this year, but as it's going to be in the next couple years with the tournament being able, in these kind of days, to still play some tennis, to still have the possibility of closing the roof, I think it's great.
Yeah, all these things are showing that Wimbledon is really wanting to stay ahead in terms of competition I guess with the other ones.
Q. Centre Court obviously is looking a bit different at the moment?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, I stepped on it. I went to see a little bit when I first came here. It really is a little bit different. Not as closed as it used to be. Maybe could change a little bit the conditions of play. Maybe I guess could be a little bit more windy. We'll have to see in the next couple days how players feel about it.
But, again, it's just a step for this year. I guess everything is going to come back the way it should be for 2008.
Q. Do you think it's going to change how the crowd reacts, the interaction between the players and the crowd, as well?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I don't know if that could be part of how players and the crowd are kind of talking to each other. But the reaction is going to be interesting I think on the Hawk-Eye to see how people in the stands are going to react to that, because they're not obviously used to it. It's really a brand-new thing.
It's going to be funny to really see how they react.
Q. When you look at your year since you were here last, would you agree you've had a slightly disappointing 12 months since then, bearing in mind you came here, won Wimbledon, Australian Open champion?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, I mean, obviously I struggled a lot in the end of last year and again in the beginning of 2007. I definitely think, as you said, it was disappointing in some moments. I was able to still play the final of the championship at the end of last year, which was something I did not, in fact, really was expecting.
But, yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to find some confidence, some rhythm again. Obviously, it was much better this week in Eastbourne, looking at how I played, looking at how I felt on the court. Yeah, I'm just hoping that the grass season can really put me back to where I should be.
Q. Are you back to where you feel you should be physically?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, I have to say this part was really concerning me for the last few months. It's been going on great since last week. I'm feeling good now. I'm hoping it's really going to keep up like this and even improve. You know, you put out some work to recover from surgery and everything.
You really just try to push yourself every practice, to be back at your best level, which is not so easy. It's finally satisfying to see that things are coming back and paying off.
Q. Does the change of surface help, as well? Is it less demanding?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: To come back and to come back on clay I think made it a little bit more difficult definitely.
Q. Did you have some sympathy with Ana in the French final? Did you sort of feel for her the way the nerves got the better of her?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Ana Ivanovic?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: She's learning. She's still very young, probably got a little bit -- got nervous probably a little bit, which can be understandable. But I still think if she can really get the lessons from it, it's still a great experience.
She played some great tennis throughout the tournament. Obviously didn't play as good as she wanted to in the final. I still think sometimes you have to go through these kind of maybe difficult experiences to learn and to get better. Yeah, I think it's everything probably positive for her after the French Open.
Q. Would you regard her as the best of the young players coming through?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Well, for now definitely. I thought with the year that Nicole Vaidisova had, the Australian Open, the French Open last year, I thought she was a little bit ahead. Then you see Ana coming back very strong. She's been working very hard with Sven as well.
So, yeah, now for the moment she's taking the lead. I think it's good that they're all there. It's great competition in this little group of young guys.
Q. Can you compare and characterize your feeling coming into Wimbledon last year and coming into Wimbledon this year?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: That's tough. I don't even remember really well how I was feeling last year. But I guess I've always been very happy to be back at Wimbledon. Obviously last year, on the tennis, I didn't feel so good because I had a pretty poor week in Eastbourne. I really didn't know if I was going to be able to produce again the same kind of tennis I played the years before, reaching several times the semifinals.
But after my first match here I really felt great. I think it was really kind of a key moment for me last year. From nowhere in Eastbourne, I really came up to my first match, not playing a great player, but still producing on my part some great tennis. Then I thought, Okay, I have this Wimbledon feeling. It feels great.
Q. And this year you feel?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Tennistically (sic) I feel a little bit better than last year. As I was saying, I still wait for this first match to happen. Yeah, it's going to be like, Okay, now I'm in the tournament. Now I really put myself in the tournament. It's finished enjoying the memories and everything. I really look forward for this to really start.
Q. So you don't consider yourself as top favorite?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I do (laughter). In fact, I do, yeah. I think we are probably, I don't know, four or five to be able to get the trophy this year. Yeah, I do consider myself part of these four or five players.
Q. Could you explain more your feelings about Hawk-Eye and how that generates excitement in the game and amongst the fans, the reaction from the fans you've heard with this system in place?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I think they finally get involved like a little bit more. They're sharing something extra with the players, I guess, because maybe tennis they get involved at some times during the game but not always.
Maybe sometimes they're kind of frustrated that they can't really express what they want. I think that's an occasion for them to probably let out this frustration at some point.
Q. With the chalk here, did you feel there were a lot of bad calls on grass?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: No. I mean, I'm trying to remember different matches I played, whether it was here or Eastbourne. I'm not sure it's more than anywhere else, except on clay, because you can check the marks. No, considering the difficulty of judging those balls, it's a pretty good job.
The fact is, using the Cyclops was very important, I think, because serve is probably the most difficult thing to judge. Now they put out the Cyclops, I think. They're not going to use it because of the Hawk-Eye.
Q. You have the advantage here if you hit a line, there's going to be some chalk?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: If it's right on the line, there's going to be some chalk. If it just touches this much, there's not going to be some chalk. It could make a little bit of difference at some point.
Q. When you had the instance in Australia where the ball was called in but the graphic showed it was out, did you take that up with anybody?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I went the next day because it was a night match. I didn't go straight in the office. They said they have two systems. They said they have this system to make the calls, and they have this system to show an image for the people to be able to look at. This image, the lines can be a little bit not completely straight.
So they have something to enhance the lines, to make sure they are very clean lines. They were going to turn off that system to make sure that the call is matching what people are seeing on the screen.
They obviously learned about that on that ball.
Q. You said about four or five people, you consider yourself one of them, as favorites for the tournament. Do you put Venus Williams in that group?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I do put the Williams sisters, both of them, in that group. They're big servers. On the grass, obviously very important. And having the experience of playing these big events, winning many of them. Yeah, I definitely put both of them into that group.
Q. Yesterday in Eastbourne you lost against Justine Henin. In Belgium people think she's unbeatable. What do you think of that?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: She's unbeatable for the last three or four weeks. Let's hope she's not for the next couple.
Q. How do you cope with rain and all the delays? You can't practice today outside?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: It's okay. I practiced a lot this week. It's okay for me. It's not so much of a problem. Yeah, it's not obviously the best conditions to get ready for those guys that haven't played so much. I'm going to be able to hit indoor a little bit today, not so much. Patience. That's sometimes a key word here at Wimbledon.
End of FastScripts