home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 18, 2009

Roger Federer



Q. What can we take out of the final yesterday with regard for the Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess a good feeling. I played well yesterday, hit the ball well, had good timing. I thought that everything was coming together. I got used to the conditions.
It's a good sign, you know. But let's concentrate on the first round. You know, I'm excited about playing tomorrow. I hope I can get through the first round and go from there.

Q. Is it important for you to send a message that you're still a force to be reckoned with?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. Don't think I really have to do that, you know. In three matches leading into the Australian Open, that's not what it comes down to. It comes down to playing well here, being fit and ready to go. I feel the way I was hoping to feel really just before the Australian Open. So I'm excited.

Q. A lot different to last year then?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, that's right (smiling). Yeah, I was quite concerned going into last year's Australian Open just because I didn't have any matches whatsoever. I mean, I played a few points, you know, a few sets here and there, but very careful. So this time around I know exactly where my game is. That should help in the tough matches.

Q. Is there a sense of urgency? I know you're only 27, but competition's getting greater. Do you feel a need to win a couple more slams now before you get a whole lot of Gulbises and Cilices and Del Potros breathing down your neck?
ROGER FEDERER: No. I want to do well not only this year but many more years to come. So I don't feel like this is my last chance to either win the French Open or, you know, pick up a few slams more easily. They never come around easily. Let's not forget who I had to beat in all my slam finals to get them, who I had to beat on the way.
It's a long process. They never come easy. That's what I expect also in the future: they will be tough to win. But I know I got the game to do it, so we'll see what happens.

Q. You've come here as the No. 1 player for many years. Does it feel any different coming here as No. 2?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really, you know. I was very successful here over the years. In the beginning, yes. You know, when you come here for the first time as No. 1 in the world, that was a lot of pressure. I guess I was defending champion as well in 2005. Everybody was saying I was going to win it again. I was really playing incredible tennis. I lost with match point in the semis.
Now I feel like things are normal. I'm playing well. I'm feeling well. It's going to be interesting. I think it's an interesting year ahead of us. That's why I'm excited. But I don't feel particularly different, you know, just because I'm No. 2.

Q. You've been hunted for quite a while. Can you now do a bit of hunting?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it's a bit nicer not having to defend almost every week I play. I guess that's the nice part about it. I only have four titles to defend this year. I mean, it's still quite a lot, but compared to maybe 10 or 12 a few years ago, that takes the pressure off a little bit and actually increases the pressure on the other guys. Obviously that's kind of nice for a change. You enter a tournament and you don't think about that that much. You can actually more concentrate on playing than having to defend points.

Q. On that point about being hunted, has your preparation changed at all in the way you approach events? Now there's so many more players in the mix at the top of the game. The mental side of your game, has that changed at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, no. Approach has always been pretty much the same. I haven't changed my schedule around a whole lot, you know. I usually don't play prior to a Grand Slam event. I always try to get enough matches in on the surface that the slam takes place, always make sure I have a good schedule in terms that I have enough rest, enough practice as well. That's something I've always sort of kept the same.
I know a lot of people are always saying like this seems like a tough generation right now with Murray, Djokovic, Rafa and everything. I don't think it's that much stronger than when I came about. We had Agassi, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Ferrero, Nalbandian, all these other guys. It just always seems like two years on and nobody talks about what happened two years ago. I thought we've had very high-quality tennis since a long time now. It's not just now that we have really four great players again. I think they were there before, but there were just different names.
That's what I'm saying: it's going to be an interesting year.

Q. When you were sitting in that chair this time last year, were you aware how debilitating your illness was going to be or were you at this stage not quite aware how it was going to be? How much different and more reassured are you going into this Australian Open?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, I mean, sitting here I didn't know what I had. They said I had food poisoning. That was the initial thing I heard. So I was actually in a positive mindset saying like, Okay, I'm feeling better, here we go. The tournament starts, I might feel weak, I don't have enough matches, but I still got the game to win. So obviously you're always going to believe that you can do it.
It's only later that I found out and I was a bit more concerned. Even though I got the message saying it was almost over, but "almost over" could still take a few months. That's where the danger lied [sic]. But it was over pretty quickly.
I felt that I did lose a lot of energy being sick severely three times, just feeling that step slow. Just trying to play at the highest level and you're one step slow, it's just not gonna work out. It will work out a few times, 70 or 80% of the time, but not 100 or 90 like it was the last few years. That's why I just had to fight and I had to rally.
It was tough in the beginning, but I still played okay tennis. When the clay and grass came around, I actually played great tennis. I just couldn't pick up the French or Wimbledon. That was tough, but still put me on the right path for the US Open.
I'm happy how far I've come really because I had to work extremely hard to get back in shape. I had to put much more of an effort into last year than I've ever had to put in any of the years before.

Q. So where you are now is an awful lot better than what you were 12 months ago?

Q. Even though you didn't know?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, but, still, I was sick before the Australian Open twice. Even though I had a great preparation, in December I kind of lost all that because I lost so much energy.

Q. Tomorrow you have Seppi. In Italy we are not so glad, but what do you think of him?
ROGER FEDERER: He's a nice guy. I mean, he's a good friend of mine. We had a good match in Doha two weeks ago, last week. I mean, I like the way he plays. He's very steady off the baseline. He's a tough draw I think for a first round because I think I could have had it a bit easier.
I'll have to hit a lot of balls and make sure I'm in good shape from the start. I want to get off to a good start against him. Hopefully I'll play my best. But it's going to be tough. Night session, first round against a solid player. Hope it's gonna be a nice match. But it's definitely a big challenge for me.

Q. Can you address the appointment of Adam Helfant, and what would you like to see his first priorities be once he gets into the job?
ROGER FEDERER: I think his first priority should be just to sort of feel his way into tennis and the tour, see the dynamics I guess of the whole thing. So it's obviously great, it starts with a bang here at the Australian Open, big tournament, everybody's here. A lot's happening.
A lot has been said, like the Australian Open has to be moved two weeks later. That's not what was meant in any way. We were asked if we should change the Australian Open schedule, what are we talking about. We always talk about calendar changes. It was taken out of context.
What we said was in a perfect world it would be nicer to have a longer Australian swing, move around a little bit. But we don't live in a perfect world.
It's still great, for instance, to have the Australian Open where it is because we're having record numbers, prize money has gone up. Players love this tournament. We have attended this tournament, what, for the last 15 years. Every top player has come.
It's really become a very, very prestigious Grand Slam to play and one of our favorites. It is basically the players' slam. Those are I think all nice things for Adam Helfant to see.
I think we're very excited about him, you know, being in this position because Rafa, myself and all the other guys on the council, we've worked extremely hard trying to get tennis on the right track. Even though it wasn't bad, but I still think we can improve. I think with a guy like Adam, we can make the necessary changes.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297