Exclusive interview with Roger Federer„I’m going to play way longer than the Olympic Games in 2012“
In this interview with Jörg Allmeroth the former #1 Roger Federer talks about his fitness, his aims and he explains why he doesn’t see a changing of the guard in mens tennis yet.Mr. Federer, it’s been nearly one month since you lost in the SF of the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic. Afterwards many people talked about a changing of the guard in mens tennis, of a radical change, of the end of the dominance of Federer and Nadal.
Roger Federer: What kind of change should this be? Novak Djokovic, the winner, is a respected and applauded top professional – and this for some years. There are always interplays amongst the three, four top players but nothing happened which you could name n turn of an area. You can’t write about something which doesn’t exist. We don’t have a wonder player right now who comes out of nowhere and who beats four, five topplayers in a row and revolutionizes everything.In the reporting about mens tennis it is always mainly all about the top four players. The rest seems to be seen as staffage.
Federer: But there is a lot of move behind this top group, interesting players, interesting guys. But you can’t await from these new faces that they will come forward like lightning. They need time, more time as in previous times. Today tennis is a competition which lasts 10 ½ months on an extremely high livel, without rests, without easy matches, without moments to relax. Therefore you can’t expect wonders from young playersIn womens- and in menstennis the trend seems to be going away from the young high flyers who disturb the pecking order and already win Grand Slam titles whilst being a teenager. With Kim Clijsters there was recently a mother #1.
Federer: Tennis has become more competetive and athletically. In order to come to the top you need to have a longer breath. There are some new players who are promising, Milos Raonic from Canada for example, but they have a long and rocky road before them. You can’t appraise them after three strong weeks.You are going to be 30 this year. How much of a cut is this for you? How has tennis and life on the tour changed in the course of your career?
Federer: I don’t feel like someone who gets 30 soon to be honest. Years are passing by really fast in this business. You don’t really notice how the time runs. But I’m lucky enough to be successful. Success makes a lot easier for you. The first years on the tour were the most difficult ones, the self-doubts if you are really talented enough. The criticism of the media which you don’t swallow that easily as a young player. Today I live like in a dream compared to those times.Do you swallow losses today easier as in former times?
Federer: I never like to lose. Otherwise I wouldn’t have come that far in my career. But I can analyze the reasons better and more rational as in the beginning of my career. Losses are part of the game but they are not the end of the world. In previous times I was hot-headed when things didn’t went well. I threw the rackets. The big step forward came when I found my inner peace through my first big success.When you lost to Djokovic in Australia you didn’t looked like you would be devastated.
Federer: That was because I had the feeling to be on the right way even though I lost. I was physically topfit and in good form. There have been tournaments where I was extremely exhausted and tired afterwards when I drove home. Where I thought after a loss: Oh my god, how will it going on from here. But that was completely different in Melbourne. I’m ready for big aims this year. To win big tournaments and to become #1 again.Right now you don’t hold a Grand Slam title in your hands for the first time in nearly 7 years.
Federer:That’s not nice but you can get over it when you have won 16 Grand Slam titles already (laughs). No, I don’t get doleful because of this. It would be a mistake to write me off now. It never worked in the last years as well.What is the biggest challenge for you now as a tennis player?
Federer: To stay healthy and to be fit. I don’t have any uncertainty what I can or what I can’t. I know that I can achieve everything when I’m physically in a good position. I’m better prepared through practice now as in younger years and know what I have to do. I know my limits, know, how I have to arrange the matches, the practice and the whole season. As a young player you tend to exceed your limit. Then you have success for the moment but get problems afterwards.Do you have moments, especially now as a family father, where you think: Is it really necessary to travel again and to pack the suitcase for a tournament?
Federer: No, not really. I still enjoy it to travel through the world and we have managed it very good since the enlargement of the family so that it has never been really a burden. Of course we are in a privileged situation, I know this.We are all happy to be able to spend so much time together even though we have a turbulent life.Do you still have stage fright when you get into a tournament, in a Grand Slam or in a tournament like the next one in your second home Dubai?
Federer: Of course you are always excited. Before every start of a tournament and before every big match. When it would be different it would be time to stop. When you walk into a full stadion it is still a very thrilling feeling. Just as on the first day of being a professional.You have many commitments beside your matches on the centre court. Interviews for newspapers, radio, TV, PR dates, dates with sponsors, appearances on the red carpet. How do you manage it to keep a friendly face the whole time?
Federer: Fortunately it is not tiresome for me. In the beginning I didn’t felt comfortable to be in the spotlight- I didn’t knew what to say during some of the trophy ceremonies. But meanwhile I see it as a normal part of my job and I have learned to stay professional even in bad moments. Sometimes you are deeply shocked what kind of questions you get asked. But I nearly always manage it to give a diplomatic answer even then.Do you have a concrete plan how long your career will last?
Federer: No, I don’t. But I think it will be way longer than the Olympic Games in 2012. These Games in London are of course an important milestone but I believe that I will still have very good years afterwards.http://www.tennisnet.com/oesterreich/welttennis/herren/Roger-Federer-im-Exklusivgespraech-Ich-werde-weit-ueber-Olympia-2012-hinaus-spielen/1525648