26th GERRY WEBER OPEN 2017 June 16–24

Tickets +49 5201 8180 Mon – Fri. 10am – 5pm and Sat. 10am – 1pm.

Interview with Roger Federer

We’ve seen a lot of serve and volley – Dustin Brown obviously was serve and volleying all the time – and today you came in a lot. Do you think that serve and volleying could be coming back and, personally, would you see that as a good thing?
Roger Federer: Yes, it definitely would be a good thing because so few players would do it that it would be nice to see it more because really out of the Top 100 you might have two guys doing it more often than not. So, it’s very rare because I always thought the contrast is nice with a baseliner which you would have most of the time.
And plying like your heroes when you were growing up?
Roger Federer: Right, exactly. So for me that’s how the game was being played, especially on the quicker courts. But I don’t think because of two days of tennis it’s going to change entirely. But it’s nice to see that it does work, that it can work if you do it the right way, it can be effective. It’s just the thing that so many guys return so well and that probably Wimbledon is a bit slower than this which then gives the baseliner just a bit of more time for the return and also movement is probably a bit easier. But I was very happy with the way I volleyed and served today and clearly that’s key on grass.
Speaking of serve and volley, you came to the net quite often today. Was that your strategy against Kei?
Roger Federer: I was thinking of doing it a little bit with my coach when we were talking. I wanted just to do it sometimes, just to mix it up and I realized it was actually working really well and I was probably also serving better at times as well when I was serve and volleying because of the momentum and going into the court. So, I kept on doing it. Maybe the game I got broken in the second set I actually didn’t do it enough or didn’t do it at all. Kei also had a good game, I missed some first serves but I think it was a good decision by me at the end to do it more often than not because it took Kei’s rhythm away a little bit and I remained dangerous on the return which is not something he probably likes particularly much. He likes to have some rhythm as well. But it was played on a very fast court and a few shots were going to decide this match and they went my way because I was looking for victory a bit more by coming to the net.
You are still playing with a non-branded racket. Does that mean that you are still trying to improve it, that you are still trying to find the balance of the racket, the weight? I know you enlarged the head size?
Roger Federer: No, I’m done with the testing. I completed everything a few months ago, maybe a few weeks ago, a few months ago rather. So, this is the racket I will stay with now and cosmetics at some point are going to come into play as well. So, I did my first testing after Wimbledon last year and some more at the end of the year and then some more at the beginning of this year. So, I’m very happy with the process. And Wilson has been very helpful as you can imagine. But they were also very excited about the chance to produce an entire new racket, bigger frame, bigger beam for more power and everything. So, I’m very pleased that things went so smoothly to be honest. It wasn’t like a mental problem for me in any way, it really wasn’t and I’m so pleased about the way I’m hitting the ball with this racket.
So, it wasn’t just a change of the head size?
Roger Federer: That was part of it as well. It’s slightly bigger than the one I was playing with the last fifteen years maybe.
When was the last time you played two matches so close together?
Roger Federer: Probably in Brisbane this year or in Indian Wells. Whenever you play doubles during a tournament it can be that you play a match and then you play doubles right after. But this was pretty quick. It was a quick turnaround. 35 minutes in between. Honestly, it’s almost better than wait two hours, let the body calm down and cool down. Then you come back out and you’re stiff. It’s good for rhythm sometimes as well to keep on playing sets even though doubles can be very frustrating at times. There is no rhythm. But I must say I’m playing very well even in doubles. So, I’m very pleased with this week.
Rafa said that the courts here in Halle are faster than in London. Do you think you will need to do an adjustment? Do you think Wimbledon is slower than the courts in Halle?
Roger Federer: I think this is a little bit faster than in Wimbledon. Not that much but just a touch. And it’s different because the court is very covered here. So, the court doesn’t get that much sun like maybe court 1 or the outside courts. Then maybe through that it’s a bit softer. The first few days it’s difficult to move on them because it’s greener, maybe more slippery at times but that’s part of grass. And clearly the further you go into a tournament the easier it becomes to move from the baseline because the more grass is gone, you can feel it this week already, and especially at Wimbledon where they are played on for ten days, twelve days, the way you can move in the finals is entirely different than how you move in a first round. That’s the tricky part that because it’s a natural surface it keeps on changing unlike clay, it reacts to rain and all that but grass actually plays quite different at the beginning than at the end. So, there is a slight adjustment to be made but not more than that really, I don’t believe.
Is your new racket a different weight? Is it lighter because your rackets are heavy?
Roger Federer: It’s similar in a way. You know, you play around with it a little bit and that’s part of the testing that goes on. But you kind of keep weight and balance similar and you adjust it to a new racket and then whatever works for you. It’s important that you feel that you test those things, strings, string pattern, with the beam there are so many things you need to go through that sometimes it can be complicated. But I was able to rule out a lot of rackets quickly which is important.
When was the last time you didn’t realize that you had won the match?
Roger Federer: I think this was the first time. At least I can’t recall any other time which means it was the first time in more than thousand matches (laughs). That was the problem, it had already started earlier: I had thought, when I went to serve on the last two points, that I was up 4-3 and then had 5-3, 6-3. So, I had already counted wrongly two points before. When I made the second point I thought ‘perfect, no he’ll serve two more times and I’ll have two chances and, if necessary, I’ll have to serve again at 6-5. Then it was totally clear to me what was happening. That’s why I just didn’t get it why the applause was so strange and I looked to the Umpire who was laughing, then I saw Nishikori at the net, then I looked to my player’s box and they were also laughing. Then I thought ‘What’s going on here, is the match over?’ Then I finally checked the score and realized that the match was over (laughs), especially because Nishikori had been laughing. I told him that I was sorry and that I had really thought that the score was 6-3 but that, of course, I happily take the victory and that I’m glad because I won’t have to go back to the line and serve (laughs). It was really funny.
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