26th GERRY WEBER OPEN 2017 June 18–24

Tickets +49 5201 8180 Mon – Fri. 9am – 5pm and Sat. 9am – 1pm.

Interview with Roger Federer

Away from this win you were at least trying to get the fourth seeding at Wimbledon. Was that being on your mind? You started 17 and just constantly moved upwards.
The ranking at the beginning of the year I was trying to be, what was it, I think it was top 8 maybe for Wimbledon, or maybe it was 8 after Wimbledon. I think that was the goal. So, I knew after Miami that I was going to do that for sure. So, that took away pressure having to play for the rankings if at all. I mean for me the rankings is anyway secondary and the seeding as well. Look, I’d rather be seeded in the top 8 or the top 4 or the top 2 preferably but it’s also possible to make very good results from lower like I showed in Australia, Indian Wells and Miami. So, for me today’s match and the seeding doesn’t change anything to be honest. To be seeded 4, 5, I know that now maybe I will be on the different side to Nadal but is it better for me not to play him earlier or for him not to play me earlier? You know, it’s anyway second week of Wimbledon at that point. It’s not like second round. So, from that standpoint honestly it didn’t cross my mind. I was told yesterday that there was a chance but it’s good for you guys. For me it doesn’t matter.
The situation during that game in the first set you celebrated the point a little bit too early?
It felt good until I realized that he still got to the ball.
Were you surprised that he is so quick?
That’s what the problem was, like I told myself that the down the line shot is going to be important against a lefthander as usual. And I hit it well and was like, oh perfect, come on, here we go. And then because he was playing so deep in the court I realized only later that if he was staying on the baseline he wouldn’t catch it but because he was like five metres back he still got to it. I was like, oh no, I just hope he misses the lob or whatever and, of course, he made it. It’s pretty embarrassing. It has happened to me a couple of times in my life. So, today was one of those moments. So, I’m really sorry actually (laughs).
Before you came back to the grass court season you said that you are a master in practicing. Did you have the chance to practice a bit more on grass because you shared some pictures practicing on hard court but having such a long break did you have a chance to practice more on grass court?
I mean look I never practiced this much on grass in my life. I used to come here after Paris and sometimes play for one and a half hours and then play my first-round match here. This year, I basically was on grass in the first week of the French Open and then with the rain in Switzerland I’d go back on the hard courts indoors a little bit but then I arrived early in Stuttgart, played Stuttgart on grass there, on grass here. The weather has been beautiful since. I think it's going to change at some stage, especially in London and through the next week. But I’ve played so much on grass this week that honestly I’ve never been better prepared in terms of grass court tennis. Yes, I’m missing matches.
I mean before the grass court season?
I did practice in Switzerland on grass, yes, two weeks before Stuttgart already.
Mischa’s made little secret of the fact that he is a great admirer of you. Does it give the match a slightly different flavour playing someone that you know is a fan and did you ever play anybody that you felt the same way about?
I guess for me it was when I played Sampras the most maybe of all. And then I just enjoyed playing the likes of Moya, Henman and Kafelnikov and all those guys I knew from TV, Agassi of course, that generation of players was great to play against. Yes, but like you said, Mischa is being very open about it that he really is a very big fan of mine and that Alex, too, but Alex can never be number one because Mischa is older and he’ll always be my number one which is totally awkward (laughs). But they are very nice guys and does create a bit of a different flavour, no doubt about it. But I appreciate their honesty. But for the match nothing really changes. I’m always happy if guys enjoy following my career or whatever it is because I will do the same, when I’m retired I’ll follow guys again that are going to play great tennis and I’m going to be happy when the guys are going to hit amazing shots, do great things. So, it’s kind of cool.
You are playing Florian Mayer next. Can you talk about that match?
I think he is most dangerous on the grass, no doubt about it. This is where I’ve played him the most. I think I have played him here maybe twice or three times and then also in Stuttgart last year where I beat him 7-6, 7-6. He is a tough customer, plus he is the defending champion here. He hasn’t had the best season so far yet so there is a lot lying on the match for him and also for me because we both want to go deep in this tournament. Unfortunately, we play each other early but I like his game. I played against a right-hander from the baseline, Sugita, a left-hander playing serve and volley all the time and now I play Mayer, who plays very different than everybody else, you know, uses the slice, he comes in, he chip and charges, he moves the ball, he serves and volleys a little bit. So, he is going to really throw everything at me. And I know he wants it badly here like in previous years. It’s going to be a tough one. But I played my best match today and I hope that’s going to give me some confidence for tomorrow.
Did you feel that the margins out there were fine today? Not like the last time you played Mischa here?
Yes, it was totally different. I think he started very well. He served great which put me under pressure in the sense that I wasn’t getting many looks on his serve and when I did I didn’t play my best. For me it was important to stay calm after missing chances to maybe win the set at 5-4 and then important is to win breakers. Tiebreakers are the kind of sets you have to win to win tournaments and that’s what I did today. Because it was a close breaker it kind of felt like it could have gone either way. But I got that one and then I think I really was able to start to relax and really play and feel the way I want to feel out there. That was the first time I felt like this since Miami. So, that’s a good sign looking ahead.
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