In Focus: Roger Federer
Updated: Apr 14
Miami Open presented by Itaú Player Focus
Q. You hit an ace, or so we all thought on the last point there, and you walked to the net. How did that conversation go? The last point there with Filip.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, he thought it was in, and that was the conversation. There was not much more talk going on.
Q. He thought it was in?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but then I'm thinking, why did he think that? Because it was quite clearly out. But it felt close for me. But thank God it was 40-Love and not much closer and then you end up losing the match because of something like this after having a conversation with your opponent already before it's actually over.
Q. How did you feel about your serve today?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought I served very well, because Filip can return very well, especially on second serve. I know I could feel the pressure maybe, to some extent, if I don't make the first serves. But I still kept going after them, and I was able to hit my spots and keep the pressure on and shorten points as the match went on. I thought, you know, it was a high, intense match in the first sort of, you know, ten games. Then I was able to pull away. I had a good 20-minute stretch where I was really able to stretch the lead, and that was key today.
Q. You're usually not an hour late for press. Is everything okay?
ROGER FEDERER: Just watching a little bit of my opponents. I was just hanging with friends, as well.
Q. Okay. And second question is the light moment during the match when he took the ball and tossed it over the net, do you remember that? You kind of smiled a little. Can you just talk about those sort of light moments sometimes when that happens in a match?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was laughing because I hit, like, probably three perfect shanks, and I ended up winning the point that way. I don't know. Yeah, I like when players also show emotions, you know, like Filip did on that instance. And me, I'm smiling just because I thought it was sort of somewhat of a weird, strange, ridiculous point, you know, that I got very lucky to win somehow. So, yeah, we're not robots, you know. It was good to see.
Q. You have two guys from the sort of that NextGen marketing campaign in the top 10 and a couple others very close. You know, the assumption generally was it was a lot of good marketing by the ATP, but it almost seems there is some kind of a vibe with these guys coming up together and inspiring each other. Is that accurate?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would think so. You know, it reminds me very much of the campaign I was part of when I was growing up, the New Balls Please campaign. There we had some older guys -- I mean, older, it was Guga and Kiefer and Tommy and guys that were actually a few years older. So they mixed it a little bit more. It was just not the generation, I guess, of Agassi and Sampras. I thought that was nice to sort of tie us young guys together. It's not the young against the old, but it maybe feels a little bit like that for the young guys that they look towards one another to be the best of that group, and then naturally, if you're the best of that group or top three, you can then also become the best of the next group, which is the main group, you know. And I think it really fuels them with motivation, you know, to be able to be better than, you know, a similarage guy.
You know, I think in juniors you always have that. When you come on the big tour, all of a sudden you're trying to compare yourself to World No. 1, which seems like such a mountain to climb. So it's maybe better to have it done in the way like what the ATP did with first become the best NextGen guy. I think for that reason, I think it's worked very well.
Q. Medvedev just won, so you're playing him next. He's one of the people who plays with more variety than most, I think, on the ATP side right now. There seems to be a lot of women who have had variety as a primary weapon in their games, whether it's Hingis or Radwanska or Su-Wei Shea, but not as many on the men's side maybe since Santoro or something. I'm curious if you think that could ever be possible on the men's side in this day and age, more players with that kind of craft and mixing it up be really their plan A for their game.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it's possible. Just need to have enough firepower from time to time. I mean, at the end of the day, just playing with feel is not enough, will not be enough. But if you combine it with the right sort of amount of power and being able to absorb pace, as well, redirect, you know, I think it's absolutely possible.
I'm not quite sure how much Medvedev falls in that category. You think he does. I'm not sure. He plays from far back and can play in, as well, so there is some variety there, but other than that, he plays very flat, you know, for me. He's clever how he, you know, plays the court, because he can play it up and down, and he's unusual when he plays from back. He plays more flat than actually loopy like what Thiem does or Rafa or Stan does. He plays it more flat from the back. It's a bit of a different approach.
Thankfully I played him last year twice in Basel and Shanghai. I'm looking forward to the game. But I'm very impressed about his progress, you know. I must say the last year has been unbelievable for him. I think he's won three tournaments in the last seven months or so, six months. Very impressive. Yeah, variety definitely has a place in our game and will always have.
Q. What, if anything, do you feel like you've sacrificed to stay at this high of a level for so long?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I guess school, to some extent. I stopped at 16. I would have continued, I guess, if I wasn't a tennis player. I mean, I guess friendships, you know, the ones you make from 16 to 20 in that time, you know. So my friends come from other places and from other walk of life. But the sacrifices were worth it, and I would do it maybe not exactly all over again, but I was happy I chose the road I chose and I was allowed to by my parents.
Q. When we come to the majors, we talk about players starting to peak at a certain time in an event. This is just short of the number of days of a major. So where do you think you are at the moment? How much further do you think you need to be lifting, and when did you feel you need to peak at a tournament like this?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure how much it is peaking, to be honest. I think it's about maintaining maybe also a certain level, because things happen very quickly. This is not best-of-five-set tennis. It's best-of-three. You can have a bad few minutes at the beginning of the game, like I had against Albot, or you can have it, I don't know, maybe for Krajinovic today, bad end of the set, bad start to the next set, and that is it.
So I think it's more of a mental thing, you know, where you have maybe a point is more important than every single point at a slam. Yeah, it just maybe increases the pressure to some extent because you know you can't, after a long rally or a lot of long rallies, you think the other guy is going to fade physically, and usually they don't, because the matches are not long enough. So it's a different approach, as I think it's really about just really being able to maintain a really high level of play.
.And if you can go to the next gear sometimes, great. But I don't expect it, you know. I just guess everybody starts to feel better as you go deeper into the tournament, because everybody is getting used to the conditions.