Tuesday June 21 , 2011
Roger Federer's interview after his win 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 over Mikhail Kukushin at the Wimbledon 2011
LONDON--(LadyDragon.com)21/06/11--Q. Much change from last year's first round?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but the result was the same: I was able to win. But, of course, it's nice to win in straight sets. I thought I played a good match. Tough conditions. It was really windy out there.
The first rounds here at Wimbledon on Centre Court are never easy. They're somewhat nerve wracking because you don't get a chance to practice on the Centre Courts here. So I'm happy I was able to come through in three sets this time around.
Q. The Centre Court was thrilled by your performance today. How satisfying was it to you? How far do you feel you got into the tournament in terms of happiness with your game?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think the first round for me, it's a matter of playing solid and coming through really. I mean, it's maybe in a second round match where I can say more about my level of play. I mean, I think I'm playing well. Look, I'm serving well, moving well.
But obviously, you know, I struggled early on in the first set to get any read on his serve, even though he's not the biggest server. But he served consistent. You know, Centre Court, the surroundings were just a bit off in the beginning, and he did well. That made it difficult.
But then I never really struggled on my serve. I was able to actually cruise almost, you know, through lots of my service games. That then maybe probably relaxed me at times maybe a bit too much. But overall it was a good performance. I was very happy with the match today.
Like I said, conditions were tough. It was really tricky winds out there, which made it also tricky sometimes to time the ball well from the baseline.
I think he played a good match and made it competitive, which I thought was fun.
Q. You've played almost 50 Grand Slams consecutively, no retirements in your career, no major injuries. What's the secret? How do you explain that?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, I don't know. Look, I've had injuries along the way. But here 10 years ago actually when I played Sampras and Henman, I was injured on my groin, which then I had to rest for six weeks, sort of once Gstaad was over after Wimbledon. But I was able to play. I twisted my ankle. I've had other back issues, some other problems throughout my career, which is completely normal.
But it never really, you know, happened in a time during a Grand Slam or in maybe, you know, huge, important match. I was always able to play, even with pain. I think that's something also you learn as a tennis player is, you know, to play with that.
Many matches during my career I've had, you know, pain and issues and whatever, but they don't affect me to the extent that I can't walk on court except once against Blake in Paris. I've been fortunate and I think smart over the years. Today I know my body very well, how much it can take and what it cannot take.
But I've always been able to play full schedules, never missing a part of the season, let's say the indoors, you know, not missing, I don't know, the American tournaments or whatever. I've always been playing from January to November for 12 years basically. That I'm somewhat proud of, I guess.
Q. You talked in Paris about having less pressure. I'm wondering if you feel differently now that you're on this surface, at this tournament, and also your performance in Paris? Do you feel like some of that has shifted back over to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think everybody was talking about less pressure just because of Novak and Rafa. That honestly had nothing to do with me. I think what gave me less pressure in Paris was for years I was always trying to win the French Open, and then finally I did make it, so then I came back as defending champion. Then you have more pressure. That was sort of the second year after I won it.
So I wasn't the defending champion. I wasn't chasing the French Open for the first time. I think that just made it that I had less pressure.
I definitely think also here it's somewhat similar. I can play with a bit less pressure, but at the same time I want to do so well here at Wimbledon because it's some of the big highlights for me during the season, and I've won the tournament six times.
So it feels like if things go well for me, I can go extremely far here; whereas at the French Open I feel it's a bit more on other opponents' racquets. But here I feel it's a bit more on mine. That's why I'll always play with some pressure here at Wimbledon just because of the occasion and what it means to me really. I was nervous going out in today's match really.
Q. Would it mean a lot to you to tie Pete, especially because you're working with Paul?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, it has nothing to do with Paul. But obviously tying Pete in any stats means you're right up there with maybe the greatest, one of the greatest players of all times, and that's always a nice thing.
Winning Wimbledon alone without any records is amazing. Whatever it is, it's positive. Right now I just won my first match, so six more to go. I have to take it one at a time.
Q. You spoke about the longevity of your career. What at this point is the motivation that makes you want to perform and keep on coming back? Has that changed?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think it definitely changes. I think from 18 to 23 to 27 to 32 to whatever after that, you go through different stages of your career.
I mean, later it's somewhat easier because you don't have to break through so much. But you have to prove yourself over and over again to people who just need to see it and be reminded.
For yourself, if you're enjoying it, which is the case with me, and you're physically fit and healthy, I mean, then there is, you know, a lot of chances for me to do great things. I really enjoy it.
I have no problems with the travelling. I love playing against the new generation, you know, with all these young guys around me and stuff, even though they're not that young either anymore. But they're doing great.
I think it's one of the, you know, healthy times in tennis. Even though when I came in, it was fantastic, having Pete and Andre and Henman and Krajicek around, Ivanisevic. Now times have changed and you play against different players. That sometimes takes some getting used to.
Now I really enjoy it. I love playing against those guys, trying to, you know, prove my point, show how good I really am. That's fun. That's what I'm working hard for in the off seasons and try to show it on the match courts.
Q. Your game has a great deal of power, but you're also known for how you play with balance. Talk about that quality in your game. Does that give you a great deal of pleasure playing the game, and has that helped you in terms of injuries?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it has helped me with injuries, yes, that my game is somewhat casual, but in a good way, because I had to work on my casualness. I was very quickly pointed out that if I'm losing I'm not trying, and if I'm winning it's an amazing situation.
So I had to really tie my game together, you know, make it solid casual, really. I think I was able to do that. I worked extremely hard on my fitness and on my mental part of the game. All those things eventually came together and I started to be able to glide around the court with little effort and be very explosive, though.
I think that's what I've done really well. I mean, I think it almost comes out the most on grass today. For instance, when I played, I feel so natural on it. You can cut the points short if you want to. You can play aggressive, you can hit two shot tennis, which then creates some very different type of points.
That's the kind of stuff I love doing. Unfortunately, all the conditions have slowed down immensely over the years. The surfaces are much slower now, so you need to find different ways of winning the point, which is fine. I like to grind it out and go through 10 , 20 shot rallies sometimes to win the point and break the opponent's will down. The game has definitely changed with strings and balls over the last 10 years.
Q. You spoke about the game slowing down. Given that the weather has been typically London, the forecast isn't for one of those really hot summers, does that alter the way the tournament goes for you? Does it play into your hands?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, I mean, look, I guess in some ways I would like to play indoors here for a change, just that I've gotten to know those conditions. But then again, that's what it is. You know, it's the same for both.
Nobody has a huge advantage right now if it goes indoors because nobody's really been there that often. I've played indoors at Halle before on grass. I have somewhat of an idea.
At the end of the day, it is grass and I'm sure the conditions are very much similar, just that maybe the sounds are a bit different and you're not outdoors anymore. You can get a bit unlucky if you're scheduled on the outside courts if not Centre Court. You get maybe pushed forward, like other guys had to finish today and they have to play again tomorrow.
If you get stuck with a tough five setter, you have to come back the next day, which can make it tricky. I've worked hard in my life that I know I can do that, too. You have to be ready for those situations really.
Q. I'm thinking of when it's 80 or 90 degrees for two weeks, and the court dries out a lot more.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, no, for me that has no impact really, the way the court plays. And heat is never going to be Australia like or America like. So for me that wouldn't be a problem anyway.
At the end, it's grass. You take little steps. The ball bounces lower than at other slams. Harder or softer for me, doesn't make a big difference.
Q. Do you plan to watch the Isner/Mahut match? Do you expect if it goes on after 6:00 it will finish?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know when they're playing. I'll try to watch. I hope they can show it on TV, some of it. I think in some ways it's a crazy idea that they're playing again, you know.
But it's wonderful. I think it's great for the fans who missed it last year to just at least go show respect to those guys who hung in there. Isner, who couldn't come out and serve an ace anymore the following match, it was quite rough to watch actually.
My feelings are this is just going to be a somewhat of a normal match, four sets. I hope I'm wrong. I hope it goes again the distance. But it would be rough on them to go through two Wimbledons like that to break each other like that in the first round.
Look, it's great news. I'll try to watch them. I hope it finishes today for them.