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View Full Version : Wilander on Federer, Roland Garros and Wimbledon


Marius_Hancu
02-14-2005, 05:28 PM
From r.s.t., translated from French and posted by dikdietrick (thanks).
Not sparing the words, Mats, pretty intransigent.

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Here's a snippet from French Tennis Magazine:

TM: Roger Federer has no full-time coach. The current players, do you
think they need a coach from January to December?

MW: It all depends on the coach they have. Roger Federer doesn't need
Tony Roche for 30 weeks. It's too much for both. 10 weeks, their
choice, that's the rightest one. Sometimes, it's surprising to see
Nadal with coaches whose tennistic past is much more than limited
whereas he should be pictured more with former champions such as Emilio
Sanchez who could teach him important stuff. Those are players who
prefer working on small details, whereas I think you should be more
definitive and say: here's what you do wrong, here's how you can
improve. You also get the feeling that their coach, who haven't been
high-ranked players, do learn at the same time. For example, I'm
worried about somebody like Ferrero who, from the level he's reached so
far, should be able to volley much better than he actually does. Same
for a champion like Hewitt, who has to improve on some points. I'm
admiring Roddick's decision to separate from Brad Gilbert. Because
Gilbert wasn't the one who could have bettered Roddick's backhand or
his game on clay. He was absolutely not interested in all this. I'm
myself not much talking technics in my training way. It's not much what
happens on my side of the court that matters for me, but more what
occurs on the other side of the net.

TM: Speaking of Roger Federer, how do you perceive his domination?

MW: It's so great to see him play that you hardly feel like seeing
somebody else play. I have admiration for Roddick and Hewitt's will,
but Federer is another game topic. The question one might wonder to
ask, if one feels like asking one of course, would be "will he be
physically strong enough to win matches the day his mind would have
remained in his hotel room"? Me for example, it was impossible because
I had to give my best 100% from the first up to the last point. And
from the moment my desire has started decreasing, after winning 3 out of
the 4 GSs in 1988, it was over, it was the end of my career.

TM: Can he win RG?

MW: Of course, he can! He can do whatever suits him on clay and he's
already proved it. If I was in Roger Federer's shoes, and given what he
has already gone through, I would focus mostly on RG. Furthermore, if I
were him, I would be wishing to win the 4 GSs each year. For me, he has
the means to equal the great results of somebody like Rod Laver. But if
he wants to achieve it, he has to ask himself the essential question
right now : how can I put all the chances on my side to win RG? Pete
Sampras for example, has never granted himself the means to achieve it.
And this didn't mean for him to radically change his game on clay. But
in order to be faithfull, he should have trained sufficiently so that
the game which allowed him to win the USO could also allow him to be
the best in Paris. Many people will certainly disagree with what I'm
about to say but for me, RG is the easiest GS you can win. Because ALL
lies in the player's hands. ALL depends on him. You'll never get a
chance to witness 4 aces in a row like in Wimbledon. It's only you who
are building your victory from the beginning till the end of the match.
Why should Federer fail here? Last year, against Kuerten, he had
absolutely taken no risks. It was as if his mind was already wandering
in Wimbledon. And we should therefore stop pretending that Wimbledon is
the most important GS of the year. That's crap. It's the least
important one simply because it's played on a surface on which you
never play anymore.

TM:If you had to change one thing in tennis today...

MW: Precisely Wimbledon. Let's make it be what it was used to be. The
surface has been slowed too much and today, apart from Tim Henman and
Taylor Dent, who plays serve and volley? Nobody! To be lively, the game
needs the contrasts of different styles.

Aykhan Mammadov
02-14-2005, 06:15 PM
Marius,

I intervene into your thread. I also wrote in another thread about the words of Wilander about Pete and Federer. Just to addition for those who don't know Mats Wilander. He is 7 times champion of GS.

FO - 1982
AO -1983
AO-1984
FO-1985
AO-1988
FO-1988
USO - 1988

In doubles he won also Wimbldon and USO in 1986. Maybe since he never won Wimb he considers it the least important ? But I don't agree with him. I consider ( despite I'm not PRO, though was invited to Brasil Open) that the GREAT player must be able to win on any surface, even on the ice if it is necessary. Whatever the surface it is tennis.

Jet Rink
02-14-2005, 08:38 PM
Marius - I don't know how you do it. Another great post.

I firmly believe that Wilander is among the most astute observers of tennis around nowdays. Any chance you have to see/hear him (read: last year's USO or the recently-concluded AO) and my goodness can the guy take apart a players' game.

Hail Mats!

Jet

davey25
02-15-2005, 07:29 AM
I dont understand Mats Wilander saying 30 weeks is too much for both Federer and Roche. Doesnt it make more sense to work together for 30 weeks rather than 10 when you have a coach? I dont understand that philosophy.

rlbjr
02-15-2005, 10:58 AM
Federer couldn't get Roche for 30wks. Probably was lucky to get him for the ten. Roche simply doesn't want or need a full time traveling job again.

Matt H.
02-16-2005, 10:46 PM
I've learned to just shut-up and not question Wilander.

He was interviewed before the Roddick/Johansson match and was talking about how Pim Pim was going to win.

He was interviewed during the Agassi/Federer match at this year's Aussie and talked about how Safin would be the man to stop him.


He was right on just about everything he pointed out in both interviews. I thought his mind was chemically altered at the time, but he shut me (and a lot of other people) up. LOL

swedechris
02-17-2005, 07:21 AM
chemically altered or not.. he is a wiseguy 4 sure in a positive way .. i think mats strength always was , as a player and a coach / observer of the game , to really 'see' it.
he is a very clever guy and he can see what is going on in a match or in a players game and mind. that brought him his success on the court. he anticipated so well and used his wheels and the power of his opponent so well . plus he made player feel awkward out there.. rememember vilas in 81 paris final and connors 84 d.c fnal .. both albeit on clay , but still..
uncanny deception and feel too at the net once he went for it.
here in sweden one could not have aŽbetter d.c. captain .. watch the swedes do very very well in d.c this year ..
the us team must learn form the swedes to be a team not a spoilt brat show.

@wright
02-17-2005, 07:30 AM
Wilander is a great student of the game for sure.

alienhamster
02-17-2005, 08:03 AM
I really liked his take on the French Open, b/c he's sorta right: as much as we all play up how hard it is to win (b/c of all the clay-court specialists), you could also argue that it's easier since you won't get blown off the court by the top guys with big weapons.

I agree with him about Fed and the French, too: I really think this should be his focus this year. If he doesn't win the French in the next couple of years, he could start to develop that mental "Oh no, this is my Achilles' Heel!" thing that so many greats have developed at that one major they can't ever seem to win.

So my question is, why isn't Fed prioritizing the French this year? (I think he's on the record saying his primary focus is to defend Wimbledon and maintain #1).

@wright
02-17-2005, 08:44 AM
Before he said his priority was Wimbledon, I saw an interview where he said it was Roland Garros, so I think he'll try to win it.

Kaptain Karl
02-17-2005, 08:56 AM
I wonder how much ... money ... has changed the players' focus?

IMO, Federer has the best game / chance to win the Grand Slam. And he's the first man in a long time I've thought *could*. (If Safin can stabilize his mind, I'd be inclined to think he could, too. But that's still a big "IF".)

I don't know the details -- and am not curious enough to do the research required -- but I do wonder if prize money, appearance fees, sponsorships, advertising contracts, etc. have shifted the focus of the men over the last 20 years...?

Maybe the Grand Slam is not ... lucrative enough ... compared to the ancillary income they can earn?

Anyone else?

- KK

davey25
02-17-2005, 02:17 PM
I really liked his take on the French Open, b/c he's sorta right: as much as we all play up how hard it is to win (b/c of all the clay-court specialists), you could also argue that it's easier since you won't get blown off the court by the top guys with big weapons.

I agree with him about Fed and the French, too: I really think this should be his focus this year. If he doesn't win the French in the next couple of years, he could start to develop that mental "Oh no, this is my Achilles' Heel!" thing that so many greats have developed at that one major they can't ever seem to win.

So my question is, why isn't Fed prioritizing the French this year? (I think he's on the record saying his primary focus is to defend Wimbledon and maintain #1).

Probably because he knows the only way he loses at Wimbledon is if he doesnt focus on it properly. On the other hand he could sacrifice his focus for Wimbledon on the French and still not win the French. So it is a pretty easy choice.

HookEmJeff
02-17-2005, 04:06 PM
Thought that was a pretty funny/interesting quote by Wilander about Wimbledon.
Mats' take: "And we should therefore stop pretending that Wimbledon is
the most important GS of the year. That's crap. It's the least
important one simply because it's played on a surface on which you
never play anymore."

I know Mats never won Wimbledon (the only Slam he didn't win) and might have a smidgen of sour grapes attached to that, but I think a lot of people do share that same view, for the very reason that the surface has become outdated for the modern game. Does that make it the least important? I don't know. The least relevant to determining a year-end champion these days, yes it is.

Jeff