Roger answers some of the questions that have been nagging at TTW Fed fans

Otacon

Hall of Fame
7a60b




To get off the beaten track of the traditional Q&A, L'Equipe proposed a game to him: a series of statements that he is free to approve or not before commenting on them.



If you hadn't met Mirka, you wouldn't have won 20 Grand Slam titles.
Phew... yes, I think so. She was so supportive, pushing me towards tennis instead of saying all the time, "Yeah, when did you finish?" She had a lot of impact in my life, but also on a court.

If Nadal had been right-handed, you would have 25 Grand Slam titles.
Right now, I would say no. Because I'm not sure that I would have beaten him more often. And I'm still convinced that if it hadn't been him, it would have been someone else. It happened that way.

Beating Pete Sampras in 2001 was a lot to take.
No. It was a great experience that gave me a boost and a better understanding that you can't just push a button and say, "Okay, I'll play like I did against Sampras. I thought about it for a few months after that win and I realized that not many players play like Sampras and you don't always feel like you did at Wimbledon that day. The win wasn't too much of a burden, but what was more of a burden was hearing over and over, "You're the next Sampras." Early in my career, when I was already being told that, I felt like I didn't deserve the comparison to Pete. And even then, after that win, it was no more justified, by the way.

You owe a lot to the Peruvian Luis Horna, who beat you in the first round of the French Open in 2003, before your first title at Wimbledon a few days later.
No, I owe more to my mental strength. Horna was just an opponent at that moment. It's true that it started the machine a little bit. It was an experience that allowed me to understand how to manage a Grand Slam, how to manage matches. I stopped underestimating some players and thinking that I could win the French Open or even just make the quarterfinals. It's true that this match certainly created something. But there have been many matches like this in my career. This is not the only one.

82 unforced errors in a single match, that can't have happened very often...
(Laughs.) I didn't know where the court was that day!

Without winning the French Open in 2009, but with 23 Grand Slam titles, your career would not be as successful.
Fifty-fitfy. There are many players who have not won the French Open and yet have complete careers. Today, in 2022, you have to have won everything, beaten all the records, otherwise you have not succeeded... (He stops.) No, I choose the 20 with the French.

If Robin Söderling hadn't beaten Rafael Nadal that year, you would never have won the French Open.
(Long hesitation.) I say no. Of course, there's no guarantee, but I think I would have managed to win the French in one way or another.

The 2003 YEC is one of the most important tournaments of your life.
Yes. I've said it many times, it gave me the confidence to beat the best players from the baseline. I remember when the group came out, with Agassi, Nalbandian and Ferrero, who were all baseline players, I thought I'd try to play them from the back of the court to see what happens. There was that mega-match at the beginning against Agassi (6-7, 6-3, 7-6 win) and the rest is history (final win against Agassi, again, in the final). But that's where I proved to myself that I can play any type of player and beat them at their best. I gained the ultimate confidence there.

Nobody will ever match the "monster" you created between 2004 and 2007.
I say it will happen again. Because it's easier today to win on any surface. The possibility is real. I don't have in mind the best years of Rafa or Novak, but they were very close, right? I see a lot of records falling in the next 50 years and that's normal, because the players are going to be focused on that. But it's not going to be easy because it's long, and it's a lot of matches!

During this period of domination and until 2010, you played 23 semifinals in a row in Grand Slam. That's your craziest stat.
Yes, it probably is. 23 in a row is huge. Those are kind of abnormal numbers for me. Almost like it's become routine, and I don't mean that in an arrogant way. "Here we go, OK, one more semi, who's going to win? We'll see..." That kind of longevity, I can't believe I've accomplished it in my career. When I hear that, it always strikes me.

In the summer of 2013, following your back problems, you were very close to quitting tennis.
No (firm). No, it was just, I'm not going to say a big deal, but here's the thing, how do I get out of it? I was in pain so much that I couldn't do it anymore. It started in Indian Wells against (Ivan) Dodig, and then I still play Stan (Wawrinka, 7-5 win in the third), and then Rafa (lost 6-4, 6-2) and now I'm not moving. I play in a completely different way. Then it was really fragile for a long time. When the back is not good, it is not good. Towards the end of the year, it was a little bit better, but it was a very difficult year. It changed the way I engaged on defensive shots. At some point, I was able to get away from that. But thinking about quitting, no, never.

Some said at the time that at 32, it was perhaps time to stop...
(He cuts off.) But it's always the same, it was the same at Wimbledon last year when they said "Oh yeah, this isn't the same anymore .... "There was not ONE question at the press conference about my knee, which for me is phenomenal! Because that's all I could think about! For months, every day, every hour, every minute. And finally, I don't even have to explain myself about the knee. I was happy, by the way, but at the same time, I didn't understand what people had seen. Either I hide my problems so well, or people don't understand or don't want to talk about it because they're nice. And 2013 was the same way. People judge you without knowing. You can't reveal everything, but deep down you know, "If you knew what I was going through right now..." It's hard because you almost want to say, "I can't, I have a sore back, guys!" "OK then, why are you playing?" "Well, it's still okay just to try...". Those are moments I'm glad I don't have to live through anymore. Every time you say you're hurting or something, it's "Ah, the guy is a sore loser..." It's a super thin line. I tried to handle those moments as best I could, but, inevitably, I made mistakes in that area.
 

Otacon

Hall of Fame
Your perfect match is the 2004 US Open final against Hewitt (win 6-0, 7-6, 6-0).
I've said many times that if I had a replay, this would be it. In a Grand Slam final, to start and finish 6-0, I think that's fabulous. It will be interesting to see how many times this kind of match will be repeated in the future. Usually, in a Grand Slam final, you have someone in front of you who causes you problems. Plus, Hewitt, for me, was a problem. It was really in that match that wow, I felt like everything I was doing, the different variations, it was amazing. That's when I really settled in as world number one, so that was a very special match, yeah.

Better than against Andy Roddick in the final of Wimbledon 2005 (victory 6-2, 7-6, 6-4) ?
Against Andy, I also felt that I was in the zone, that nothing could happen to me. But Hewitt came first, that's why I retain this match.

This state of absolute invincibility happened to you often?
Well, sometimes, fortunately. Let's say, a good ten times, in any case. But you get in that state when you're ahead in the score, when you feel the ball, when you hit your forehands on the line, in the corner, on a difficult passing shot that you try anyway because it's become normal because you're so serene... I really appreciate having had those moments several times. Because it's the ultimate dream for any athlete.

If you were to replay just one point from your career, it would be the second championship point at Wimbledon in 2019.
Um... I have to think about it, because there have been several of these points (he thinks). I say yes. Because it's true that it was important, and I can't think of any others right now, even though I know there have been many, many others. I think of Wimbledon 2008 against Rafa. The 2009 US Open against Delpo, which is still a defeat that hurts me today because I think I could have won. But I wonder if there wasn't something against Rafa at some point at the French, a point that could have turned a match in my direction... So I say yes because at least I know what point you're talking about, I still see how it goes.

If you had to keep only one Grand Slam title, it would be the 2017 Australian Open.
(Without hesitation.) I say no! I say 2003, Wimbledon. It's the first one, it launches everything. It's a dream come true. If the career ends there, I'm happy. 2017, it was in a completely different state and situation. It was epic, yes. But if there's no 2003, there are no others.

Without Nadal and Djokovic, you wouldn't have invented SABR in 2015.
(He wonders.) Why did I invent SABR, again? For me, it had nothing to do with the other two, anyway. In fact, I made it that way while laughing with Benoît Paire, once in Cincinnati (in 2015), during a first training session with jet lag (he takes a long breath). Oh yes, because Seve wanted me to get back on the court, And, so I say to him: "You mean like this?" (He mimes a shot on the rise). And it all started from there. There had already been an attempt in Switzerland during a training session, if I remember well, but it is with Benoît that it took shape. I was doing such crazy things, winner, tac, ping-pong, you couldn't believe it, we were all laughing together, you'll have to ask Benoît one day. It was a training completely relaxed. You arrive around 3pm, your match is at 8pm, at nightfall, we were alone on the center court, it was beautiful...

Without Djokovic and Nadal, you would have stopped your career earlier.
No, I don't think so. I would have found other sources of motivation to keep going.

You have sometimes dreamed of ending your career with a Grand Slam victory, like Sampras.
I would say yes, in a certain vision. But it should have been decided before. You can't say, "Oh, that sounds good, here", without talking to the team, without talking to your family, nothing. Like, "You know what, I'm going to marry you!" You still have to take the time. I've never made decisions like that. But it's true that it would have been nice, even if Sampras didn't announced it right away. He waited for a while to make up his mind, it's different to take the microphone at the moment. Anyway, as I say now, it's the end of a fairy tale.

In the end, it's your game more than your record that leaves a mark on the history of tennis.
Yes, I was surprised to see how much people talked about my personality or my game as being what will remain in the sport. I thought everyone was going to jump on the super records, what I did or didn't do, when in fact they didn't. The notion of longevity, the fact of having known the older generation is more important. After 2009, once I managed to break the record of Grand Slam titles, the situation changed. In fact, to a certain extent, I was playing against myself before the others (Nadal and Djokovic) joined me. The next 13 years were different. Like another career.

Do you regret never having played Carlos Alcaraz?
Of course, it's disappointing that I never got to play against him. Obviously, I followed closely what he did at the US Open and throughout the year. It was fantastic, his game is brilliant and I always said that there would always be new superstars in tennis. He is one of them. Sometimes people tend not to believe it, like when Pete and Andre left. They thought, "What are we going to get now?" Well, it was Novak, Rafa, myself, Murray, Stan... I have a funny anecdote with Carlos, because I trained with him at Wimbledon when he was still a junior. I thought he was already playing well. It was like a warm-up. And Juan Carlos (Ferrero, his coach) was there. The next day, on my day off, we did it again, as we often do when you train with someone. But I said, "I'd rather hit with Juan Carlos," just because I'm super laid back in practice and I felt like playing with Ferrero for fun. It was great. He didn't miss a single ball. He could still be on the tour. I'm really happy that they are both so successful together.

Sometimes you go on vacation to Manacor to remind Rafa that you beat him in your last match.
(He laughs.) But I don't even know where it was the last time we played each other! Wimbledon 2019? I couldn't even remember. No, I see myself going on vacation there and sending my kids to the academy. Besides, we've already talked about it with Mirka. I won't remind him that, this is not my style. I know a lot of athletes do it, but I'm not like that at all, it's not me.
 
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slipgrip93

Professional
Fun read. Maybe good stuff to also use in a future auto-bio book by Fed. ( I have Sampras' auto-bio also like as a 'coffee table' book ).
 

jl809

Hall of Fame
If Robin Söderling hadn't beaten Rafael Nadal that year, you would never have won the French Open.

If you were to replay just one point from your career, it would be the second championship point at Wimbledon in 2019.

You have sometimes dreamed of ending your career with a Grand Slam victory, like Sampras.
o_O ****ing hell, this interviewer was not mucking around

Credit to the interviewer though because this ended up being pretty revealing. Especially his stuff about setting the record and his match regrets
 

Fedforever

Hall of Fame
What a great idea to do it like this. Answers so much more interesting.

And this is exactly what I've been boring everyone with on the Tributes thread so I'm delighted to see it.

I was surprised to see how much people talked about my personality or my game as being what will remain in the sport. I thought everyone was going to jump on the super records, what I did or didn't do, when in fact they didn't.
 

UnderratedSlam

G.O.A.T.
Most interesting interview questions he's been asked ever possibly, rather than the usual travel, fashion etc.
Finally some real questions - dumb as some of they may be. But at least they're honest and common questions.

I wish he could have answered 500 more questions from fans, to debunk another 100 myths.
 
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BGod

G.O.A.T.
Fed is delusional thinking he'd win the French one way or another. 2011 would be his only legitimate shot after 09 and I don't see it less chokey than what happened in our timeline. He absolutely owes Soderling that title.

He's also playing coy saying he'd have lost to other people if Nadal was right handed.

These kind of interviews are fun but between the lines you again get that massive ego shining through especially "I'd have found other motivation" if he was at 25+ and nobody close. When I 2010 he was admitting in interviews he created a monster winning so much. I mean I just see no way 17-19 happens without Big 2, he said he thought he wouldn't have surgeries so without those two he'd just have retired.


On not playing Alcaraz I think point is moot he played plenty Next Genners.

Tsitsipas
Felix
Shap
Ruud
Zverev
Daniil

I don't think Sinner/Alcaraz are going to be giants of the game.
 

big ted

Legend
Good interview by Fed but the “I would have won the French open one way or another” BS. LOL. How and when exactly if he didn’t win it in 2009?

well technically they just asked him what if rafa beat soderling... rafa was having issues so maybe he thinks rafa was vulnerable enough to lose to someone eventually
 

big ted

Legend
they asked him about replaying a wimbledon '19 match point, i wish they would have asked him
what or if he would have done anything differently.. theres been so many threads that he "choked" (i dont think so),
but if he went into more detail maybe he would have laid that choke theory to rest lol
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
Your perfect match is the 2004 US Open final against Hewitt (win 6-0, 7-6, 6-0).
I've said many times that if I had a replay, this would be it. In a Grand Slam final, to start and finish 6-0, I think that's fabulous. It will be interesting to see how many times this kind of match will be repeated in the future. Usually, in a Grand Slam final, you have someone in front of you who causes you problems. Plus, Hewitt, for me, was a problem. It was really in that match that wow, I felt like everything I was doing, the different variations, it was amazing. That's when I really settled in as world number one, so that was a very special match, yeah.

Better than against Andy Roddick in the final of Wimbledon 2005 (victory 6-2, 7-6, 6-4) ?
Against Andy, I also felt that I was in the zone, that nothing could happen to me. But Hewitt came first, that's why I retain this match.

This state of absolute invincibility happened to you often?
Well, sometimes, fortunately. Let's say, a good ten times, in any case. But you get in that state when you're ahead in the score, when you feel the ball, when you hit your forehands on the line, in the corner, on a difficult passing shot that you try anyway because it's become normal because you're so serene... I really appreciate having had those moments several times. Because it's the ultimate dream for any athlete.

If you were to replay just one point from your career, it would be the second championship point at Wimbledon in 2019.
Um... I have to think about it, because there have been several of these points (he thinks). I say yes. Because it's true that it was important, and I can't think of any others right now, even though I know there have been many, many others. I think of Wimbledon 2008 against Rafa. The 2009 US Open against Delpo, which is still a defeat that hurts me today because I think I could have won. But I wonder if there wasn't something against Rafa at some point at the French, a point that could have turned a match in my direction... So I say yes because at least I know what point you're talking about, I still see how it goes.

If you had to keep only one Grand Slam title, it would be the 2017 Australian Open.
(Without hesitation.) I say no! I say 2003, Wimbledon. It's the first one, it launches everything. It's a dream come true. If the career ends there, I'm happy. 2017, it was in a completely different state and situation. It was epic, yes. But if there's no 2003, there are no others.

Without Nadal and Djokovic, you wouldn't have invented SABR in 2015.
(He wonders.) Why did I invent SABR, again? For me, it had nothing to do with the other two, anyway. In fact, I made it that way while laughing with Benoît Paire, once in Cincinnati (in 2015), during a first training session with jet lag (he takes a long breath). Oh yes, because Seve wanted me to get back on the court, And, so I say to him: "You mean like this?" (He mimes a shot on the rise). And it all started from there. There had already been an attempt in Switzerland during a training session, if I remember well, but it is with Benoît that it took shape. I was doing such crazy things, winner, tac, ping-pong, you couldn't believe it, we were all laughing together, you'll have to ask Benoît one day. It was a training completely relaxed. You arrive around 3pm, your match is at 8pm, at nightfall, we were alone on the center court, it was beautiful...

Without Djokovic and Nadal, you would have stopped your career earlier.
No, I don't think so. I would have found other sources of motivation to keep going.

You have sometimes dreamed of ending your career with a Grand Slam victory, like Sampras.
I would say yes, in a certain vision. But it should have been decided before. You can't say, "Oh, that sounds good, here", without talking to the team, without talking to your family, nothing. Like, "You know what, I'm going to marry you!" You still have to take the time. I've never made decisions like that. But it's true that it would have been nice, even if Sampras didn't announced it right away. He waited for a while to make up his mind, it's different to take the microphone at the moment. Anyway, as I say now, it's the end of a fairy tale.

In the end, it's your game more than your record that leaves a mark on the history of tennis.
Yes, I was surprised to see how much people talked about my personality or my game as being what will remain in the sport. I thought everyone was going to jump on the super records, what I did or didn't do, when in fact they didn't. The notion of longevity, the fact of having known the older generation is more important. After 2009, once I managed to break the record of Grand Slam titles, the situation changed. In fact, to a certain extent, I was playing against myself before the others (Nadal and Djokovic) joined me. The next 13 years were different. Like another career.

Do you regret never having played Carlos Alcaraz?
Of course, it's disappointing that I never got to play against him. Obviously, I followed closely what he did at the US Open and throughout the year. It was fantastic, his game is brilliant and I always said that there would always be new superstars in tennis. He is one of them. Sometimes people tend not to believe it, like when Pete and Andre left. They thought, "What are we going to get now?" Well, it was Novak, Rafa, myself, Murray, Stan... I have a funny anecdote with Carlos, because I trained with him at Wimbledon when he was still a junior. I thought he was already playing well. It was like a warm-up. And Juan Carlos (Ferrero, his coach) was there. The next day, on my day off, we did it again, as we often do when you train with someone. But I said, "I'd rather hit with Juan Carlos," just because I'm super laid back in practice and I felt like playing with Ferrero for fun. It was great. He didn't miss a single ball. He could still be on the tour. I'm really happy that they are both so successful together.

Sometimes you go on vacation to Manacor to remind Rafa that you beat him in your last match.
(He laughs.) But I don't even know where it was the last time we played each other! Wimbledon 2019? I couldn't even remember. No, I see myself going on vacation there and sending my kids to the academy. Besides, we've already talked about it with Mirka. I won't remind him that, this is not my style. I know a lot of athletes do it, but I'm not like that at all, it's not me.
Thanks for posting.
A really good read.
 
Really interesting straightforward answers from Roger. Picking Wimbledon 2003 as his most important GS title with no hesitation whatsoever is really sweet. I immediately remembered his emotional post-match interview. The way Roger still - almost 20 years and a bizarrely successful career later - has so much appreciation for his first dream win is really sweet. Federer just makes me love him more with every interview. :giggle:

And for sure, L'Equipe aced this edition. The cover is amazing, the idea with the Q&A and the questions were awesome - great job all around!
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
To get off the beaten track of the traditional Q&A, L'Equipe proposed a game to him: a series of statements that he is free to approve or not before commenting on them.

If you hadn't met Mirka, you wouldn't have won 20 Grand Slam titles.
Phew... yes, I think so. I would have won 23 Slams if I had married Belinda Bencic.

If Nadal had been right-handed, you would have 25 Grand Slam titles.
Right now, I would say yes. In fact, Nadal would not even be in the top 100 if he was a rightie.

Without winning the French Open in 2009, but with 23 Grand Slam titles, your career would not be as successful.
Correct

If Robin Söderling hadn't beaten Rafael Nadal that year, you would never have won the French Open.
Correct. That was the luckiest incident in my career because Nadal is unbeatable at RG.
 

Wander

Hall of Fame
Fed is delusional thinking he'd win the French one way or another. 2011 would be his only legitimate shot after 09 and I don't see it less chokey than what happened in our timeline. He absolutely owes Soderling that title.
He could've beaten Rafa at 2009 RG anyway since Rafa wasn't playing that well that year and might have had some physical issue too. I mean Roger had already beaten him in Madrid that year.

The other thing is that as the whole timeline of things would've changed with Nadal beating Söderling, it's impossible to predict the future outcomes in the following years.
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
He could've beaten Rafa at 2009 RG anyway since Rafa wasn't playing that well that year and might have had some physical issue too. I mean Roger had already beaten him in Madrid that year.

The other thing is that as the whole timeline of things would've changed with Nadal beating Söderling, it's impossible to predict the future outcomes in the following years.
Nadal beat Hewitt 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the R32 at the 2009 French Open. It was a brilliant performance. There wasn't the slightest hint of what was coming in Nadal's next match. Federer beat Nadal 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the 2007 Hamburg final, but Nadal beat Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the 2007 French Open final.

Federer did well to win the 2009 French Open, because the pressure must have been massive once Nadal was out. Haas nearly knocked him out after that. Del Potro almost did the same in the semis.
 

GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
One thing is for sure. There is a lot to be gleaned from what Roger doesn't broach...

Novak has definitely cast a bigger shadow on his mind than he's willing to let on just from the sheer lack of earnest opinions about him.

IMO Roger knows Nadal can be cast as a clay court specialist in thought circles that are sympathetic to him. Novak escapes such easy categorization and therefore, losses to him on hard courts/grass are harder to explain away.
 

Wander

Hall of Fame
Nadal beat Hewitt 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the R32 at the 2009 French Open. It was a brilliant performance. There wasn't the slightest hint of what was coming in Nadal's next match. Federer beat Nadal 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the 2007 Hamburg final, but Nadal beat Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the 2007 French Open final.

Federer did well to win the 2009 French Open, because the pressure must have been massive once Nadal was out. Haas nearly knocked him out after that. Del Potro almost did the same in the semis.
Yet Rafa didn't play again after that match until 2.5 months later (skipped the entire grass court season) citing tendinitis in both knees.

No offense to Hewitt but by 2009 he was a complete non-factor and playing like any typical unseeded player in the Grand Slams.

Söderling was the first dangerous opponent Nadal faced at RG that year, and he exposed Nadal.

If you look at that match, Söderling played a good match but he didn't need to be extraordinary since Nadal was not up to his typical level.

Federer was always going to win that tournament. That's my opinion anyway.
 
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Mustard

Bionic Poster
Yet Rafa didn't play again after that match until 2.5 months later (skipped the entire grass court season) citing tendinitis in both knees.

No offense to Hewitt but by 2009 he was a complete non-factor and playing like any typical unseeded player in the Grand Slams.

Söderling was the first dangerous opponent Nadal faced at RG that year, and he exposed Nadal.

If you look at that match, Söderling played a good match but he didn't need to be extraordinary since Nadal was not up to his typical level.

Federer was always going to win that tournament. That's my opinion anyway.
Tendinitis flares up and cools down. It had been building up in the weeks prior, but that day against Hewitt must have been a brief respite. Nadal and Hewitt met each other 4 times at the French Open (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010) and the 2009 match was the most one-sided. Soderling's win over Ferrer in the previous round before facing Nadal was a little bit of a surprise, and it was the first time that Soderling had reached the Round of 16 at a major. 1 month earlier in Rome, Nadal beat Soderling 6-1, 6-0.
 

DjokoLand

Hall of Fame
Unfortunately he will lose most(has lost) all main records but no doubt the biggest draw in tennis with the slickest game it was just so easy on the eye.

I think he’s biggest mistake was not adjusting to Nadal early in his career with that BH instead of being arrogant (fair after so much success) as I feel this cost him slams and let Nadal get the mental edge.

All in all he will go down as the biggest face of tee is and loads of peoples goat. I still feel if you gave Fed Djokovic’s mental game he wins 30+. Same if you gave Nadal and Djokovic his talent they win 30+ too. Mad to say it but he could/should of won more
 

GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
No. It was a great experience that gave me a boost and a better understanding that you can't just push a button and say, "Okay, I'll play like I did against Sampras. I thought about it for a few months after that win and I realized that not many players play like Sampras and you don't always feel like you did at Wimbledon that day. The win wasn't too much of a burden, but what was more of a burden was hearing over and over, "You're the next Sampras." Early in my career, when I was already being told that, I felt like I didn't deserve the comparison to Pete. And even then, after that win, it was no more justified, by the way
Poor baby Fed... err Dimitrov
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
One thing is for sure. There is a lot to be gleaned from what Roger doesn't broach...

Novak has definitely cast a bigger shadow on his mind than he's willing to let on just from the sheer lack of earnest opinions about him.

IMO Roger knows Nadal can be cast as a clay court specialist in thought circles that are sympathetic to him. Novak escapes such easy categorization and therefore, losses to him on hard courts/grass are harder to explain away.
I think it’s a lot harder for a competitor to admit “I’m not what I once was” and since most of his losses to Djokovic came as a geriatric pensioner in his 30s it’s a lot easier for us as fans to make excuses than the man himself.

I mean this is the guy who said he was a better player at 34 than 24, lol. He feels like he should have won those matches bc he doesn’t acknowledge his decline in old age the same way we do.

There’s this awful trope on TTW where fans separate players as if they are unique human beings — I.e. “peak Fed” vs post prime Fed or “Nadal on clay” vs “off clay” - like no, you can’t split someone’s career by choice.

The player himself can’t split himself into peak and post peak versions. they wake up in the same body every day as the same human being with the same motivation, high standards, and will to win no matter what phase of their career it is.
 

GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
I think it’s a lot harder for a competitor to admit “I’m not what I once was” and since most of his losses to Djokovic came as a geriatric pensioner in his 30s it’s a lot easier for us as fans to make excuses than the man himself.

I mean this is the guy who said he was a better player at 34 than 24, lol. He feels like he should have won those matches bc he doesn’t acknowledge his decline in old age the same way we do.

Novak has been an usurper right from the beginnings of their rivalry.

Simply the fact that he's a far more potent HC/ grass opponent than Rafa (who's plagued Roger more on clay) made it difficult for Roger to acknowledge Novak's greatness as it directly diminishes his own prowess on those surfaces.
 

McGradey

Hall of Fame
One thing is for sure. There is a lot to be gleaned from what Roger doesn't broach...

Novak has definitely cast a bigger shadow on his mind than he's willing to let on just from the sheer lack of earnest opinions about him.

IMO Roger knows Nadal can be cast as a clay court specialist in thought circles that are sympathetic to him. Novak escapes such easy categorization and therefore, losses to him on hard courts/grass are harder to explain away.

If one thing is for sure, it's that people on this forum think about all these minutiae a lot more than the players themselves do. As if Federer spends time thinking about what sort of categorisation Nadal falls into as a player or how losses can be 'explained away'. Read his responses to the questions and it's easy to see he just doesn't think that way.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
Throughout the years in the way that he answers the questions, Federer has been incredibly consistent and even before you read the answers you kind of know what he’s going to say because he has a certain mentality and of course all great champions have to have that. The same is true about Nadal in all his interviews. Djokovic is a little bit different because I think it’s a little bit more philosophical on certain things but you can see his mindset on certain things, too.
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
Very good interview.

Nice that he brought up the impact that 2003 YEC had on his game.
That Agassi RR match (everyone knows the final by now but not the deadlocked double tiebreak match) is amazing. He legitimately blossoms into something special during the match, to this day I’ve rarely seen anything like it in sport. Culminating in one of the best MP saves ever and one of Fed’s best passing shots of his entire career. My favorite Fed-Agassi match.
 
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DjokoLand

Hall of Fame
Very good interview.

Nice that he brought up the impact that 2003 YEC had on his game.
Most fans seem to think Fed was this unstoppable player when younger but anyone that watched tennis then knew he was a super talent kid lacking consistency, mental and championship experience and didn’t put it all together til late 21/22 years old.
 

arvind13

Professional
Novak has been an usurper right from the beginnings of their rivalry.

Simply the fact that he's a far more potent HC/ grass opponent than Rafa (who's plagued Roger more on clay) made it difficult for Roger to acknowledge Novak's greatness as it directly diminishes his own prowess on those surfaces.

how does it diminish his own prowess? except for 2008 AO, all of his losses to novak on wimbledon and us open came when he was past his prime. and even when novak was at his peak 2011-2012, federer beat him at 2 slams and was a matchpoint away from beating him at another. so how again does it diminish fed's greatness? i agree that djokovic was better than nadal on grass and hard courts. but prime to prime fed was better than djokovic on fast/medium hardcourts, and grass. on clay I would say they are even. on slow hard courts djokovic was better. @abmk can chime in ;)
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Novak has been an usurper right from the beginnings of their rivalry.

Simply the fact that he's a far more potent HC/ grass opponent than Rafa (who's plagued Roger more on clay) made it difficult for Roger to acknowledge Novak's greatness as it directly diminishes his own prowess on those surfaces.

how does it diminish his own prowess? except for 2008 AO, all of his losses to novak on wimbledon and us open came when he was past his prime. and even when novak was at his peak 2011-2012, federer beat him at 2 slams and was a matchpoint away from beating him at another. so how again does it diminish fed's greatness? i agree that djokovic was better than nadal on grass and hard courts. but prime to prime fed was better than djokovic on fast/medium hardcourts, and grass. on clay I would say they are even. on slow hard courts djokovic was better. @abmk can chime in ;)

I agree with arvind13 here.
Fed's easily better on grass and medium-fast HCs.
I mean 12 fed beat prime Djoko in Wim 12 fairly comfortably.
Fed lost 1 set combined in their 3 USO matches in 07-09. Djoko's least closest win at USO - 15 USO was tougher/closer than fed's toughest win - USO 08.
Also 11 fed was up 2 sets to love and had MPs vs the absolute best version of Djokovic at USO.

Fed peaked higher at RG IMO. won RG 2009 semi vs delpo vs djoko losing 2015 RG vs stan. fed also won RG 2011. djoko's only edge at RG prime to prime is taking nadal to 5 in 13. about even at Monte Carlo, djoko clearly better at Rome and fed clearly better at Madrid/Hamburg.

Fed was at 15 slams at the end of 2010 with Djokovic at 1 slam. So how can djokovic be the usurper?

But I will say one thing that some people do tend to (unfairly) bring down fed on slow HC due to Djokovic. fed was nowhere near his best in any of those 4 AO encounters vs DJokovic just as Djoko wasn't in AO 07. not even fed's top 6 (prime level - AO 04-07,09-10) or even top 7(including AO 12)

As far as those bringing up Wim h2h , that can can be easily dismissed as highly biased/ignorant. I mean fed was frickin ~33+ from Wim 14 onwards. past his prime or prime-ish fed at best 12 fed beat prime Djoko in Wim 12 fairly comfortably.
 
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abmk

Bionic Poster
I think it’s a lot harder for a competitor to admit “I’m not what I once was” and since most of his losses to Djokovic came as a geriatric pensioner in his 30s it’s a lot easier for us as fans to make excuses than the man himself.

I mean this is the guy who said he was a better player at 34 than 24, lol. He feels like he should have won those matches bc he doesn’t acknowledge his decline in old age the same way we do.

I'm pretty sure fed knew he was not what he once was and he was saying that 34 vs 24 stuff to not show vulnerabilities when playing competitively.
Now that he's retiring, he's saying what he really believes.
 
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