How happiness helps Roger Federer
Before the Dubai Duty Free tournament in UAE in February, journalists sat down for a roundtable discussion with Roger Federer. Here’s an excerpt:
Question: How do you keep your motivation?
Answer: Got to be all these resets. You know, after every tournament there is a new plan, after every loss there’s a new plan. There is something else you can look forward to, you have to readjust. After a great start at Brisbane, how do you get set for Australia. So then you have to focus on that. Then once that was over how do you utilize the time between the match with Seppi and my first match here the best possible way so you play well here, and that you’re going to stay healthy and motivated and moving forward. I guess being happy in your personal life helps! To be honest it’s so much easier to travel the road and all that. I mean I like to play tennis, so that part is quite easy going to practice. I’m going to play matches at the end of the day. That’s what I’m here for: to play matches.
Q: How about the Seppi match (which Federer lost in Melbourne)?
A: Just a bad match for me. Not good enough the way I played, because I actually thought I played very well throughout Australia at Brisbane and the first couple of matches in Melbourne. I knew I could have done something really special over there, but it was disappointing you know. Unfortunately it was just one of those things that I won the points that I shouldn’t have and I lost the ones that I should have won. I wasn’t able to play offensive enough for some reason The wind was a bigger problem for me than it was for him, and I started to play careful and in the end I paid my price for that. My bad!
Q: Did it make you rethink your strategy?
A: No it actually gave me more time off, so I’m thankful for Seppi! That night I had champagne with my team and as I said, thanks to Giuseppe I had more days off. That’s how I see it: five more days off. I used some of that time for practicing, and I hoped that I would come back stronger. That’s the goal after a loss like that! You don’t start questioning things. All you do is figure out how you bounce back as quickly as possible, because I actually did very well!
Q: At the end of last year you were almost number one. Is that the thought in your head now?
A: Not really, I mean I know I basically should have won the Australian Open to get a shot at being number one again. So for the moment that’s totally out of the question. I’m too far away from Novak. He’s playing very well at the moment. So it’s just back to normal week to week and you just try to make the best possible results. I actually was surprised that I got so close at the end of last year and played that well, so I created some opportunities by beating Novak. if I would have won Wimbledon maybe things would have been different. But you know how it is “if”. It was very close obviously so those points I didn’t win at Wimbledon would have allowed me to get close — extremely close — to be number one. But then again I had a great year, I’m not disappointed that I didn’t get to number one. I mean Novak played so well, he really deserved it. Now we are where we are and I’m just enjoying myself and play as well as I can. I’m trying to beat him it’s how it’s always been!
Q: So what is the reason for skipping Miami?
A: It was just a matter of changing up my schedule. I’ve played Miami so many times! I didn’t like the idea of losing the week between Indian Wells and Miami, so it allows me to play a tournament more on clay, to practice more. It also allows me to take two more days off. A week in a tennis player’s life is a big deal so that’s why decided to do that. I decided to cut the hard court season shorter. I decided to play in Istanbul. I have heard unbelievable things about the city. So I was like okay that’s my trade-off.
Q: Does that make the schedule fresher?
A: Yeah I mean most people don’t understand how nice it is to go to a place for the first or second time. People forget how many times you can play Miami or Rome. Eventually you just need to change and freshen up your schedule. So that was the idea behind playing at a tournament in Istanbul instead of Miami.
Q: You’re one of the most respected players in the history of the sport. Do you think players should have a more active role in international affairs?
A: Not really. In the end we’re just tennis players, although we get asked questions about various things. You don’t always have to have an opinion about everything. I understand that you are a leader of a certain sport and people are very curious to hear what you think, but it doesn’t mean that you’re always that happy to talk about it. I take my role as an idol or a role model for kids very seriously. That’s very important especially in tennis or in sports. But if you want to talk about it and utilize the power of the microphone more often, you can. But if you choose not to, that also has to be respected. I try to always answer to anything and everything but sometimes I also have to be careful and I don’t want to say something about certain things, because in the end you’re only a tennis player and it’s important that you know that.
(Photos by Christopher Johnson Globalite Media, all rights reserved)