R. FEDERER/D. Goffin 5‑7, 7‑5, 6‑2, 6‑4

 

 

ROGER FEDERER

 

 

Q.  In terms of players who have made a first impression on you, where would you rate David Goffin?

ROGER FEDERER:  I thought he played really well.  Great impression.  You know, he took the ball early every time.  Don’t hit a very good shot, he can take advantage of that.

I guess for his size and, you know, he’s not the heaviest guy out there, it’s natural he’s gonna be a good mover, and his strengths lie sort of in the baseline game, right?  That’s what he showed today.  He’s got great potential in terms of his touch and the way he reads the game.  I thought it was an interesting match.

Obviously in some ways I guess it’s tough for me coming out not knowing exactly what his favorite patterns are in the game, the way he serves, when he does what.

But, no, he impressed me, and I enjoyed the match today.

Q.  What was the most impressive thing about him, if you had to give one thing?

ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I think what I mentioned.  I gave many compliments, but I can keep on going.  It’s not a problem for me.

Obviously the way he ‑‑ you know, I think he takes a backhand early and he absorbs pace really well, as well, from the baseline.

You know, I had a very hard time getting control from the baseline.  Obviously the wind wasn’t helping, and maybe I wasn’t playing all that great early on, but that was due also to his great playing.

 

Q.  At one moment I had the impression that ‑‑ it reminded me a little bit of your match against Pete Sampras in 2001 at Wimbledon.  Did you have the same feeling while you were playing?

ROGER FEDERER:  For me it was more the Pat Rafter match here back in ’99 when I got the wildcard into the main draw and I won the first set 7‑5.  And when he won the first set 7‑5, it was like, okay, well, now I’m supposed to win in four sets, no problem.  Like Pat Rafter back then.

He pushed much harder and further than I did.  I lost, you know, without any chance in the second, third, and fourth.  But he really had a big chance.  In that second set, obviously he was getting a bit tired, which is natural.

But you always get a second wind sometimes in best‑of‑five set matches.  Rain could have been in the area, so I had to really make sure I take advantage of his maybe minor slump, and ‑‑ but, you know, he stayed dangerous till the very end, so I’m happy I’m through.

 

Q.  I know it’s difficult to predict, but with your experience, where can he go from here?

ROGER FEDERER:  It is very hard to predict.  Let’s put it that way.  But what I enjoy very much about this story, about David and the way he played today, it’s nice to see someone do it at a Grand Slam again for a change again, because back in the day we were used to seeing Becker winning Wimbledon, Chang winning the French Open at very young ages, even in the women’s game.  It just doesn’t happen so often anymore.

So I guess that’s also why we have this magnitude.  We had many, many players ten years ago at 18, 19, 20, 21 who were making a lot of breakthroughs.  My generation who are ‑‑ most of them still are playing.

And I think he can go very far, you know.  But it’s week in, week out, different surfaces, and different matchups maybe.  Who knows?  Maybe I do match up well for him.  Maybe I don’t.  I still haven’t seen him enough.  I wish he comes through.  And he’s very talented.  And I hope he can make it to the top 20, you know.  That would be great.

 

Q.  Compared to the first days with such hot weather, how was the change today?  How did you adapt to the wind?

ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah.  I mean, look, first things, I was trying to focus on my own game.  When I realized that wasn’t really working, I tried to focus on my opponent.  That wasn’t working a whole lot, either.  The wind was taking away my confidence.  I really struggled for a long time out there.

Conditions are slow.  I really feel it’s not as fast as previous years.  It’s hard to hit through the court.  I think that’s just something I’m still getting used to.  I can’t believe I’m saying this after four rounds here, but I have played on a lot of faster courts the last few months, even Madrid, and then there’s night sessions in Rome and Madrid.  I don’t know if I just play different.

So I’m happy I’m in the tournament and giving myself another chance in a couple of days.

 

Q.  As you said, conditions were pretty tough today.  You know, things slowed down, but then the ball stays lower.  How would you describe your ideal conditions here?  Or does it depend on who you’re facing?

ROGER FEDERER:  I think so, yes.  I think it depends on who you play, where your confidence is, the matchup, you know.  You could be playing a guy you’ve beaten 10 times in the past.  Then it almost doesn’t matter where you’re playing, you feel like you should win that next match.

But it’s been a tough last couple of weeks.  I have played guys I’ve almost never heard about and I don’t know their patterns, and it’s made things difficult for me.

But I have made it through, and I’ll definitely meet someone I know a lot better.

I say it every time.  For me there is no favorite situation at the French Open here.  Rain or sunshine or whatever it is, you have to be able to play in all conditions.

Today was a different day.  Swirly winds and cooler conditions.  Played slower.  I don’t mind the lower bounce, but when it’s a higher bounce, it means it’s faster, too.

You’ve just got to take it and use it to your advantage.

 

Q.  Do you have any preference for Berdych or Del Potro?  I know maybe Del Potro you know how to win him, what you demonstrated in your last matches.

ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, no preference.  Yeah.  No preference.  I’m happy to give a short answer for a change.  (Laughter).

 

Q.  We are a little bit tired, because every day you beat a new record.

ROGER FEDERER:  What’s this one now?  (Laughter).

 

Q.  36 quarterfinals in 52 slams, but this is the first time that somebody makes 32 quarterfinals consecutive in a slam, 32 in consecutive.  Nobody has ever done.  And you played 163 quarterfinals in 256 tournaments.  That’s also quite good.

ROGER FEDERER:  Thank you.  (Laughter).

 

Q.  Congratulations.  Any reaction to this?

ROGER FEDERER:  I take anything that gives me confidence at this point.  Anything.

 

Q.  You are tied for third with 32 quarterfinals with Agassi.

ROGER FEDERER:  There you go.  Thank you very much for all the information.  But you have to gives me the list, because I can’t remember it all.

 

Q.  To continue the joviality for those of us who weren’t courtside, can you just repeat the repartee in the interview immediately post‑match?

ROGER FEDERER:  What happened?

 

Q.  Yeah, the interview.  There was an interview on court.

ROGER FEDERER:  There was, yes.  Many.  It was in French.

 

Q.  People didn’t understand.

ROGER FEDERER:  Need to get the translator out.  And that’s why I’m here.  Normally they are sitting in the back and they’re doing it all for you guys.

No, they asked me if I would do an interview with him.  I think I did something similar a couple years ago with another player, as well.  Maybe even on Lenglen.  I’m not sure.

But, yeah, I mean, I guess the situation was a nice one, because he sort of idolized me back in the day, I think.  I don’t know after today.

But, anyway, it was just a nice story, I guess, and it was for the fans, you know, in that Suzanne Lenglen Court.  I don’t know if they show it on French TV, because I did the French TV afterwards.  I guess that was just for the crowd more, because they really were excited about this match.  They were into it from the first point on till the very end.

Yeah, there are some jokes made by him and by me, too.  Then the crowd want us to sort of hug each other.  And at the end, we did give each other a hug.  Like men.  (Laughter.)

It was all good.  Everybody was happy, and we left the court.  So that was it.  I hope that made sense.  I don’t know.  Don’t go the wrong direction, though.

THE MODERATOR:  French questions, please.

 

Q.  Can you tell us about this first week?  How do you feel?  How do you feel about your level of play, also considering you’re having slow conditions and you need to adjust?

ROGER FEDERER:  Yes, of course I’m very happy that I went through the first four rounds, because I may have thought that I was playing too different a game compared with my opponents, starting from the second round.

Physically I feel well.  I’m not tired.  I don’t have any source of pain anywhere, so that’s very positive.

And regarding my level of play, everything is fine.  Could be better.  But, again, I’m still adjusting.  Sometimes I’m not so sure.  So I may miss something, but usually I prepare for the rest of the tournament.

And I suppose it’s going to help me if, in the next round, I play somebody I’ve already played against several times.  It will be a much more straightforward sort of match.

Del Potro or Berdych, I know them, I know the way they play on their backhand, I know how they serve, I know how they return.  They have no secrets for me.

You know, sometimes you expect something, and when you’re the favorite, you end up thinking you are going to win, but you don’t exactly know how you’re going to win.  That’s probably what made things more difficult during this particular match.

I almost lost today.  It was a very tight match.  So I’m very happy that I’m still here tonight.

 

Q.  Did you talk to Goffin after the match?  If yes, what did you say to each other?

ROGER FEDERER:  No, we didn’t meet again.  That’s it.  Very simple.  Nothing to add.

 

Q.  Would you like to give him a piece of advice for the future?

ROGER FEDERER:  Well, I gave him some on the court after the match.  Not during, obviously.

All in all, I think that he has many people, coaches and a full team around him, who are going to tell him what to do.

However, what matters is that he has a couple of people whom he trusts, and those are the people he needs to listen to.  He should not listen to those who are going to try to jump on the train while it’s already running.  Then he’s going to need to improve, and, you know, there’s no secret.  You work hard.  You improve.

Your talent is helpful up to a certain degree, but then it takes a bit of hard work.

You need to work on your basics, and I’m sure that that’s what he’s going to do.  And if he has any more questions, I’m available.  I’m on the tour, so he knows where to find me.

 

Q.  If you want to win the tournament, you need to improve, but you played the first set without any backhands.  Are you going to organize a session, specific training sessions?

ROGER FEDERER:  I practiced a lot yesterday and it didn’t help, so maybe tomorrow I’m not going to practice.  Obviously I know what to do (Laughter.)

What it boils down to is I prefer to play.  I’m fine.  No panic.

 

Q.  You’re not on the court to admire your opponents, but did he surprise you in a positive way?  Do you think he’s a future champion, Goffin?

ROGER FEDERER:  Yes, of course, he can be a champion.  But it takes weeks of hard labor.  Maybe he can be very good for a couple of weeks and achieve a very good result, and then his career to be over.

Yes, I was impressed by the way he plays.  I knew he was a good player, because I watched him play against Clement, but then when I realized how early he could strike the balls and I saw how he could find all the angles, crosscourt along the way, the way he moved, the way he anticipated, that was really nice to watch.  Well, during the match, not so much, but now, on second thought, yes.

 

Q.  In the end, David said that he had posters of you around his room when he was a kid.  Do you feel older, the fact that he idolized you as a youth?

ROGER FEDERER:  Well, no, not really.  But it feels a bit strange.  That’s what I said during the previous press conference.

I’m not used to playing against an opponent who loves me or loves the way I play, loves me as a tennis player.

But, I mean, I’m aware that it had to happen someday, because it happened to me when I played against Sampras or people I admired, like Agassi.  Although it was different, because I still played a one‑hand backhand.  I missed Becker and Edberg, unfortunately, but I had a lot of fun during the very first years on the tour, so I suppose it’s going to be exactly the same for him.

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