Roger Federer is not just a contender here at the US Open, he’s the resident sage. You want an opinion on what’s happening in the tennis world, ask him and he will give you the honest answer.
That’s of course if he wins.
Fortunately for the adoring tennis public, the Maestro moved onto the second round with a win over Leonardo Mayer, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
So let the questions begin.
First up what does he think of the partially finished roof?
“It has forever,” Federed said with a smile. “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but old Ashe was great. I loved it. That’s all I knew until this year. But of course I like the feeling of these big center courts with the roof on. We’re used to it Australian Open, Wimbledon, Shanghai, other places.
“So for that matter, I like it. I think it’s going to increase the level of play from all players. If you think about it, probably more so the top players, because you know what to expect and you’re not going to have to fight the wind as much. If you don’t have to fight the wind you can play closer to the lines and make it better tennis. So probably it might be better for the top guys, my opinion.
“Then we will see with the conditions next year when it’s fully sort of covered and it will be interesting to see how it’s going to play indoors really when it’s going to rain. And also just I do feel like it’s quite loud, you know. Maybe in American sports it’s quite common that the fans do talk during games or matches. I feel like the roof might bring that back down, so, you know, you hear the crowd speaking more, which before I don’t remember hearing ever.”
Next up Kei Nishikori loss yesterday.
“Well, I was watching it at the end. I saw Benoit Paire serve it out. I know Benoit quite well, so I knew it could be potentially a tough match. Kei has been going through a tougher spell.
“Did he play Wimbledon? He didn’t play Wimbledon. He did play? He pulled out, right. Pulled out there, pulled out last week. I don’t quite know what the problem is.
“But still, he won Washington? Did he win Washington? Yeah, so he’s been doing well again. He beat Rafa in Montreal, I think.
“So you could have expected a run again like he did last year, so it definitely was a surprise. But Benoit has a game to be dangerous, and if he isn’t mentally there on the day, things like this can happen unfortunately for Kei.”
And how about player interviews during matches?
“Well, I have done it in exhibition matches, never in a real match, I don’t think. In the beginning also we didn’t have interviews going onto the court,” he said. “That was already weird, but we got used to that. Who knows moving forward what’s going to happen? What I heard is they didn’t really go through the ATP, which would be the normal thing to do. I think they went straight to the players. That’s not the way to go.
“But we’ll see what’s gonna happen, you know. I understand the idea, but what’s too much? What’s enough? All these things. I understand pushing the boundaries and being more accessible. For me, in some ways it’s — I haven’t done it in 17 years, so why start now? At the same time, you might think, Who cares, you know? Honestly I think I’m pretty relaxed when I’m sitting there at the change of ends.
“But you don’t want it to impact your game and you don’t want to look back and think, What a stupid move that was in hindsight, you know. Then you’re frustrated about it. So I don’t know. I understand the request, but I’m not sure if many players are actually doing it.”
And finally how about his chances and if he’s playing his best tennis?
“If I win the tournament here yes, maybe,” Federer said. “Not if I win a first round, because these rounds are here to just keep on progressing and moving forward and doing the right things and giving yourself confidence and getting to understand the conditions.
“Of course I’m very pleased with the first-round performance, but not really more than that. I will take it match by match, of course. I’m not thinking too far ahead, as I know some people are.
“I’m just happy that the last, I don’t know, one-and-a-half years I have been again very, very consistent. I’m able to play good matches consistently.
“I’m playing the right way, and also in a way that’s fun for me. If I decide to have long rallies and stay back, I can do that. If I decide to move forward and step it up, I can do that, too.
“That helps if you have those two games. It’s great to have against any opponent out there, because not every opponent plays the same way. Same for my second-round opponent. I have no clue how he’s going to play me. At least on a faster court I know that probably I’m going to make him hit tough shots and I’m going to keep attacking and see if he can come up with passing shots or shots on the back foot and all these things which are not easy to do consistently.”
There you have it. Federer uncensored. Hopefully you will be hearing a lot more of it in the next week.