In anticipation of his first match at the Sony Ericsson Open, Roger Federer sat down with the media today in Miami. At the start of the press conference it was announced that Roger Federer will be playing in Brazil for the first time as part of P&G’s Olympic global campaign. During the interview, Federer was asked about playing in the year’s Olympics and provided some insight on Murray, Djokovic and Nadal. Here is what Federer had to say.
LUIS CARVALHO: Good afternoon. On behalf of Gillette, welcome and thank you for being here today. Gillette is proud and excited to announce Roger Federer for the first time in Brazil. Roger has been sponsored by Gillette for five years, and he’s one of the 24 athletes that are a part of P&G’s Olympic global campaign. The Brazilian public are extremely excited to finally meet and watch the world’s best tennis player in history.
We are now open to questions.
Q. Are you more under pressure because you were the champion at Indian Wells, or do you think the contrary, every tournament is a new beginning?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think you’re go into a new tournament after winning one before with a lot of confidence, so that’s the good thing. Do I feel more pressure? Not really, just because I have been around for so long that I know how to handle pressure situations. I’m not the defending champion here. I only have, if you like, a semifinals to defend. So things are going really well for me. It’s about doing all the right things, being professional, you know, before the match, and hopefully sort of find a good way into the tournament. That’s my first priority right now.
Q. There are talks for the year‑end championship to go to Brazil. Do you have any say on that?
ROGER FEDERER: The beginning what did you say?
Q. The year‑end championship.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes.
Q. It might go to Brazil. If that happens, so what’s your view on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think it’s great that hopefully many countries and cities, you know, would want to have the World Tour Finals, because it’s such a successful event. It was great in Shanghai for so many years. Houston put on a good event. Then obviously, you know, back in Shanghai after Houston again was great. Then they built this incredible stadium now at London. We’re having a record crowd every single time we show up. It’s only but normal that you have different interests, interested people around, especially, you know, with the Olympics and the World Cup going to Brazil. It’s a place that’s really buzzing at the moment, I would think, even though I have never been there, that’s why I’m so excited coming with the Gillette Tour this December. I’m really excited. So, look, I’d be happy if, you know, Brazil shows interest to have the World Tour Finals. But right now the tournament in London is very successful and very good. It’s a place that really can put on a great event. We’ll see the conversations with the ATP.
Q. An Olympic‑related questions. First of all, how high a priority are you putting on the Olympics this year?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it’s obviously very big. It’s the Olympic year that everyone talks about. Particularly this one is special because it’s going to be held at Wimbledon. For us, the tennis players, we’ll never see that again in our lifetime. So it’s luck, really, I think for me or for most of the tennis players in this era to actually experience such an Olympic Games for us. So as you can imagine with the history I have at Wimbledon, it’s gonna be super‑exciting. Carried the flag twice for Switzerland before. First one in Sydney was just a dream come true to be part of. Met my wife over there. So every Olympic Games there was something very special about it. And obviously winning Olympic gold in Beijing in the doubles was something extraordinary. So I really hope I’m in the best shape. If I’m playing well, I know I’ll have a shot for the title. To have the Olympics held this year at Wimbledon is, for us ‑ or for me ‑ personally something very exciting.
Q. What do you think the atmosphere will be like? Will it be very much like Wimbledon or a mix? What do you anticipate?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, similar but different. I don’t know if that makes sense. But I think it’s going to be somewhat like Wimbledon. You know, the backdrop is going to be, for me, the biggest unusual part, except if they’re going to keep that green backdrop. I can imagine they’re going to have the Olympic rings somewhere probably with blue color. Playing at Wimbledon in color for me is not going to be the shock. I think it’s more just the banners and seeing the whole centre court in different color. That’s going to be the big change. And then obviously the grass will be used. So it will be a bit different, but at the end of the day, like I said, it is Wimbledon and it has that aura.
Q. Last night we saw you giving some awards to Fernando González. In my country, the people want to know what’s your opinion about his decision and if you have any chance to go there to play maybe an exhibition with him in his retirement tour?
ROGER FEDERER: Is he going to have a retirement tour?
Q. Couple matches.
ROGER FEDERER: I hope he has. He deserves it. Fernando is a great champion. You know, I know him from the junior days. He’s always been a great person. He never changed. I think that’s also why he gets so much respect right now from all his fellow players, is because he’s really well‑liked; probably one of the most incredible forehands we’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough to play against that forehand at times. I just think he was great for the game. You know, he carried over what Marcello Rios did in a great way, I guess, back in the day, you know, becoming world No. 1, first one from Chile, and then Fernando to, you know, have the burden of living up to that expectation with Nicolas Massu. I think they did really well. He’s a great person and great player. Sad to see him go. Only he knows that it’s the right decision to do. I think he’s had too much trouble, too much injury, and maybe now he’s too comfortable living back home. The roads to the rest of the world are far from Chile, so I can understand also maybe the travel had an impact. I hope one day, sure, that we can play an exhibition together maybe in Chile. I’d like that, too, of course. Who knows? Maybe at the end of the year. I don’t know.
Q. What do you remember about the Australia final against González? The only match he won against you was Shanghai in Masters.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, the Shanghai match I remember was very close. I felt like I had so many chances and ended up losing. He played great at the end. I think he beat me 7‑5 in the third; I think I went on to win the title, actually. It was one of the losses I could sort of still take the positives out of it and actually go on and win the tournament. Normally you lose and you’re out. So that was a particular. But obviously the Australian Open one was tough. He was playing great. It was a tough four‑setter. Was it straight? I think that was the time maybe I was playing some of my absolute very best tennis, but he had an amazing run. I think he beat Nadal I think in the semis, right? Yeah, he was tough. That was, for me, nice to play against a fellow friend in the finals of the Australian Open.
Q. Roger Federer in Argentina in December is possible, true?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. We’re hoping to put together an entire tour. This is the announcement for Brazil, that I will be playing two matches in Brazil. We don’t know what cities yet and against whom exactly, but it’s gonna be happening at the beginning of December, Gillette Tour. I’m happy that one of my long‑time sponsors, Gillette, are sponsoring the tour. Colombia has announced as well that I will be playing in Colombia, so we are looking for maybe one or two more places to play.
Q. (Question regarding Del Potro.)
ROGER FEDERER: We don’t know. Colombia will be with Tsonga. That we know, yeah.
Q. I’d like to make myself available.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay, Justin. All right. Good to know.
Q. Indian Wells was a great event for you. You weren’t playing your best or feeling well, but you had so much magic out there and won the title. How confident do you feel when you come to Miami?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly I’m not thinking about winning right away here. I’m just doing a lot of press, talking about a lot of things. But I might be out of this tournament in one hour, so I have to be very careful of what I say.
Q. No, but Indian Wells was special for you.
ROGER FEDERER: No, it’s given me a lot of confidence and I played amazing in Indian Wells under the circumstances. And also the last two in Rotterdam and then also in Dubai, you know, I played some great tennis. I’m just happy I have been able to win six out of eight tournaments. It’s special. I come into this tournament hoping to survive the first round. Let’s be honest, that is my focus right now. I’d love to win another double, Indian Wells and Miami. I’ve done it I think twice before. I know how to do it, but I know how difficult it is. Just because I’m playing well doesn’t mean that the rest of the group is not.
Q. You gonna be in Colombia you told us already in December. What do you think about our country?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know that much yet. I first have to come. Look, it’s exciting. I remember playing juniors in Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela back in the day, probably ’96. That’s as close as I’ve gotten really to South America, obviously Venezuela, being there. But this is obviously special to go to new places. For a world traveller it’s always exciting. People who know me know how much I love seeing in new people, new countries, and new cultures. Colombia is one of those places, so I’m really looking forward to that country and knowing a whole lot more.
All the players I know are the friendliest guys on tour. I’m sure I’ll have a great time over there.
Q. There are about two dozen players in the men’s draw over 30 years old. You’re the highest ranked of those. Can you talk about that milestone and how it feels to still be playing really well over 30?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I have played some of my best tennis now since I have turned 30 last August. I’m happy to see that ‑‑ I expected it, that it was possible, but I’m happy to prove it to myself and maybe some people. Just, you know, prove it to my fans that, you know, they’re right. That I’m still a great player, you know. It’s nice seeing also other guys who are over 30 still doing really well. For me, normally the average age is about 33 at every tournament. I don’t know if that’s the case or not. That’s just a wild guess from me. Obviously I think it’s possible if you manage your schedule the right way, which I feel I have done, to play way beyond that number. So focus is to play for a long time, but it’s nice leading the herd, really.
Q. Are you hoping to play mixed doubles at the Olympics?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I won’t be playing that. I announced that some time ago.
Q. Do you think that’s a good addition to the program, to have the mixed doubles?
ROGER FEDERER: What?
Q. Do you think it’s a good addition to the program?
ROGER FEDERER: Good addition? Um, well, I was a bit confused at the beginning. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, but I guess over 60, 70 other disciplines have been rejected, and the mixed doubles was one of the five or so who were entered. So I guess that’s a good thing. It’s good for tennis. Gives another opportunity for more tennis players to achieve something fantastic for their country. So I’m sure it’s gonna be a nice event, as well.
Q. Can you talk about just the top 4 right now in men’s tennis and to be able to play during this era when you can all sort of play off each other and inspire each other?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I know since a long time that Murray and Djokovic can play great tennis, so I didn’t need Novak to go on a 40‑match winning streak to get the point like maybe some others. Murray, honestly, for me he’s always been an extreme talent with a bright future.
The two of them, let’s talk about the two of them, have been so solid and so consistent for such a long time from a young age on, really. It’s for me really impressive to see, you know. Nadal obviously announced himself to the world a little bit earlier here years ago when he beat me the first time he we ever played. I knew right away he’s gonna be the next top 20 player or top 5.
Q. Do you remember that day, what it was like?
ROGER FEDERER: You don’t just come out and beat world No. 1 four and four. It just doesn’t happen. You have to have something special to it. Of course he was still a clay‑court player at that point, but that was hard court. I came with a sunstroke from Indian Wells fine, but I was starting to feel better and I was like ‑‑ didn’t quite understand what just quite happened.
But I knew he was very good, so I didn’t underestimate him in any way, shape, or form. He just got me. So that was impressive. So all three of them have been so good for so long already. I thought it’s been a great time for tennis since many, many years, and then it’s been nice ‑‑ it’s nice to be part of that group, absolutely.
Q. I guess you have Ryan Harrison next. You’ve played him before. What do you like about this kid? How do you see his future?
ROGER FEDERER: He’s a great players. I played him last year Indian Wells. I think he’s very talented, and I’m sure he’s gonna be making his move up the rankings very easily this year and the coming years. He has a big game. Obviously he’s the classical American hard court player. But he’s also got some good defensive skills and has a lot of good confidence, I’d say. That’s why it makes him a very difficult opponent in the first round here.
Q. Guga will be in the Hall of Fame in July. If you have to say one word about Gustavo Kuerten, what this word would be?
ROGER FEDERER: One word?
Q. Yeah, or more.
ROGER FEDERER: I’d like to say more. I talk a lot. Too much sometimes.
Q. He deserves more.
ROGER FEDERER: Look, Guga for me was one of the great players we have had, maybe one of the greatest we’ve ever had in South America, particularly Brazil, who is such an emotional country, let’s say, with such nice people. I mean, I was lucky enough to play against him at the French Open even where he had his biggest success.To see him go at the end, you know, was sad because he was such a great asset for the game. He was so well‑liked by the media, I think, and as well, by fellow players, by fans. I think he only deserves that honor of being in the Hall of Fame. He really is that good. It’s only but normal. I wish him all the best, and I hope in the future we’ll see more of him because we need more people like him to stay in the game of tennis.
Q. What is success for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Success? I guess winning a bit, you know. It’s part of it. You can see it like you say probably in many different ways in life, I guess, in general, doesn’t always need to be sports. But I am an athlete; I’m a tennis player. I judge, you know, success on the tennis court if I’m winning or losing. It’s nice to be reminded how good you are every day, because the people make you feel it and the results show it, too. So you try to work hard so you have as much success as possible, because it is just a little bit more fun winning than losing, actually, for those who don’t know.