Roger Federer won't compete again until French Open: 'I need to look out for my health'
Gatto Luigi - 4-03-2017 - View: 52870
Tennis - The Swiss player thinks 'being away from clay as much as possible maybe is a good thing'
Roger Federer thought a lot about his clay-courts season schedule, and he came to a decision which is a very important one. He won't play any event before Roland Garros that starts on May 28, skipping three Masters 1000 events - Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome. 'It's more about relaxing right now, making sure I get a rest', Federer said after winning his third title in Miami. 'So I think it's more prevention, to be honest. Then I would like to eventually -- when you take a break, a breather and you start working out again, which I will have to stay in shape to some extent because I have Match for Africa 3 in Zurich on April 1oth. I can't let everything fall apart right now because I have to play in a week. After that, I'm looking forward to go back in the gym and work on the stuff I couldn't do for the last few months. Yeah, so I'll probably stay on hard courts actually for the next few months, if you like, and then I'll get on the clay probably two weeks before the French. That's the plan for now. Then, yeah, hopefully I'll play the French, but we'll see how all of the buildup is going to go. Then obviously for me, that's when the season essential starts. Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal, I mean now in the near future. The American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess to some extent. It's just we'll see what happens, you know. No pressure there really because I won't have a preparation as such. But all of the grass really is important to me because I'll play Stuttgart and Halle there, too. Then of course I am looking very good for the World Tour Finals, for the year-end championships, where I've been very successful. I like the indoors as well. So for me basically the second half of the season is a big priority now. That's why I'll take a break as well.'
Q. Playing such brilliant, attacking tennis now, and even defending very, very well, does that play into your feelings about the clay court season? Do you regret maybe not scheduling more clay? Do you feel you could play that style that you've been so successful with when it comes to Roland Garros? 'Well, I mean, I can still change my schedule so I don't regret anything. I've just only taken the decision, and I definitely took that into considering consideration. Like I said, I'm not 24 anymore. I have to pick my moments where I can peak and stay healthy. Also part of the situation was that my knee was really strange on the clay last year, so maybe being away from the clay as much as possible maybe is a good thing as well. Even though I don't think it was because of the clay as such, but my physio and fitness guy thought that that could be also a good thing, not being too much on clay. So I feel very comfortable and confident that it's the right decision. I did reconsider with the team what the schedule really was now that I've also won Indian Wells. At the end of the day, I need to look out for my health, that I'm happy in all parts of my life, personal, private, on-court life, professional life, and I can't keep this pace up on every single day. Just too much and I'll run out. The desire will run out. I would rather stay take a step back and then really come back with a lot of energy and happiness. Then I can share that with everybody. Otherwise you'll see me here and you will see that all I want to do is get out of here. I don't want to be that guy. I really don't.'
Speaking about the final won against Nadal 6/3 6/4, Federer said: 'It was a close match. Maybe if you didn't see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you're like, Okay, sort of maybe just straightforward and couple breaks and that was it. That's not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today. It was more of a fight mode I was in today just trying to stay afloat. Physically, emotionally it's been a draining week, so I did I did very well. Great atmosphere again. A lot riding on the match of course. A lot has happened here in the last, I don't know, it's been 12, 13 years since I played Rafa the very first time here and in between. So it was a special match and it was great to play against Rafa again.'
He didn't expect a such successful comeback at all: 'Yeah, I can't explain. I told Severin, my coach, when I was warming up if I would you've just played the Miami finals, no Indian Wells, no Australian Open, we would still be very happy right now. But I have way more, so that's why I was trying to remind myself just to playwithout pressure. Just do it one more time and go out there and be brave on the big points, you know. I think I was able to do that. Now I can take a break, because the body needs a break, the mind needs a break, the family needs me again. I want to be there. Yeah, looking forward to that now.'
He is playing probably more aggressive than ever. Will he continue this way? 'Yeah, that I think that the way I'm playing right now is the right way for me moving forward as well. Of course I'll always recalibrate every tournament I go to depending on the speed of the ball, the speed of the courts, who I play, because I do have options.I'm happy that I was able to stay on the offensive more or less throughout this swing here, Indian Wells and Miami. I think once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence. That confidence gets you through a lot of the tough matches that nobody ever speaks about again. You know, let's make it the quarterfinals here against Berdych. End up winning that somehow. Nobody talks about it. They only will talk about the Nadal finals and the rest we know. I think I am definitely profiting from confidence, and then also from the right mindset, able to compress all my energy into one single match and not be distracted by everything else going on around me. So I think it's been a challenging four weeks because, yeah, you have to be focused for a long time. I was able to do that and I'm very happy.'
How did he feel Today? 'Relaxed just because I was tired so I didn't think about it very much. Just like, Okay, go through the warmup, go through everything, and then once the match starts it's all go. That's when we'll get excited for two or three hours if I have to, but that's all I have energy for. So that's how I saw it.'
Q. Whenever you finish playing the tour, when that happens, are you planning on maybe writing a book or leaving more of your legacy so that people will continue to learn from you not only from what you did inside the court, but outside the court? 'I don't know if they're going to learn more by reading a book about me. I've been very cautious. People wanted to write a book about me many, many times and some of them have, but I have never really helped in any shape or form. I don't know. I feel like a lot of my life, I like it not secret, to be secret, but I like it that it's with the people that I've shared it with. It's intimate. I don't know. I'm not sure if I want to shout about it. I guess there are a lot of parts out there anyway, and you can compress it all together and put it together in a nice book. I'm not sure, so never say never. For now, we have pushback on all fronts not to do any books. I see maybe more a documentary, but that means invasion of privacy with my family, and I'm honestly not in the mood for that either. So I'm just tired of too many outside people in my life. I don't know. We'll have to see. But I'm happy to be a good role model. That's why I take time in the press to put on a good face and I give good answers, or try to give good answers, so the people have something nice to read about and get excited about tennis and sports. It's been a great life school for me, and I think for a lot of people as well it can be a great escape. Yeah.'
Q. We've spoken a lot about this comeback. Is it now officially over? 'Yes, I would think so. (Laughter.) The comeback is over. Still a comeback year, but I did say that until here, now, Miami, it was going to be still learning. It's the beginning. Let's see how the knee is going to feel in Australia. How is the body going to be in the Middle East? How is the body going to be west coast, east coast? There is a lot of traveling, and the knee can act funny when you travel and fly trans-Atlantic and all that stuff. It's not like I went home and all I did is take a warm shower. I had to do a lot of stretching, massage, and sleep well, all that stuff. I needed to be very professional to wake up every morning and be ready to compete. I'm happy that nothing major happened throughout this period. It's been a dream run on the court; off the court as well my body has reacted very well and I couldn't be happier, of course.
Q. There is only two men that have won more tournaments in their career than you. You are three away from tying Ivan Lendl at 94; 18 away from Jimmy tying Connors; 19 to set a new record. Is that partially your mind as you continue your tennis career? 'I mean, yeah, I guess it would be nice to reach 100 just because it's a good number. But then again, I'm not picking the easy ones to win, to be honest. I'm not going to play smaller tournaments just to chase that, as you can see. I'm even now taking a ten-week break. Like I said, health comes before everything, before every record at this point. But sure, this has been an incredible start winning three titles this year and none last year. Things are definitely better this year. But for those kind of numbers I need to stick around for a while and play very, very well at the high level. It's going to be difficult so we'll see what happens. 100 would be a great number, of course.