at Paris, France
Monday, May 26, 2008
Interview with Roger Federer
Q. Obviously the first round is always tough.
Glad to get through. You didn't have too many
difficulties, did you?
ROGER FEDERER: No, but it's hard, you know. The
first round of the Slams, there's always a lot of
pressure. He's an up‑and‑coming player who's got
good a serve and big shots. Not going to win the
French Open right away, but on the day you don't
know what's going to happen.
That's why it's sort of a nerve‑wracking first set.
Once I got settled I played a little bit more
better. I was able to create myself a few
opportunities against his serve, which was sort of
good, and I thought the match was fine, you know.
Gives me a few days now again to practice, and
hopefully I can play a bit better the next match.
Q. On the Suzanne Lenglen Court, was that a bit of a
change and maybe you weren't expecting it?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I didn't know till sort of
while I was practicing yesterday if I was going to
play next day or not, which I thought was quite late
to find out when to start a first round of a Slam.
That's what happened when you want to play your
first round over three days, especially starting on
Sunday. But I was happy to be able to play today, to
be honest. Langlen or Chatrier for me, it's not much
of a difference.
I actually practiced on Suzanne Lenglen the first
day when I got here, so I knew how it felt. The
match was good, so I'm happy.
Q. If you include your pretournament preparations,
the events you've played and now your first match,
would you say you're where you want to be?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I mean, I would think so. I
mean, I got through with my first round, which is
sometimes a difficult match in a tournament. So
that's out of the way.
I've played well all clay court season long. Didn't
have many hiccups really, and I have plenty of
matches. That was my goal as well, you know. By
playing Estoril, I was hoping to get that before
Now it's just a matter of sort of getting used to
the conditions. Practice is one thing, but getting
through the matches is the other thing. I felt that
today the atmosphere is different, the court is
full, the pressure is there. It's just not sometimes
as easy to play this way like in practice, you know.
That's why I'm sort of relieved getting through the
first one, and I think from now on it should get a
little bit easy.
THE MODERATOR: French questions, please?
Q. Happy with your win and happy to be back in
ROGER FEDERER: Of course. I always enjoy playing in
Paris. It's a superb city, and I had good successes
in Paris, except at Paris' Bercy tournament. But at
Roland Garros, the crowd is very nice, so it's good
pleasure for me to be here in Paris.
Q. There's an Italian player, Bolelli. You know him.
Do you think that he's a talented player? Do you
think he's skillful player? Is he any different of a
ROGER FEDERER: He has ‑‑ he's very relaxed, and ‑‑
but he has a one‑handed backhand. He's a skillful
player, a talented player, he moves well, and I
think he's has grown up on this surface.
I practiced with him two or three years ago and I
noticed that he was very skillful, but at that time
I wondered whether he would do it mentally.
But I think that he can play against very good
players. Clay is his best surface, so I'm not
surprised. I don't know which ranking he will get in
the top 10, top 20, top 30. I don't know exactly,
but he plays well. I don't know how old is he, but
he plays well.
Q. We've just learned that Richard Gasquet will
withdraw from the tournament. A knee injury. Roddick
has withdrawn. Tsonga, Tommy Haas, they have all
withdrawn. Nadal criticized the schedule, and they
are disturbed that maybe some players are injured
because of a busy schedule. What do you think of the
schedule? What do you think of his busy schedule?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't know why he injured himself.
I mean, I don't know. Maybe he fell. It has nothing
to do with the schedule. Nothing to do with the
Tsonga got injured a little bit earlier. It's not
good for the clay court season, but it is true that
‑‑ it's not a topic for me. It is true a lot of
tournaments on clay, but that's not the issue here
at Roland Garros.
I know that before coming to Roland Garros, I mean,
there are some tournaments, and this is the
schedule. This is the calendar. There are some
players who are injured, but it is not a contact
I think that if we were to do away with contact
sport, I can tell you there would be many players
who would be injured. Anyway, we know how many
tournaments we have to play. It's important to play
the Grand Slam tournaments, the most important
tournaments, and the Davis Cup. So if you're
injured, you don't play. I mean, that's the way it
It is true that from time to time you are not lucky.
I can tell you that Tsonga and Gasquet were unlucky.
And Gasquet and Tsonga, maybe they wouldn't be able
to play at Wimbledon. Andy Murray was injured last
year and he couldn't play Wimbledon.
So you have to take care about that.
Q. Are you going to play against Montanes or Kristof
Vliegen. Vliegen is one of your friends. I mean, you
played against him in 2004 in the first round and
you defeated him.
ROGER FEDERER: He's a nice guy, and we hit it off. I
will play against him as part of a Davis Cup, and I
think Vliegen had a good match against Gasquet. I
played against him a few years ago and it was a very
good match for me, but he was very nervous.
It was on center court, so I made the most of it. It
is true that we have fun together when talking about
this match, because he felt uncomfortable.
Q. What about this win? I mean, is this win up to
your expectations? Basically, you want to play only
three sets because you don't want to play much time
on the court, do you?
ROGER FEDERER: I started playing today, but if I
were to play five sets, I mean, that's not a
problem, because I've been practicing very hard. I'm
not afraid of playing five sets. And if you're
afraid of playing five sets you rush things away,
especially in the first set.
So I try to deliver good matches, and I knew that I
had to play today against a dangerous player. He's a
different player. I'll bet Montanes is a very
difficult opponent, in fact. I'm very happy to have
won the match today against Mr. Querrey.
Q. What can you tell us about Stanislas Wawrinka?
He's now among the top 10 players. Are you surprised
about it? Is it normal to you? Is it logical
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, when you're in the top 10
ranking, I mean, there is no such thing as logic. I
mean, you can say that you want to be in the top 10,
but making it into the top 10 is very difficult.
There are many tennis players on the ballot, so it's
not easy to be among the top ten players, as people
And we know that Stanislas Wawrinka has worked very
hard. I can tell you that he's also skillful, but he
has lived up to his expectations. Last year it was
unfortunate and he was injured. Last year, he
stagnated, so to speak. He didn't make progress.
For him, it was just a matter of time, and now at
Roland Garros this year he will be able to play
well. I can tell you that in the past he had a
difficult draw here at Roland Garros, so I hope that
he will produce a good performance.
So at the end of the day, I'm not surprised. I mean,
basically, if you get two good results, you can be
in the top ten, because I, Rafa, and Djokovic are
head of the pack.
But I can tell you that Stan has seized this
opportunity, but he will have to confirm he's a
different player in different tournaments. But I can
tell you it will be more easier for him because he
is serene. It's a very good period for Stan, and I
am very happy for him.