Rene Stauffer, author of the Federer biography, Quest for Perfection, interviewed the Swiss maestro earlier today. The original interview is here, in German. Below is the English translation, thru Google translate. It is not a smooth translation, but the general inferences can still be made. The upcoming summer stretch could play out to be a record-breaking moment in the illustrious career of Roger Federer. For more from Mr. Stauffer, follow him on Twitter (@staffsky).
“Again, a number that would be the crowning achievement”
Roger Federer looks ahead to a record-breaking summer in tennis. The 16-time Grand Slam winner knows that great opportunities are available to him, and he is doing everything possible to pack them.
Roger Federer is alone, without a manager, supervisor or manager without a press. The 30-year-old record Grand Slam winner has for this afternoon, half a dozen Swiss tennis journalist from Panorama Hotel Feusisberg invited. First, there is a group interview, individual interviews afterwards. Federer looks relaxed, but serious, and one senses that he is in the midst of preparing for perhaps the most important phases of his career. From the 6th May follow the great sand tournaments in Madrid, Rome and Paris as well as the events in Halle and Wimbledon lawn within two months. And then soon is the Olympic tournament on the program of 29 July to 5 August will also be held at Wimbledon.
You are in a six-week period without tournaments. Get start now for this unique summer tennis, the Olympics at Wimbledon as an encore?
That I soon lost in Miami (against Andy Roddick) and we did not have to play Davis Cup, was certainly a blessing in disguise. I had more vacation, I can build better. However, this year I had left it open for anything once. If we had beaten the U.S. in Davis Cup, I might have skipped Indian Wells and Miami. From Madrid to Wimbledon, I’ve probably only a week off, and then follows a large workload, so it was a long pause important.
Madrid was first played on blue sand. What you say about this revolutionary new feature?
I have no idea how this will come out. We were against Nadal, even vehemently, and I supported him. He is concerned that is broken with a tradition that an operator wants blue sand, the other gray, green or red. I think it is also likely because of the tradition, although I understand that you have to try new things. The sand, however, must be perfect in Madrid, otherwise there will be a debacle for the tournament.
You are not vehemently against it?
I’m against it because Nadal is against it and because we had had other opportunities. But Ion Tiriac (Tournament Director) has insisted to her ears. Finally, we said: He makes a lot of good for tennis, then we can make him stop. But it is not good that he has things in hand.
They went from Miami to the Caribbean on vacation. Since when do you train again?
Already towards the end of the holidays I started to train again, I let fly a sparring partner, Jesse Levine (American lefties, ATP 132). When I returned to Switzerland in mid-April, I was able to complete and start training. I had no problems with the weather, because I worked more with Pierre Paganini at the beginning of the condition. But I played enough tennis. In addition to Paul Annacone and Severin Luthi (his coach) was a week long, Michael Berrer (German, ATP 108) here. I’m fully on schedule.
Do you have respect for the challenges of this summer?
Before us is a wonderful stage with many high points, there is no motivation problem. We tennis players are privileged to have so many highlights. I divide the months into two blocks: the first phase of French Open and Wimbledon, then followed by a three-week break before beginning and after the Olympic Clay season in North America.
Which tournament would you like to win in 2012: Paris, Wimbledon, U.S. Open or the Olympics?
For me it was always the ultimate Wimbledon, and it remains special. That this year we have the opportunity to play there for a month after the Grand Slam tournament again in the same stadium, is a big chance for our generation. It’s great that I have opportunities everywhere. I hope I can win some of these tournaments.
If you could choose: Would you prefer to Wimbledon this summer or Olympic Champion?
Since I have no preference, both are equally important for me, even though not having the larger Olympic rarity value. Many people think that I would achieve more for Switzerland with an Olympic gold medal, but I do not see it quite like that. What pleases me is that we come up with a strong generation after Wimbledon, with Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and me. The tennis tournament should be on everyone’s lips. That should be good publicity for the future of tennis in the Olympics.
It increases the pressure that it could be your last game?
I consider it to be impossible, even in Rio to play. Pressure we have already everywhere. What the Olympic tournament makes them dangerous is that in the beginning is played over best of third Since ten weak enough minutes, and everything can be over. It’s like a different discipline than the Grand Slam tournaments.
If you live during the games in a house in Wimbledon?
Yes, we both tournaments during the same rented house. Once again a new one. The landlord of last year did not give the house again this year.
Is defending the title in doubles with Stanislas Wawrinka a great goal? They have hardly played together, are in any case, only the number 1272 in doubles.
Yes, yes, the Olympic double is a great goal. But it’s just hard for me even to compete in a double. I play so many tournaments and also had minor problems with the body. I felt my feet all the time, in Rotterdam, the Davis Cup in Dubai and also in Indian Wells. The only thing that really helps because, being on vacation, relax. It would not be smart if I did not play doubles. But I hope that before the Olympics, I still play with Wawrinka somewhere. I must go to him, he would always be ready.
Most of your fans employ two main questions: Are you the No. 1 again, and get a 17th Grand Slam title?
I do not know well. But because you can see the amazing opportunities open to me yet, we are talking about absolutely huge success. This is also the reason why I train hard and give everything again. The number 1 is possible for me this year, but I have to play very well. Djokovic can win in Paris, his fourth Grand Slam title in a row, and if he can do that, it will be too difficult for me in the near future the number 1. The respect that. But yes, he has not won in Paris. And if I continue to play so well, I would at least bring in a good position – if I was to win a Grand Slam.
It would be the crowning achievement?
Again to be the one that would actually be the crowning achievement, absolutely, it would be incredible. That’s why I’m doing all this and have played more tournaments.
In Monte Carlo you would theoretically be able to point 2. It appealed to you not to play there? Yes, but eventually it becomes too much. I then ran to the tournament in Rosmalen not only to stay a week longer to the number 1 and beat the record set by Pete Sampras.
And why have you turned down the offer, on 14 July at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid to play an exhibition match against Nadal?
The date – the first Saturday after Wimbledon – I do not like at all. Since I’m on vacation. A week later I could have done it, but that was not possible. It would have been sympathetic, and I hope he has success now with Djokovic.
Their relationship has cooled to Nadal in the last few months because of disagreements? He is assigned as Vice President of the Player Council, in which you are president.
We’ve certainly seen less. He was not in Rotterdam and Dubai, I’m not in Shanghai, he was not in Bercy. We only saw in London, Melbourne and shortly in Indian Wells. We currently have more distance, when there were times when we saw almost daily for weeks. For this reason, certain problems have arisen because we were able to communicate less, unfortunately. That should be no excuse. On the other hand, I think it is normal that we have differences of opinion. I have no problem with Nadal, no matter what he says and thinks. The important thing is that he wants to continue to move to the political events on the tour interesting and things.
Support Nadal now in the blue courts to re-create some goodwill?
This has nothing to do with it. This topic was current a year ago, before our disagreements over the election of the new CEO of the ATP tour or in the calculation time in the world rankings.
You do not have much to gain as President, you came too many times in the criticism of players like Nadal, Davydenko or Stachowski. Have you ever thought to throw it all?
clear: If I were to react spontaneously, I might have already resigned. But I have never felt really attacked personally. Many players also exaggerate in their threats, and then nothing happens. Some wanted too aggressive action against the Grand Slam tournaments because they find that we are too little involved in the big profits. Roland Garros and Wimbledon have now responded and answers given, are now all satisfied.
Wimbledon has just increased the prize money heavily, losing in the first Competition will receive 26 percent more than a year ago. Is this the way a success for the Council?
Yes, that’s a success for everyone involved. It is important that the Grand Slams are fair. You can do whatever they want because they have their status to secure. In the last ten years, the prize money was raised primarily for the finals, now it was important that the others come into play once again. The tournaments are doing better and better as the players should get something back. It must indeed be not just 50 percent, as in the NBA (basketball), but not as much as the U.S. Open.
At the French Open is next to Nadal Djokovic write history, if he his 7th Title outdated. See you in Paris as a potential spoilsport?
No. But it is incredible for Djokovic, now that he is able to bring his fourth major title in a row. I had the opportunity itself twice, Nadal offered a chance in 2011 in Melbourne. This happened in the history of tennis has never been that three players in such a short time had the opportunity. I think it’s great that at present the best play all that good. Unless I win a tournament, it’s usually another one of the Top 4 That’s pretty incredible.
They were in the past months, the overall shape strongest player, but you now have something in the shadow of Nadal and Djokovic. Does that bother you?
That’s because I did not play in Monte Carlo, Djokovic won in Miami and Nadal in Monte Carlo. One has only once on holiday, everything is already different. . . But I enjoy it, too, completely submerge to talk to anyone. I am otherwise omnipresent, in tennis, in Switzerland. I am satisfied with my situation.
Do you find yourself here, think about your life after tennis? Your girls are bigger, will soon be three years old. What kind of influence?
It is particularly permeable. Right now we are wondering about where we want to live once, where they go to school. This is not yet defined. There are little things that I need to decide slowly. It’s nice that I can influence their way, almost every day, with the education, the rules we set. I’m already more frequently, what I would do if I had left off. Whether coaching, I would occasionally deny exhibition matches, such as Pete Sampras. . .
. . . or senior tournaments such as the Zurich Open in the indoor sports hall. . .
Exactly. Right now I have no idea. It would depend on how fit I am still, how much I still want to travel as much concerns me my foundation. There are many possibilities, I have met so many people. But ultimately I am aware that I am a tennis player, that’s what I want to be liked, and the fact we are focusing. The rest can wait.
You have purchased a property in Herrliberg. Is it clear that you will live there once?
There is an option to build something there. We have not yet decided.
Do you want more children?
Now we enjoy the little ones, they keep us busy enough. I assume that we discuss next year. Currently, this decision is something in the distance.
They were in the stadium in Berne, as the ZSC won the Ice Hockey World Championship. They looked a little shocked, or the mistaken impression?
It left me quite cold. I sat with Seve (Luthi) there, and he was extreme for the SCB. As the gate fell, I thought, my God, this can not be. But that’s why we like to watch sports, because we do not know what will happen. It was brutal for the SCB, but an incredible performance of the ZSC. To me it was fun, I look very much like hockey. But I felt sorry for the Bernese fans and players. But their chance to live with and something you have had to.
Roger Federer returns to the ATP World Tour in May for the Madrid masters. Catch up on reading with the editorial, Federer’s path to #1.