The following is an excerpt from today's Olympus U.S. Open Series conference call with Roger Federer that New York Tennis Magazine participated in featuring Roger Federer of Switzerland, currently ranked number three in the world:
You have won the U.S. Open five times from 2004-2008. Which of those tournaments stands out in your mind and why?
Well, I guess the first one always kind of stands out just because of it being the first one. The finals were so incredible for me against Lleyton Hewitt that I kind of look back on that one in a big way. I think actually the year I defended I think it was against Andre Agassi in the finals, I had to play him there. I thought he might retire if he won the U.S. Open. There was a huge buzz before the match. I was the new world number one who was almost unbeatable. He played a great match, got really close in the match, was able to come through. For me, those two stand out a lot. All the other ones are very important to me, too. If I had to pick two, I would pick those two maybe.
Can you talk a little bit about the role of anticipation. We talk about how much the game has become a movement sport, but we don't hear a lot of talk about anticipation. Can you talk about the role of that in the game today. Is it something that can be taught or learned?
I think it's something you're sort of born with, if you play a lot of tennis early on. I always thought Martina Hingis was a great anticipator of where the ball goes. I don't think it's enough today. I think you have to be very athletic and explosive. I think that's what the top guys are doing at the top of the rankings. I think they maybe have that extra step, that extra somewhere to go and find the ball and get it back. I think you need a lot of different things to do really, really well now. I just think it's tough, it's physical tennis. But I enjoy it. I'm happy I'm going through this period of time, too.
You've had so many goals over the course of your career. What are some goals as you move forward? You're thinking about mixed-doubles at the Olympics, the Olympics were a target of yours, that's where you wanted to play until. What are your goals as you move forward then?
I think first of all it's important to stay healthy and see how long the body allows me to play because the mind is there. I love my traveling. I have no problem. That's a good thing. I still think, because I've been so fortunate to be so successful, you just want to get back to those winning ways, get those feelings as many times as possible, trying to win all those tournaments that mean a lot to you, it almost doesn't matter which one it is. I'll probably be
picking the tournaments I like to play the most at this point because I've achieved so much. That's a very nice situation to be in. It's important that I work hard, I practice well, I do all the right things. The Olympics is obviously part of that. We'll see how things go in the next few years.
You spent four, five, almost six years as the top guy in the sport, everybody was always chasing you. You're in a different place now. Have you become accustomed to that? Are you okay with it? Do you not mind approaching from a little bit behind two other guys? Is it something that still gets to you a bit?
I mean, it's what it is. I'm aware that Novak Djokovic had to do something extremely special to get past me. Same
thing for Rafa. I think we all had to do something very special to get past each other in the rankings. I think that's a good thing. If someone wants to become world number one, two, even three or four for that matter, you have to do something really good. Either you're extremely consistent or extremely successful at the highest of level. You have to win a massive amount of tournaments. I'm at peace with myself because of it. There's nothing else I can do. I had my chances to do well or not. From that standpoint, I'm very laid back about the situation. Sure, I'd love to be world number one and not number three. I still think number three is a good ranking.
Do I approach the tournaments differently? Well, maybe a little bit obviously. I think when you win 90-95 percent of your matches, you go into a tournament slightly more confident. Other than that, there's not a huge change because I know my abilities. I don't want to say I'm overconfident, but I also know what I can do and I also know, how do you say, my limits. Hopeful that allows me to play the best tennis I can each day.