Roger Federer had a stopover at Singapore on Friday en route to Melbourne where he will be reaching on Saturday for participating in Australian Open, 2013 starting from 14th January, 2013. He spoke to media personnel in the Credit Suisse office in Singapore.
Here are a few excerpts from his interview ::
Roger Federer on schedule & longevity & using the exemption rule (for ATP players who are more than 30 years of age or have played more than 600 matches on tour) :::
Roger Federer: Its the key to have a healthy schedule. Its a difficult thing to do because the Tennis calendar is spread out from January to November. Its hard to say that I will take a month or two months off & practice at home (which is like an investment, might improve your game, but won't give you any points) while there will be 10-15 new tournament champions. I have never been scared to take tough decisions. I wanna enjoy and have fun while coming back on tour. I want to be motivated for every match, for every tournament. I never want to think that oh no another trip, oh no another tournament, oh no another fan coming up to me for an autograph or a photograph. I really want to be excited going to the center courts, practice courts, going to media rooms. I want to be fresh for all these things. For that, being away from all these things help. Like, I have been away for the last 2 or 3 weeks, after a very busy Gillette Federer Tour.
Its important for me to have family time in between & this year (2013) gives me more time because of exempt rule, but exempt or no exempt, I have always played my schedule according to my body, my mind. I have taken many good decisions and many bad decisions. I am not a fan of entering tournaments just to show off to fans that I don't have a chance of winning or doing well.
Roger Federer on being asked if he is the favorite or the underdog for Australian Open, 2013?
Roger Federer: I have always enjoyed being the favorite. Half of my career, I have been the favorite. That extra pressure has made me play better. I do believe Novak Djokovic goes in as the favorite for this year's Australian Open after Djokovic won the Australian Open last couple of years or just last year (may be, I am not sure) & he has won Australian Open for 3 times now plus he won the World Tour Finals and he has played really well on the hard court. He has been the best hard court player for the last couple of years even thou, Murray won the US Open. Murray is playing great & only going to get stronger in the next couple of years. But, as you know, Australian Open is a long tournament lasts for couple of weeks, so you never know, what will turn up.
Its unfortunate that Rafa (Rafael Nadal) won't be there. We will love to see him back. We were all hoping to see him back. It creates opportunities for every one especially from No. 5 to No. 30 or may be, further down. There is one less guy, who normally runs through 90% of guys. It is an interesting tournament for every one. Personally, for me, even if I am the 2nd or 4th or 8th favorite, what ever it might be, it doesn't change much. I know, if I am playing well, I can win tournaments.
Roger Federer on which tournament would he like to win this year?
Roger Federer : I would like to win a lot of titles. Winning titles is always special. Its always nice to win titles. I would be playing 15 or 17 tournaments this year. If I play well, I can give myself many opportunities to win titles. Qualifying for World Tour Finals is a big goal. Records here or there will be achieved if I play well & if media reminds me, that will be a big motivation for sure.
Records will give me an extra push, will help me in forgetting rivalries with my fellow Tennis professionals.
Roger Federer on what wakes him up every day & keeps him motivated?
Roger Federer :: My kids wake me up early every day . I have been happy to see how long I have been playing. Every one has to fade away eventually. But, I am not 80 or 90 yet, so I feel, I am very young yet. Tennis won't last forever, so I need to make the best of every chance. Playing against the best & competing against the best is a great feeling, even if I lose, but, I know, I am playing good & right up there. I have enjoyed my life on court. My wife has been a big support which is a big positive else the things would have been very complex.
My kids have been great, I had never imagined playing in front of my kids, then we got two, which was a big surprise for us, but its been fun now. They haven't proved to be any distraction. I have been trying to be a great parent & now, look after their education as they are turning 3 and a half now. I think, balancing time between family and court is very important. I am happy, my kids and my wife is happy and that's very important.
Here is a short video extract from his interview ::
& for the full interview, see this video
Roger Federer also said that he has heard that Australian Open have made the courts a marginally faster this year. The Australian Open courts in night are 30% slower than the courts in day time.