Roger Federer’s semi-final match against Hyeon Chung lasted just 64 minutes as the South Korean retired when down 1-6, 2-5. After that, Federer held an interesting press conference. When asked about the idealness of having his semi-final end this way, Federer said he would have preferred a complete match. ‘A normal end, yes,’ the Swiss replied.
‘But I must admit, as well, you do take the faster matches whenever you can because there’s enough wear and tear on the body, there’s enough tough matches throughout the season that when they happen, you take them.
There’s nothing you can do anyway about it.’ Analyzing Marin Cilic as an opponent, Federer said, ‘I definitely think him winning the US Open, like Stan winning here a few years ago, it gave them great belief they can do it.
If the big moments come about, that they can attain this level. Not easily, but they can get there from time to time. I think he played great against Rafa. I think the belief and the way he played very positive made him win that match because he didn’t look good there for a while when he was down a set and a break and everything.
Even at the end of last year when I played him in the World Tour Finals in the round-robin, I think he lost all three matches maybe, but maybe should have won at least one of the first two and stuff. The way he came out against me was very much a winner’s attitude: At least I’m going to take maybe one match home against Roger.
I ended up playing a tough three-setter against him. I didn’t feel I was facing a guy who had just lost two round-robin matches. So I like his attitude. He’s very professional. He’s always very much the same regardless of whether he wins or loses.
I like that attitude. On the court, he’s a winner.‘ Speaking of whom, Federer also shared a funny anecdote, about when Cilic and he had an unplanned meeting during the off-season, at the Maldives.
‘I was there first, I think, and he arrived later on the island. I was told that Marin was coming. I was like, Oh, that’s cool. It’s not that they warned me another tennis player is coming. It’s all good, we’re fine.
When he arrived, I didn’t want to bother him. He didn’t want to bother me. After two days, he wrote to me: “I’m here, too, in case you want to catch up and stuff, let me know.” “I was like, Sure, let me know if you want to hit.” He was eager to hit because it’s good to stay in the rhythm for both of us.
We also met up later for drinks, met his fiancée. We had cake together, my whole family and him. We had a good time. It’s not like we’re hanging out all the time, but our paths crossed a few times. We actually went to practice twice for 45 minutes.
It’s great fun. No coaches, no nothing, just the two of us on the court hitting balls. It was just nice and laid back. To get to know the man behind the tennis player, I guess, even though I got to know him better through the Laver Cup and so forth.’ Speaking about the previous finals that he reached in the tournament, Federer said, ‘Hmm.
I mean, it’s obviously a totally different life, you know. I have four kids today. I didn’t have that 10 years ago. Clearly, my life has been turned upside down. In terms of tennis, I think I see things also again a bit different, a bit more I guess wiser to some extent, maybe more laid back because in 2008, was I fighting with mononucleosis that year? I ended up losing in the semis.
That was a bit of a turning point in my career, to be honest. I felt I lost a step there for a little bit, for maybe six to nine months. I was able to sort of bounce back. Yeah, so you go through different stages throughout your career.
I’m happy I’m still around, still healthy, still playing good, give myself chances, playing the best. It’s almost a good fun. I never thought I was going to play a bit of a lesser schedule, which actually is quite enjoyable.
I always thought I’m just going to keep on playing from January to November every single year, 20 something tournaments. But I was able to adapt to it. Maybe that’s also one of the reasons I’m still out there.’ When asked what would he experience if he were to win the title on Sunday, Federer replied, ‘20 times special.
I don’t know what to tell you. It would be amazing. I can’t believe how fast now the week has turned out to be. Yeah, I mean, it ain’t just an easy trip to the finals. There’s always a lot of work that goes into it during the tournament, focus, and also preparation beforehand.
For many weeks and months before, you try to put yourself in the position, are you going to be ready in case a good semifinals or quarterfinals match at the Australian Open, so forth. This is something you sort of plan from a long time ago.
That’s why when it does happen, it’s a great feeling. Rewards the hard work in my team. It shows us that we did a lot of things right in the off-season, as well. That always gives you confidence, especially moving into the semis and finals when you’re starting to hit the ball very nicely after the first few matches where it’s always a bit more difficult.’ Lastly, about Hyeon Chung’s possibilities in the future, Federer said: ‘I think he’s going to be a very good player.
I don’t like to put too much pressure on players by saying they’re going to win everything because I don’t think it’s fair. A lot of experts, such called experts, said I was going to be world No. 1, win everything.
In a way,, it’s funny and cool, but it’s not so cool in hindsight. Afterwards, anything you achieve is normal. I find it disappointing. Getting to No. 1, winning Grand Slams, winning Masters 1000s, it ain’t normal.
It’s extraordinary. I think he’s going to have a lot of success. At what stage, how much, we will see. I did see today why he beat the players like Novak, Sascha, other players in the past. He’s very steady mentally. Today I’m sure he was having a lot of pain with his feet.
Otherwise, why would you retire in such a big-match situation? And you couldn’t tell almost. I like that about the idea of hiding any problems from the opponent. That was very impressive, to be honest. Then just the way he plays tennis, his forehand and backhand.
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