Roger Federer will be fighting to make the weekend Thursday when he plays Kevin Anderson at the ATP Tour Finals.
So he had little reaction Tuesday night when asked, after an impressive victory over Dominic Thiem and a fair preamble, to comment on the radio show chat that had him as the central topic.
“I know about the comments, yeah. But I don’t really feel in the mood during a World Tour Finals to discuss that topic, to be honest. In all fairness, I hope you understand why. Because this is a bit of a celebration for tennis. For me it’s the year-end finale. I love playing here,” Federer said after the 6-2, 6-3 victory over Thiem.
The quick win allayed speculation about Federer’s health and mindset, in the wake of the desultory defeat to Nishikori Sunday.
“The radio interview that happened over a week ago that surfaces now, in French, Julien – who is a nice guy, I know him since the junior times – I think all of this has been totally taken out of context,” he added. “I don’t feel like I need to comment on this. I’d rather put it to rest rather than adding to it so you guys get something to write about.”
You ask, sometimes you don’t get
Federer did point out that he, and agent Tony Godsick, often are asked about his scheduling preferences. And sometimes, he’s told that certain markets have asked him to play at certain times.
“I get asked, ‘Would you like to play Monday or Tuesday’ sometimes. Sometimes I get asked, ‘Do you want to play day, or night?’ Sometimes they go ask the agent. And sometimes they ask me, you know, ‘Asia wants you to play at night’. Yes, sometimes we have our say,” Federer said.
“But I asked to play Monday at the US Open. I played Tuesday night. It’s all good, you know. I’ve had that problem for 20 years in the good way. Sometimes I get help, sometimes I don’t. Yeah, sometimes they come ask, sometimes they don’t,” he added. “But a lot of the facts are not right, just to be clear there, from what I heard.”
Thiem struggles with hard-court tactics
If Federer and Nishikori both played horribly in the first set of their round-robin opener, that match eventually got better.
On Tuesday, Thiem appeared unsure as to what strategy to use on the indoor hard court.
Nothing really worked. And one thing’s for sure, his efforts to move forward and take the net did not pay dividends.
That the loss to Federer ended on a makeable forehand volley that went impressively awry sort of summed up the Austrian’s evening.
Thiem now is 0-2, with one more round-robin match against Kei Nishikori remaining.
“Feels good, I’m very happy that I showed a reaction after last match against Kei. No match is easy here, and maybe something I’m not that used to, to lose and come back and play again. But it was a good exercise, great challenge for me,” Federer said on court after his win.
“I’m happy with my attitude, and happy with how I played. And it was good fun playing against Dominic.”
Turning his frown upside down
Federer admitted he got very negative against Nishikori, mostly because of the quality of his play in the opening set.
“Against Kei it was 4-4 the first set. And we were both playing very, very badly. We can’t play much worse than that. But instead of seeing it positive, I saw everything quite negative. Just, I guess, one of those days sometimes where you wake up, you feel good, but you can’t come out and produce what you’re maybe used to,” Federer said. “But it happens, and Kei actually played very well at the end, played a great breaker. As we both picked up our games, he had a better attitude, and just played a little bit better.
“Today I was more positive, more happy on the court. I love playing here in London. I reminded myself of what a privilege it is playing in the O2, and I hope it showed a little bit,” he added.
(Screenshots from TennisTV.com)