After his loss against Daniel Brands in Gstaad, Roger Federer gave an interview to Heinz Günthardt, a former pro and a commentator for Swiss TV. Federer talked about his back problems and his plans for the near future.
Roger Federer, people talked a lot about your back problems during the last few days, and they were also the main topic at the press conference. How did these problems affect your game?
The impact was perhaps not as great as one could have expected; I was able to play without feeling hardly any pain. That’s why it was probably more about tennis than about my back. It’s true that we talked a lot about my back at the press conference, but that was primarily because I was going through a bit of a bad patch during the last 7 or 10 days. I never really got to practice without any problems; some days I wasn’t even able to train at all and it was therefore difficult to deliver a top performance. I knew that the match against Brands wouldn’t be an easy one. I was glad that I was able to play at all – for quite some time, it hadn’t looked as though that would even be possible. But after today’s practice I told myself “Yes, I’m fit enough to play this match.” That’s why there’s no other excuse than that my match preparation wasn’t ideal. In the end, Brands was just the better player today.
It was obvious today that you tried to go up to the net from the very beginning of the match. Did your back problems have an influence on your tactics?
Not really. I’d already told Marco (Chiudinelli) that you need to play offensively and move up to the net as it’s hard to play passing shots and returns at this altitude. I tried to go up to the net as often as possible so that I wouldn’t have to work so much defensively. My tactics were actually OK; I just wasn’t able to put them into action. That’s also one of the reasons why I lost this match.
The fact that you’re not 100% fit also impacts your schedule. How are you going to tackle the next few weeks?
We’ll need to consider and discuss a lot of things. The focus will be on making my back better so that I’ll finally be able to really concentrate on my training and don’t have to constantly think “What is it now? My back doesn’t seem to be OK.” I’d like to again be able to practice as hard and as well as I did before the tournament in Hamburg. At the time, I was extremely motivated and in high spirits and I was really looking forward to all that was to come. And then the pain in my back came creeping back – I’ll need to see how I can get out of this. I still don’t know whether I’ll be playing in Montreal – I have one more week to decide. I’ll now draw up a schedule and see what I can do for my back and practice-wise. Then everything will be happening very quickly, but I’ll have to take it from day to day.