Tennis Prose



Dan’s Press Conference Question To Roger Federer

Dan has asked Roger Federer many questions over the years at pro tennis press conferences, provoking responses that have run the gamut to warm to cool, but his question after the Medvedev match at Miami Open was one of the best responses he’s ever collected.

Q. You used that chip forehand slice approach a number of times today, and the backhand seemed to have a tough time. These guys who are 6’4″, 6’5″ and taller, do you find you personally are using those chip and slice shots more to give them trouble?

ROGER FEDERER: I’m not sure if I really do that against bigger guys more often than against the other guys. The chip approach on the forehand side was more about sort of trying to fake a dropshot and then not doing it, seeing how he was going to react to it, if he was going to sort of bite, like fishing or not. And it worked both times. But it’s not a play you can use all the time, because I never practice it, to be honest. It’s a bit of — it’s not the most solid play out there.

You know, against certain players, slices work better than others. And today I know that if I do slice, I have to run a lot, I have to work a lot, which is fine at times. At the end of the day I have to come over and have to try and make the plays, too.

So I don’t necessarily use it against bigger guys more often, I don’t believe. Sometimes I have to get into the point through a slice return more often against the bigger guys because they serve bigger, so I choose to go on the chip. That’s about it.

Then Federer was asked another question and he referenced his slice and glanced back over to Dan…

Q. Speaking of tall people, Kevin Anderson, your next opponent, can you talk about him, what you expect from him and what challenges he poses?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, he’s got a great serve. Look, I’m happy he’s playing again after his injury. I mean, I think if you beat me at Wimbledon, you’ve got my attention.

So from that standpoint, I know what I’m about to expect tomorrow. The matches I have played against him I know can be extremely close always, just because of his sheer possibilities that he has on the serve. I believe that probably the best surface for him is this kind of a type of hard court here in the States where he’s spent a lot of his time practicing, as well. Coming from South Africa, I’m sure this is the kind of court also he played on.

Similar to today, I’ve just got to make sure I protect my serve very well and slice maybe sometimes, get into the rallies, and then find a way. So it will be interesting to see how it’s going to go.

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  • Dan Markowitz · March 28, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks Scoop, for posting my question and the follow-up to Federer. I have asked Roger a fair amount of questions over the years, and I’m always slightly afraid that he’ll remember me asking him about eight years ago if he was done or getting close to the end and him replying something like, “You guys are acting like I’m 40 years old. Let’s look back five years from now and I see how I’ve done.”

    Well, he’s done pretty well. I always like asking Roger questions because he talks directly to the questioner, looks her/him in the eyes and usually has something insightful to say.

    I was also happy that when I saw Thomas Blake at the Open this year after not having seen him in a long time, he smiled and said hello and I when I walked past James Blake and said hello he said hello back even though he and I have had some testy moments in the past particularly when he didn’t like Break Point.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Dan, yes Federer has a charisma second to none. Maria Bueno told me in her Biofile years ago that Federer’s charisma is like Bill Clinton, he just takes over a room. She met Fed and Clinton too so she would know. Roger has a charm and he makes you like him, you cannot help liking him after you ask him a question and he gives you a thoughtful answer. He gives you an answer that is more than you expect.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 28, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Remember Scoop, no politics on the site. Yes, I really like Fed. He is really respectful and has this relaxed air about him when receiving questions which is really nice to see and be around.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Federer is looking super sharp, just annihilated the one dimensional Anderson. Shap was sensational taking out Big Foe, just a little more explosive at the baseline, better serve, both were warriors and both made some incredible touch volleys under pressure. Big embrace after, then as Foe departed court, Shap stepped over and shook hands again. Shap is the best sport in the ATP and Foe is highly ranked in that department too.

  • Hartt · March 28, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Shapo and Tiafoe are buddies, so Denis did that extra exchange with him. He has talked about what a good player Frances is, and obviously has a lot of respect for him.

    Denis vs Frances was an entertaining match. The American posters on Match Call Migrants were very annoyed that they were stuck with the Fed vs Anderson match. I watched a bit of it, and it’s true that it was too one-sided to be interesting.

    Denis is now No.20 in the live rankings. If FAA manages to defeat Isner he will move from No.33 to No. 25. I have dreams of a Denis vs FĂ©lix final, but realise that it’s not likely to happen.

  • Thomas Tung · March 29, 2019 at 2:27 am

    A Denis-Felix final would take a huge load off the “worried ATP executives” who engineered the NextGen Finals (due to fears of Fedalovic retirement).
    Roger, though, seems to be quite pleased with what the NextGen have to offer:


    (last link tries to stir up false “controversy” over A.Zverev)

    The Tennis Channel interview w/Federer was really, really good; Roger gave a great analysis.

  • catherine · March 29, 2019 at 3:01 am

    Barty v Pliskova for the final, which I’m sure was not the result the WTA wanted but that’s what it’s got. Halep looked underwhelming losing to Pliskova, 7-5 6-1. Ash bt Kontaveit without trouble. Simona has said (rashly) that she wants to win W’don this year but I can’t see it myself.

    Miami’s been a bit of a washout (literally in the sfs)for the women – poor attendance, Serena clearly struggling now, promising younger players not coming through (Sabalenka’s more interested in playing doubles), interesting players (Hsieh) on the old side. No names and games to fill a huge soulless stadium on this new site.

    Maybe things will pick up on the clay and in the summer. Remember – a couple of years ago Johanna Konta won Miami 🙂

  • Hartt · March 29, 2019 at 9:03 am

    As you can imagine, I am beyond excited about the men’s SFs today. It will be tough for FAA to beat Isner, and for Shapo to beat Fed, but I hope at least one youngster can prevail. I think Felix has a slightly better chance than Denis does, but we will see.

    Denis basically said he has looked forward to playing Roger his entire life, and Fed had high praise for Denis. He is not taking the young Canuck lightly.

  • Leif Wellington Haase · March 29, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Building on Indian Wells, I think Miami will be remembered as the moment the NextGen group became fully visible to the casual fan and not primarily to tennis insiders. To the surprise of absolutely no one, FAA is nailing his debut on the big stage. He has been so poised, and so anticipated, for so long that it seems almost implausible that he is only eighteen. However, he has been plying his trade and paying his dues literally for years. I remember vividly that Felix came in 2017 to a challenger in Stockton, CA, seeded for the first time and heralded, and was absolutely crushed by former top-20 player Dmitry Tursunov (who literally lives up the road and had, improbably, been forced to qualify, to the disbelief of the other qualifiers.) After a quiet discussion with his coach Guillame Mark, he lay down on a grassy patch for fifteen minutes, processed the loss, then went back to the practice court and worked briefly but hard on the shots he had missed. He’s had a professional attitude from the start and his fellow players—all of whom unanimously recognize his potential—have had his back in the way that people sometimes do for a special talent—discouraging him, for example, from playing pickup basketball, with its high potential for injury, during a weather delay. Like Neo in the Matrix, they know that he is THE ONE—the rare player, like Federer (who was likewise singled out and awaited) who draws eyeballs to the game and whose charisma attracts fans.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 29, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Shapo impresses me, he may be the best sportsman in tennis. Very gracious on court in defeat and victory.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 29, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Double T, Felix vs Shap final is a good combo but not the final everyone, with the lone exception of Hartt, wants. Fed vs Felix is the ratings buster and most appealing final. I don’t like to see Shap vs Felix because they are like two brothers and they don’t enjoy it imo.



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