Roger Federer was the latest player to be featured on a string of conference calls that have been taking place during the Olympus US Open Series. Below, you will find some highlights from the interview where Fed talks about no longer being No. 1, his 30th birthday, and the remarks that Ryan Harrison made about his "fire."
Q. Roger, you have a big birthday coming up in a few days. People probably will make a big deal out of it. Are you looking forward to it or do you feel any trepidation? How might it affect what you do this summer and going forward?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's not going to affect anything really. Honestly, very often, I did come to Canada, it was my birthday. Canadians always make a big deal about my birthday. It's not going to be very different this time around. This time it's even a bigger one sort of because it's a round number. But I always like enjoying my birthday I don't want to say in public, but at a tournament maybe around that time. So for me it's not something completely different or new. I'm looking forward to turning 30. Excited to see how the Canadians are going to celebrate my birthday this time around. Sometimes they start singing 'Happy Birthday' during a match. I'm not going to play on Monday, but you never know if they're going to do something crazy another day.
Q. Do you see this as a significant milepost in your career, take stock, reevaluate, see where your priorities are, or do you roll right through it as if it were 27 or 31?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, my plans are probably always a bit a year ahead of time. I probably plan one and a half years ahead. So I'm already way past this point. I'm already thinking beyond the Olympics next year. So that's kind of how my schedule goes. Birthdays happen. They're part of life. I'm
happy I'm getting older. I'd rather be 30 than 20, to be honest. To me it's a nice time. Like I said in the preparation, nothing changes. Do you listen to your body more? Yes, you do. Are you more wise? Yes, you are. Are you more experienced? Yes. Do you have a thousand matches in your body? Yes, you do. You just go with what you have. The important thing is I work hard, I'm professional, I enjoy my time on tour, and I have that going for me. I'm very happy about that.
Q. Roger, a while back you said when you were younger you sort of hit with a certain freedom. Ryan Harrison is 19. You beat him at Indian Wells. He said about you that Federer plays anyone else than Rafa or Djokovic, he plays with this swagger, where, ‘It's my match, I'm going to win it.’ But he thinks it's more uncertain when you go out and play Djokovic and Nadal. Could you comment on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven't heard about it. I didn't read the piece. The only reason why I kind of heard about it was because Ryan wrote an apology to my manager to me saying he was misquoted. I like Ryan as a guy, as a player, as a kid. Everything gets blown out of proportion. I think that's his opinion. At the end of the day it doesn't matter much to me because I know what I need to do to beat those guys. He didn't even need to write me a letter, but he did. So that was very nice of him.
Q. Roger, you've had so many goals over the course of your career. What are some goals as you move forward? You're thinking about mixed doubles at the Olympics, the Olympics were a target of yours, that's where you wanted to play until. What are your goals as you move forward then?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think first of all it's important to stay healthy and see how long the body allows me to play because the mind is there. I love my traveling. I have no problem. That's a good thing. I still think, because I've been so fortunate to be so successful, you just want to get back to those winning ways, get those feelings as many times as possible, trying to win all those tournaments that mean a lot to you, it almost doesn't matter which one it is. I'll probably be picking the tournaments I like to play the most at this point because I've achieved so much. That's a very nice situation to be in. It's important that I work hard, I practice well, I do all the right things. Olympics is obviously part of that. We'll see how things go in the next years.
Q. Roger, you spent four, five, almost six years as the No. 1 guy, everybody always chasing you. You're in a different place now. Have you gotten accustomed to that? Are you okay with it? Do you not mind approaching from a little bit behind two other guys? Is it something that still gets to you a bit?
ROGER FEDERER: No, no, no. I mean, it's what it is. I'm aware that Novak had to do something extremely special to get past me. Same thing for Rafa. I think we all had to do something very special to get past each other in the rankings. I think that's a good thing. If someone wants to become world No. 1, 2, even 3 or 4 for that matter, you have to do something really good. Either you're extremely consistent or extremely successful at the highest of level. You have to win a massive amount of tournaments. I'm at peace with myself because of it. There's nothing else I can do. I had my chances to do well or not. From that standpoint, I'm very laid back about the situation. Sure, I'd love to be world No. 1 and not No. 3. I still think No. 3 is a good ranking. It's not number I don't know what. I'm at peace with that. Do I approach the tournaments differently? Well, maybe a little bit obviously. I think when you win 90, 95% of your matches you go into a tournament slightly more confident. Other than that, there's not a huge change because I know my abilities. I don't want to say I'm overconfident, but I also know what I can do and I also know, how do you say, my limits. Hopeful that allows me to play the best tennis I can each day.