Roger Federer moved into the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for a record-extending 18th time with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 win over Lorenzo Sonego on Monday. And while speaking to the media after the match, Federer revealed that he considers himself to be a “different player” at this year’s Championships.
He also gave his thoughts on his possible quarterfinal opponent, and why the identity of that player has very little effect on his own preparations.
The eight-time champion is due to play either Daniil Medvedev or Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals. Under normal circumstances Roger Federer would have known his next opponent by now, but the remainder of the Medvedev-Hurkacz clash has been shifted to Tuesday due to rain.
When asked if he had a preference in terms of opponent, Roger Federer replied in the negative. He then highlighted the need to focus on his game and be prepared to the best of his abilities for the quarterfinals.
“For me, it doesn’t really matter who is on the other side of the net,” Roger Federer said. “I have to focus on my game and have to rely on my weapons.”
Roger Federer further claimed he is no longer the same player that won the title at SW19 eight times. The Swiss explained that unlike previous years, he now has to strategize his matches on a point-by-point basis.
“I’m a different player at Wimbledon this year than I have been in previous years,” Federer said. “I have to understand what works and think point by point.”
Roger Federer also talked about how he has introduced more variety to his baseline game. The 39-year-old then reiterated that even though he is into the last eight at Wimbledon, the circumstances are a lot different this time.
“I vary from the baseline even more than I did before,” Roger Federer went on. “It’s a different time, even if I’m in the quarterfinals like I used to be.”
When asked to provide an update on his physical condition, Roger Federer responded that he is glad to see all his efforts towards recovering from the knee injury have paid off.
“It’s nice to see how the work I put in [to recover from the knee injury] paid off and that I’m fit to play best-of-five sets,” Federer said.
The 20-time Major champion further claimed he wanted to prove to himself that he could play at the highest level in back-to-back events. Roger Federer expressed his happiness at getting physically ready for Wimbledon in time, but then stated that finishing the match against Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets was crucial to maintain his energy levels.
“In my case there was a rather big question mark because I had to show myself that I could really do it [about playing Roland Garros, Halle and Wimbledon at the last month],” Federer said. “I was willing to sacrifice certain things to be there on the court and try to get my physique ready for this tournament. It is very gratifying to be able to do it, although we will see how much more I have left in the tank. It was important to win in straight sets.”
“I’m still not 100% convinced we are on the other side” – Roger Federer on the COVID-19 pandemic
Roger Federer was later questioned about the 100% crowd capacity at Wimbledon in the upcoming rounds. In response, Federer stressed that the pandemic is still far from over, given how it keeps resurfacing after a lull period.
The 39-year-old, however, expressed hope for things to improve sooner rather than later.
“I’m still not 100% convinced we are on the other side,” Roger Federer said. “I still think there is more to come. Last summer we also…[were] super positive…then everything changed later on in the year, especially indoors for us in Europe. We’re all hoping we can move on soon.”