June 7, 2019
R. NADAL/R. Federer
6-3, 6-4, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. In the second set you lost your serve immediately after you had broken him. Do you think that has been one of the keys of the match? Is that what you regret the most? How do you think in general you played this match? Because Nadal, in my opinion, played very, very well.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think the first set was mostly about getting used to conditions, you know. It was incredibly windy. Especially, you know, for a big match like this for both of us, it's just really complicated, you know.
So you're trying to see how much can you do or can you not do? Are you playing flatter or with more spin? Are you keeping the ball in play? Are you going for stuff? I think that was basically the story of the first set, more or less.
Of course it would have been great, you know, to stay with him. In those kind of conditions, I think we both knew that a lot can happen, you know. One wind gust here, you find yourself on your serve at 30-All, and you already feel like you're not controlling things anymore like in normal conditions. So I think that was the story of the first set.
Second set, I think there is definitely the biggest regret is to get broken at 2-Love with the wind in my back. If I can avoid that one, maybe the second set turns out to be different. But I think holding serve against the wind with Rafa's quality on the return is just really hard, you know. He barely misses any.
And then when he's in the rally, he plays with great spin on the forehand, great sort of control on the backhand side. So it's just really hard to find holes, especially in the wind, if you're trying to hit through the ball, which is really difficult, actually.
But it was windy for both. He was better, no doubt about it. But I had maybe mini chances today, but they were not big enough to win today.
Q. Congratulations on your return to the French Open. You could tell, I'm sure, the fans really appreciated you being out there and wanted to see more tennis. After you're down two sets to none, what's your feeling? Are you thinking that you can perhaps get back in the match? Are you frustrated at the way you're playing? Is there something about Rafa's game that made it difficult for you to get control of the match?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think he does that to anybody, you know, on the clay. He makes you feel uncomfortable the way he defends the court and plays on clay. There is nobody who even plays remotely close to him.
I don't even know who I need to go search for to go practice with somebody who plays like him (smiling). I was thinking that during the match. It's just amazing how he plays from deep and then is able to bounce back and forth from the baseline. It's just quite interesting.
No, but my mindset still was, you know, it's windy, anything can happen. I didn't play poor two first sets in my opinion. I thought Rafa really had to come up with the goods to make the difference, and the difference was a passing shot here, a pickup there, and then he was doing great, you know.
So down two sets to Love, it's no different from starting the match in that moment on. It's just that you're down and don't get frustrated because of the wind or by his play. And I was trying to stay positive, but it was a tough opening service game, I believe, and that set the tone then for the end.
Q. How do you assess your return here as a whole? Do you think you'll be back?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I thought it was a great tournament. I really enjoyed it. Crowd support couldn't have been better. Maybe one of the best ever in my entire 20-year career that I have been on tour at a slam.
Them always being there for me, supporting me in practice, at the matches, on the grounds whenever I came and showed up, they were always happy to see me. So that was nice.
In terms of playing, I think I played really, actually, well. You know, I think I surprised myself maybe how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout.
And next year, just like with any other tournament, I don't know. We'll see what happens. But I definitely enjoyed the clay court season and the French Open, so that would help the chances, I guess, to return to the clay. It's not like it's been a shocker, you know. So from that standpoint, it's okay.
Q. The WTA was not happy with today's schedule, they said, with both women's semifinals being not put on Chatrier. Curious what you thought when you saw the schedule and if you think something different could have been done to accommodate that?
ROGER FEDERER: I understand, you know. You make it all the way to a semis and you get put on the third-biggest court at 11:00. It's a tough one.
When I saw the schedule also, I was a little bit, like, surprised to see the scheduling, but at the same time, I was trying to understand how did we get there, you know.
And the problem is we don't have a roof here, and I just think maybe not enough rounds are being played in the first week somehow. Maybe they need to double up in the first weekend or something. I'm not sure.
Because if you have a Saturday set finals, I guess, which it is, I'm not sure -- is the women's final tomorrow? Then, I mean, you have to get the match done. At least you would have liked it to be maybe at 6:00 p.m. tonight, but then you don't have a roof and you don't know the weather. It's super windy and winds can change and clouds come over and it starts raining, and you don't have your finals that is supposed to happen tomorrow and ticket holders have that.
I think it was more of maybe a question, maybe you should question that first week. You know, if you start on Sunday already, maybe get going faster. I'm not sure how that then works out, but I think that was the problem in the first place.
And then today, I just think that's a consequence of all of that.
Q. Your game plan has been so good against Rafa on hard courts in the last five wins you had. Did the wind change your game plan, or could you still play the way you wanted to play?
ROGER FEDERER: No. Nobody can.
Q. I mean, completely.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I don't know how to explain in other terms. You get to a point where you're just happy to make shots and not look ridiculous. I mean, it's that bad. It's just really difficult, you know, for both of us.
There is also no way to practice in these conditions, you know. It's all a mindset. It's footwork. It's all that stuff, you know.
Yeah, so, I don't know what I could have done a whole lot different, you know. Does it take my serve out of play a little bit maybe also? It just slows things down as well there.
With the toss being all over the place, you've got to go for a bit more safety, and that's just maybe enough for him to get more second serves. I don't know. Or if I make the first serve, it's just not -- I can't get the rhythm going, you know. You have that.
But again, I don't think I played poorly in the wind today. It's just it's tough on clay. You know, you've got to try to take on the half volleys, too, all that stuff. It just adds to the equation. He's the best clay-court player, so I can accept that. It's not a problem.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in native language.
Q. I would like to know what is the main feeling: The disappointment at a defeat or the frustration of not being able to express yourself under these difficult windy conditions?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I accept this, because the conditions are the same for both, unless he had less wind than I had. I don't know (smiling).
It was difficult, but I accept that. He played in an incredible way. He has incredible abilities on clay. I knew that ahead of time.
I don't look like I fight, but I do. And I tried to believe in it. I tried to turn the match around until the end. But the further along down the match, the better he seemed to feel in the wind.
But I had some opportunities. It's a pity I wasn't able to maybe win the first set. With the wind, everything was possible. But once again, it was impressive to see him on clay.
Q. A theoretical question. Next year there will be a roof here?
ROGER FEDERER: And less wind maybe (smiling). First they put the roof, and then the roof is going to fly away. There was so much wind, it was incredible. (Laughter.)
I don't know if you understand. It was just crazy. No excuses, but it was crazy.
Q. So with the wind and the roof, according to you, should one put the roof or leave it open?
ROGER FEDERER: No, the roof remains open (smiling).
You know about the sand castles and the sandpits where children play with the sand? You know, first I'll have to empty my eyes. And tonight with Rafa, we'll have to see what we are eating. I don't know we'll be able to see.
But it's a bit dangerous. Obviously if you can, you keep the roof open. It's an outdoor tournament. But it's just in case it's raining or when it becomes dangerous or to finish a match, then you close the roof.
I don't know which are the rules here. I know in Wimbledon it's a problem with the neighbors.
But it's very important to have this roof, as was explained, for example, when we talked about the ladies' program, which was a consequence of the lack of roof.
So we'll see what happens next year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports