PARIS – Roger Federer has rolled through his first couple of rounds this week smoothly and rather anonymously for a man who travels with four kids and the entourage that goes with that. And no one really expects that to change with his match against No. 31 seed Dmitry Tursunov on Friday.
The French daily sports newspaper l'Équipe published a great interview with Federer on Friday that took place last weekend just prior to the tournament's start.
It turns out, not only is the man unafraid to cry, he cries – and lot. Always has. And he's unafraid to talk about it.
Here are some Busted Racquet-translated excerpts from the interview, in which L'Équipe characterizes Federer as arriving in Paris more in the guise of a fulfilled father than a major contender. It takes the form of a Q&A, with each question starting with "The day you ..."
...played the perfect point?
Federer said he has two, the biggest being the match point he saved against Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final, that sweet backhand down the line at 8-7 in the fourth set tiebreak. He said it wasn't the shot so much, but its importance in the match. Otherwise, Nadal wins in four sets, he said, and it doesn't take on the mythic proportions it later did, ending in the darkness with Nadal's five-set victory.
...cried in the locker room after a loss?
"These days, I usually cry out of joy, for example when my twins Leo and Lenny were born," he said. "I cried before Mirka went to the hospital, during and after the birth. It was good; I'm happy I could let my emotions go like that because I think that because of it, I'll always remember that particular moment. So huge for me."
As well, Federer remembers being inconsolable after losing to Tommy Haas in the semifinals of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He said he just crouched in a corner like a child and couldn't stop crying. The next day, he had to play Arnaud Di Pasquale for the bronze medal but he lost again. And cried all day. But that very night, he met Mirka and they had their first kiss. "So after that, it was fine!" he said.
...wanted to be unknown, anonymous?
"More and more often. The problem is that private life doesn't exist because of smart phones. Before, the photos were blurry and we really didn't care. Today, the quality is so good. It scares me."
...were touched by an opponent's sadness after defeating him?
"Every time I've beaten my countryman Marco Chiudinelli. I would always remember the good old days, our footy matches, our practices together. When I played him in juniors, we cried all the time! When I was ahead, he cried. And, in the same match, when he was ahead, I'd start to cry. We'd support each other, 'C'mon! It's okay, you'll come back, no worries.' "
... face France in the Davis Cup final?
"I do it [Davis Cup] a lot for them because, for me, winning the Davis Cup won't change my life. But their lives? Much more. Honestly, it pleases me more to play for (my teammates) than for me. I just want us to have great moments together, with or without the Cup."
...you'd love to live over again?
"The day of my win against Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001. I don't know why, on match point, I knew he'd serve wide. ... I was telling myself, 'Oh my God, I can't believe it, I won!" It was – it was huge. Those five seconds, I'd love to relive them all over again."