Over the years, Roger Federer has developed great confidence in his game and in himself. He rarely gets too down after a tough loss and often displays great resolve no matter the situation on the court. But in a recent conference call for the Olympus U.S. Open Series, Federer gave a few surprising responses when it comes to facing Nadal.
When asked whether Federer had the same fire and confidence that he used to have against Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Federer indicated that while the fire is still there, his confidence might not necessarily be at 100% at all times.
“I think I’ve always had [the fire], for sure,” Federer explained. “For sure, for instance, I went into the French Open final not maybe as confident as other finals when I got crushed. I think the result sort of showed. I think against Rafa, in particular, I don’t want to say you don’t believe 100%, but you’re kind of in doubt with your game. He takes advantage of that. It’s happened to me maybe a couple of times. But I think that happens to all of us a bit.”
It was truly an intriguing response, as Federer has rarely tipped his hand in the past about lacking confidence and has typically remained upbeat over the years. In fact, Federer added that when it comes to playing the top guys, he felt that unless he was playing perfect tennis, it would be difficult to beat them.
“When you come into playing one of the top guys who is on fire, you’re not playing exactly your perfect game, it’s going to be tough to win,” Federer said. “I mean, sure, you try, you do everything you can, but sometimes your game is not working the way it is. Maybe you are in the semis or the finals, but it doesn’t mean you’re playing the best tennis of your life.”
He then reiterated that while his confidence may not always be at peak level, his fire for the big matches against Nadal and Djokovic have never left him.
“The fire has always been there clearly. I’ve always enjoyed my matches with both guys. Particularly the rivalry with Rafa has been very special. I don’t even know what to comment about it because I think it’s normal that I have massive fire and power to play against those guys.”
Federer will be in Montreal, Canada this week for the Roger’s Cup, where Nadal and Djokovic both lurk in the draw. It will be a very important time for the Swiss great, who has typically thrived at the end of the year during the hard-court season. Federer will have four tournaments to defend this year and failure to do so may cause a significant dent for Federer in terms of the rankings.
Federer is already in Montreal practicing and honing his game.
“In Montreal with a bit of jet lag so I went on an early morning walk in the Old Town before my practice. Looking fwd to next week,” Federer wrote on his Facebook.
While it is surprising that Federer indicated that he may not always be 100% confident when facing Nadal, he is still a force to be reckoned with on the ATP tour. If Federer can just have a breakthrough performance this year against Nadal, he may just be able to regain a belief that he can take down Nadal, especially on surfaces away from clay.
Are you surprised by Federer’s comments? Does a lack of confidence play a role in his losing record against Nadal?
Give us your thoughts in the comments below!