Something truly shocking was said in the press conference room at Wimbledon today, people. I’m not going to judge, I’m just going to present the quote to you so that you can make up your own minds.
Q. Are you a hundred percent fit going into the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.
No, seriously. I did find some of the things said here and there quite interesting today.
There was an understandably difficult presser from Federer:
Q. Difficult moment, but what couldn’t you do that you wanted to do? What let you down?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, I mean, I don’t think I played poorly. But, uhm, I think he went after it. I mean, I know Berdych. I think I’ve played him 10 times already before. That’s the way he plays, you know.
I think he’s been able to play more consistent last year or so, and I was just not able to defend well enough and I didn’t come up with the good stuff when I had to. So it was disappointing, you know. Yeah.
Q. You beat him almost every time you played him. Was he any different?
ROGER FEDERER: Like I said, I think he was a bit more consistent than in the past. I lost to him in Miami this year, where it was a really tight match as well.
But from my end, obviously, you know, I’m unhappy with the way I’m playing. I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play. You know, I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue. That just doesn’t quite allow me to play the way I would like to play.
So it’s frustrating, to say the least. Looking forward to some rest anyway.
Q. How do those physical things affect you the most?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, when you’re hurting, it’s just a combination of many things. You know, you just don’t feel as comfortable. You can’t concentrate on each and every point because you do feel the pain sometimes. And, uhm, yeah, then you tend to play differently than the way you want to play.
Under the circumstances I think I played a decent match, you know. But I’ve been feeling bad for the last two, three matches now. It’s just not good and healthy to play under these kind of conditions, you know.
So if there’s anything good about this it’s I’m gonna get some rest, that’s for sure.
Q. Some of these big, flat hitters seem to be having an effect on you. Do you need to alter your game to adjust to that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I’m healthy I can handle those guys, you know. Obviously it’s a pity that Del Potro is not around, because I think he would have a run at world No. 1 or a run at another Grand Slam. It’s unfortunate for him.
But, you know, he’s been playing well, and these guys do play very well. I played these guys 10 times. They’re not going to reinvent themselves in a year, you know.
But I’m definitely struggling at the moment. That’s a bit disappointing.
Q. When did you first start feeling the problems?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the leg came in the finals of Halle. That kind of never really quite got away from me. Came back a little bit after the first‑round match, and then went away again and just kept creeping back sometimes during the matches.
The back’s been feeling stiff the last five days, six days really badly. Also in the finals of Halle. It’s just something that’s been lingering on the grass. It’s normal that the back tends to get stiff, you know, in the grass court season because you have to, uhm, go for many more lower shots.
I’ve had that for many years. I think many players have it. But it’s not just not nice when it doesn’t go away and you can’t play freely. That’s what I was missing today.
Q. Did it affect your level of motivation or anxiety about the match before the match or in the early stages of the match?
ROGER FEDERER: No, it wasn’t that bad, like that I was just hoping to get to the finish line. I mean, once I enter the court, I am there to battle and to try to win with what I got. You know, otherwise I’m not going to walk on the court like I did once in my life prior in Bercy against Blake.
But it’s nowhere close to being that bad. It’s just uncomfortable. Yeah, like I said, you can’t play freely. When you can’t play freely, that’s the kind of performance you get.
[…] Q. Will this make you hungrier to make you come back and show you can lift this title again?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. God, I can’t wait for Paris and Wimbledon to come around next year again, that’s for sure. So, uhm, because they’ve been frustrating tournaments for me, even though it wasn’t too bad.
Quarters is a decent result. Obviously people think quarters is shocking, but people would die to play in quarterfinal stages of Grand Slam play. It’s not something I’m used to doing, losing in quarterfinals, because it’s not something I’ve done in the last six years.
So I am winning my matches. Today was a different story than Paris. I mean, I think in Paris conditions were tough. Robin played fantastic. Today was different. You know, I was struggling with my own game and with my physique.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to a rest, and then attack again in North America.
Then there was Berdych’s reaction:
Q. With your game, we’ve been expecting big results for a while. What’s changed in the last couple of tournaments that you’ve been able to pull off these kind of wins?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I think, you know, it’s many things. First of all, it’s that you win a couple of matches in the beginning of the year, and then you get a confidence. It keeps going and going.
I mean, it’s not only like about last two weeks. It’s already start I would say maybe, I don’t know, in the United States, Indian Wells, Miami. So it’s quite far ago.
You know, it’s many things. You get more and more experience. I get, you know, a little bit older to be, you know, more focused, you know, mentally stronger than before. That’s what you need.
But it’s many things together, so I’m very happy that it works. They are all together like in one pack. It works pretty well.
[…] Q. Roger said he had some physical problems; that his back and leg were bothering him. What did you notice and what is your reaction to him saying that?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if he just looking for some excuses after the match or something like that. I mean, it happened to all of us. You know, I think he’s been every time when he played, he was I think hundred percent ready.
So maybe right now he’s getting some more troubles with the health. But, you know, I think it just happen today. So I didn’t know that. I just heard it first time like you said it right now. So, yeah, just to him hope that he’s gonna get back soon and that’s it what I can just wish him.
Q. He also said he was unlucky and that he definitely gave the match away. What are your thoughts about that? […] He was saying generally or on big points.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Okay. I mean, yeah, maybe you can take it for both ways. You can say that he was unlucky or you can say that maybe the opponent was a little bit better and he just won the big points against him. In his position, then he lost the match.
You know, I think, yeah, he’s a great player. I mean, but still, I mean, when I just read some newspapers in the morning, I was not surprised, but, you know, to heard something from him to the way that he’s fine, nothing is bothering him. When we played the last match, I lost. But last time in Wimbledon, I won pretty easily. You know, stuff like that.
You know, I saw him quite first time from him the reactions like that. So whatever. I’m in different position. I’m just enjoying the win today, and this is just everything behind me.
Andy Murray displayed his renowned ability to find the bright side in everything:
Q. What did you make of Federer’s shock defeat? Given he’s beaten you in your two Grand Slam finals, do you feel his exit has improved your chances?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know if it’s improved my chance or not. You never know what’s going to happen on any given day in this sport.
But, yeah, it was surprising. But, you know, Berdych is a great player. You know, if he plays his best tennis, he can, yeah, beat the best guys. He’s won against Rafa a few times; he’s obviously beaten Roger a couple of times now; and I obviously lost to him at the French Open a few weeks ago.
You know, doesn’t look like such a terrible result anymore.
And let us in to some secrets regarding the requisite tactics against Nadal:
Q. What are your thoughts on the keys to playing well against Nadal?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you need to serve well and you need to play great tennis. It’s not, you know ‑‑ there’s not one way to play against him. You don’t want to leave the ball in the middle of the court to his forehand, because you’ll do a lot of running.
But you’ve got to serve well and, you know, try and, you know, keep a good length and play well really, really, really well.
Amazing that no-one’s ever thought to play really, really, really well against Rafa.
It was left to Rafa himself along with Nole to be the voices of reason:
Q. When did you find out that Berdych had beaten Roger and what was your reaction?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for sure was a difficult match before, before the match start. You know when you play against these kind of players, like Soderling, like Berdych, they have a very good serve and very powerful shots from the baseline. It’s very difficult sometimes to stop these player, no?
Roger did amazing the last seven years here, so someday must happen this. Happen today. Well, sorry for him, and wish him the best of luck for the rest of the season.
Q. Are you really surprised that Berdych beat Federer today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I mean, Federer is the best player that ever played this game. And still to be able to play this way after he has won so many Grand Slams is just great. I mean, you have to give him credit for everything he has done.
So it’s normal for him to lose. I mean, you guys, you know, you think he shouldn’t lose at all? I mean, you have to congratulate to Berdych for playing that well.
Jo, meanwhile, was focussed on charming the pants off everyone:
Q. Everyone in England will get excited about Murray maybe winning Wimbledon. How do you rate his chances?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I hope is gonna be him. I told him, you know, at the net, Make me a pleasure; go all the way, you know.
And Roger had the last word with what is one of the most enjoyable pieces of sarcasm I’ve observed in quite a long time:
Q. I wonder if you think this might be his year, given some of the really threatening players haven’t been doing so well this year.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, true, Rafa played terribly lately; Soderling is not a threat either. He’s got an easy ride to this victory, that’s for sure. Djokovic can’t play tennis anymore it seems like.
Got to make your own work, please. Respect the players. Obviously Andy is a fantastic player and he’s got all the chances to win here. We all know that.