Roger Federer: ‘We chose a tactic that was quite passive’

Roger Federer reached week two of Wimbledon for the 18th time in his amazing career, providing yet another demonstration of his timeless class. The Swiss champion, who had risked a lot on his debut against Adrian Mannarino (forced to retire at the beginning of the fifth set), liquidated local favorite Cameron Norrie thanks to the score of 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4. Having easily managed the first two sets, the 20-time Grand Slam champion experienced a missed pass at the end of the third set, allowing his opponent to get back in the game. The former world number 1 relied on his experience in the fourth set, avoiding further troubles and breaking the pass for the round of 16. King Roger will meet on Monday with Lorenzo Sonego, already beaten in the only previous one staged in the first round of Roland Garros 2019. In the classic interview on the pitch, the 39-year-old from Basel expressed all his joy at the level of tennis he put in show in this first week of the Championships. “I think overall I’m playing at a fairly high level,” said the eight-time Wimbledon champion. “I was lucky in the first round, my English improved and things are going really well for me” – joked the Swiss legend. Thanks to the triumph over Norrie, Federer hit the fourth round of a Major for the 69th time in his career. “That’s a really nice stat to listen to. It serves to demonstrate how long my career has been” – commented the sixth seeded. Roger, who will turn 40 on 8 August, had seriously risked leaving the scene on his debut. Mannarino’s masterful performance had put a subdued Federer on the ropes, before a ruinous fall on damp grass put an end to the Frenchman’s hopes.

Federer was severely tested by Adrian Mannarino in the first round

Roger Federer pointed out that he started the match well but became “tentative” as it wore on, allowing the Frenchman to assert himself. “In the first round against Mannarino it (negative thoughts) kept on creeping back in because we chose a tactic that was quite passive, you know slicing to his forehand a lot and then seeing what would happen,” Federer said. “I was up 6-4, 5-4 so things were working out but as the match went on I started to become tentative and he got better because probably I allowed him to. This is where I needed to probably get out of the match somehow and give myself a chance to play Gasquet who suits my game better especially on the faster courts,” added Federer. According to the eight-time Wimbledon champion, wins over Gasquet and Norrie have filled him with confidence going into the second week. “The same thing against Norrie, I was very clear how I wanted to play and this is how I wanna feel so I feel like maybe thanks to Gasquet and now, Norrie I’m in a much better frame of mind mentally and I have to be if I wanna be competitive in that second week here at Wimbledon.”