by David Joseph Constable
It took me by surprise, being asked to coach Roger [Federer], but at the same time I was honoured. He’s probably one of the best players to ever play the game. And he’s a great person. Last year he had a lot of injuries and didn’t play well here [Wimbledon], but I believe he has a little bit of a chance this year. He’s played many games and there’s definitely a chance. If he plays at his best, and with a little bit of luck, then sure.
Roger is a player who can play all sorts of games, he’s still looking to improve, to be more aggressive on the court and I think it’ll do him well going forward. It’s nice to watch him play when he has variation to his game and as a spectator it’s great to watch a player who does something a little bit different, magical at times.
Looking at this year’s draw, I’d have to say that Djokovic has the greatest chance. Murray faces a tough battle to defend his title, but I think he can do it. He’s starting to play better and reached the semi-final of the French Open. Plus he’ll have the crowd pulling for him. He’ll still have to face players like Nadal [who missed last year's Wimbledon tournament] and it’s going to be tough… but he’s experienced, he’s been in finals and he knows how to deal with it. He must be feeling pretty good and got off to a good start the other day. From Murray’s point of view, there’s a lot of pressure and lots of things to deal with.
[on returning to Wimbledon as a defending champion] Well, it’s been a long time since I was a defending champion, but you feel good coming back to a place where you know you played good tennis the previous year. There’s the Monday, 2pm match, that’s tradition. I remember that. Lots of players feel at home here [Wimbledon].
The biggest difference at Wimbledon since I was playing is the facilities. When I was playing I was in the old lockers rooms. There have been a lot of improvements for the players and the spectators…and the tennis is better too.
[on any young players causing an upset of breaking into the leading pack] It’s pretty tough to break into the men’s game now and you have very few players who are 19, 20, 21 who are starting to break through. I think Dimitrov [Grigor Dimitrov was the youngest player ranked inside the top 50 on the ATP Tour last year] is a talented player with a lot of potential. I think he could do really well here. He’s the young one to watch out for.
I enjoy coaching now. It’s never something I thought I would do on the tour, but it’s been interesting just to be around the game and to see how it’s played today and what players are doing. As a player I was always looking for what was best for me, and now I’m looking out for what’s best for Roger. It’s the opposite thing. But it’s great to be around him, he’s a great ambassador for the sport, on and off the court.
[asked whether he babysits Roger's twins, Leo and Lenny] Yes, that’s all I do!
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