It wasn't an easy match at all for Roger Federer in the Shanghai Masters 1000 event. The Swiss player defeated Diego Schwartzman by 7-6(4) 6-4 in his opening round in the Chinese event. The Swiss was down 2-0 in the first set tie-break.
'Tough match', the 19-time Grand Slam champion admitted in press conference. 'I knew going in it was not going to be easy. He's had a great run in recent weeks and months.
I really felt that he was confident, you know. Shaking off misses, no problem. He was serving well. You could see he was taking the right decisions, you know, on his groundstrokes. And as an opponent, you feel that. You could see there was a sort of an ease about his game today.
I felt like that was going to be dangerous down the stretch of any set. I felt that tiebreaker was tough. I was down and then came up with some really good shot-making after that in the breaker to really turn it around. But I think I served well.
I had good concentration. Had good energy, as well, which I think is always important early on in a tournament. I think getting the break early in the second set gave me the chance to try a few more things, play more relaxed, go for my shots more, and then I was able to bring it home, you know, coming back from Love-30 I think in the last game.
So it was a good match for me. I'm actually very happy with my level.' Asked about why players play longer nowadays, Federer said: 'A lot of guys were retiring between 29 and 32, so now it feels like most guys, you know, are going to retire probably between 31 and 35, it seems like.
But then again, every player needs to decide for themselves what the body can take, where your life's at, do you have family, how much is the traveling bothering you? Prize money is only going up, so maybe that's another incentive to also keep playing, as well.
I think players also staying healthy, healthier in the process, because we invest probably more into traveling with massage therapists and physios, do more rehabs. The tour provides us with better services, as well, at the tournaments.
Traveling is easier today than maybe it was still 30 years ago. We can fly more direct today. And all these things make it that we can play longer. And then if the best players in the world can lead the way, like Rafa, myself have, and Agassi and others, I think that inspires the next generation to maybe try to do the same, at least.' Asked about potential of tennis in China, Federer replied: 'Honestly, it's hard for me to give you my views on how development is working out here.
I've never been to the National Tennis Center here or in Japan or in any other country, really, for that matter, so I don't exactly know what work they are doing. It seems like at the moment the Chinese are definitely having more players than ever, you know, after 100 down to, I'm not sure, 500, 1000, I'm not sure.
I think there is a broader spectrum of players playing in that region now, which I think is already a beginning. It seems like the US Open junior champ is probably going to make a run into the top 100 for the first time or maybe top 50, and for that matter, from what I'm hearing, what his potential has got.
And that would be a massive thing, inspiration for a lot of the young guys after that. Same with Kei Nishikori breaking all records for a Japanese player. I think that's great, as well. I think we do see more Asian players.
Of course we don't have Paradorn Srichaphan anymore from Thailand, but I think in the future we'll see more Asian players coming through. I just think tennis, as it's not just an endurance sport where you can just go sort of after textbook "this is what you have to do to get to the top," it's more of a game.
So I think you just need a lot of numbers, and then you need the passion and the right coaching. And of course bringing in international coaches here is always going to be a challenge because of the language. Being able to speak to the players is maybe going to be complicated.
Nevertheless, I think having big tournaments like Shanghai Rolex Masters here is hopefully going to strengthen the future of Asian tennis, really. I have been a big believer in this continent. I mean, why wouldn't you be with that many people in one place? I hope for the best for this part of the world.
Then the ladies, obviously here in China, have led the way, as well, in a big way.' Talking about tennis and population itself, really, Rafa talked about actually going to use his influence to keep pushing his school here, academy, so forth.
Down the line, given your international influence, not to mention your popularity and everything, would you ever think about doing something similar or doing something like that to really give Chinese tennis a great push, as well? 'For the time being, as I don't have an academy, I'm very happy supporting Rafa's academy or other guys' academy, because I know a lot of passion and energy and effort goes into it to upkeep an academy.
I think Juan Carlos Ferrer has one and other guys in Barcelona, Sweden, a lot of academies I know of. They are all doing really good work. I'm maybe going to be the guy who is going to be more supportive of their academies, because starting my own, I just struggle to see it, you know, because I don't want to compete with the Swiss Tennis Federation, because that's where I came through.
I profited a lot from them. They were always wonderful to me. So starting something in Switzerland, I don't see myself doing that. But I want to help the juniors coming through in the future. I can totally see myself helping there.
But then internationally, I feel like I would have to be there, and I'm not sure -- I don't have the picture. I have been asked a lot about it to start academies around the world in certain places, but so far I just haven't really wrapped my head around it to see myself doing that.
Of course I hope to help tennis in some shape or form but maybe not through an academy. I don't know.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: 'Roger Federer is favourite on this kind of surfaces' .